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How To Elope in Hawaii

Updated: Jun 25




Elopement Couple on the Tropical Coast of Oahu with mountains and crashing waves



Are you considering an elopement on one of the Islands of Hawaii?


There are very view places in the world with the allure, romance, and excitement that Hawaii has to offer, so it's no wonder that so many people from around the world choose it as their wedding destination! And choosing to have an elopement with just the two of you or just a small group of the closest people in your life will give you the simplicity and low-stress experience that you deserve.


Here, we'll cover all of the essential steps and tips for a seamless wedding day in Hawaii and prove to you that it's very much worth the investment and time it takes to travel there.


but first...



Elopement at a botanical garden in Hawaii - Elopement Photographer Wild North Weddings


Why Choose Hawaii for Your Elopement?

As I mentioned before, the natural beauty that Hawaii has to offer is unmatched! If you're looking for white sand beaches, waterfalls hidden in the rainforest, and tall mountain peaks for the backdrop on your wedding day, the good news is that you can get all 3 of those on the same day!


Hawaii only experiences 2 seasons - summer and winter - and fortunately, it doesn't matter which one you choose to get married in because the temperature change is so slight that you wouldn't really notice. And the best part of that is that the water stays warm in both seasons as well so it's always swimming weather!


And if you love the idea of going somewhere with cultural appeal, there's plenty to experience and learn about the Hawaiian people, their history, and their islands.


Finally - despite its distance, it's pretty easy to catch a direct flight or at least a flight with just one layover from International Airports!


 

Legal Requirements for Eloping in Hawaii


  1. Get your Marriage License

    1. You'll need to apply online through the Hawaii Department of Health's website

    2. After you complete the online application, you'll need to schedule an in-person appointment with an agent (also done online) and must both appear to finalize the process. Agents are available on all major islands and can be found on the DOH's website.

    3. You'll need to bring valid identification (ID, driver's license, passport, military ID) and if you're under 19, you'll need to bring your birth certificate as well. If you've previously been married, you'll need to bring proof of the original divorce decree or death certificate of the former spouse.

    4. There will be a fee that can be paid online during the application process.

    5. There is no waiting period after obtaining your marriage license, so you can get married day-of or the next day, though I recommend doing it at least the next day just in case of timing issues.

  2. Find an Officiant

  3. The marriage will need to be performed by an authorized officiant, such as a judge, minister, priest, or any licensed officiant who is recognized in the state of Hawaii.

  4. You can have someone you know come with you that's been ordained online, but if you go that route, they'll need to apply online to be approved to perform ceremonies in Hawaii.

  5. Witnesses - No witnesses are required

  6. Marriage Certificate - your officiant will file the marriage license with the Department of Health online and you will receive notification of this via email. You can then order a certified copy of your marriage certificate online for a fee.




Elopement couple walking along the beach on Oahu, Hawaii with an island in the background


Choosing the Perfect Location For Your Wedding

If you have no idea where to start with this, hire a professional. Elopement planners and photographers who specialize in photographing adventurous elopements have the skillset and knowledge to find the location of your dreams within the limits that the state sets and that will offer you as much seclusion as possible. I personally have spent days learning every inch of shoreline on Oahu, Maui, and Kauai and spent even more time researching property management and permitting regulations to ensure my couples have the best experience possible.


If you have an island already in mind, then you have the option of choosing a company that offers quick and easy elopement packages that include a small list of pre-determined locations. This is great for people who just want something simple that allows them to get married.


And of course, you can always choose to get married at the resort you're staying at, who will often have ready-to-go wedding packages.


 

Planning Your Wedding Ceremony in Hawaii

Your officiant will guide you through what happens during the actual ceremony so there's nothing to worry about there. They will also tell you of any traditional Hawaiian elements that you can add, such as a lei exchange and blowing of the Pū! But remember - just because you're in Hawaii doesn't mean that you need to abandon your own cultural traditions. Do what feels right for the two of you.


Your team of wedding professionals will best be able to guide you on what decor are allowed, but in my opinion decorations aren't really necessary when you have the natural beauty of the island as your ceremony backdrop. Private beaches and resorts may allow you to bring an arch, chairs, and other structures to decorate with, but public beaches likely will not permit those items.


 

Making the Most of Your Hawaiian Elopement

You don't just have to get married on your wedding day! You can make your wedding day as memorable as possible by including fun activities that will ensure that you'll remember it as the best day ever. For example, you could book a sunset catamaran ride for you and your guests to enjoy! You can wake up early and go snorkeling with sea life or whale watching. You can take a helicopter ride together, or rent a convertible and go sightseeing around the island!



Elopement couple overlooking a mountain range on Oahu, Hawaii - taken by elopement photographer Wild North Weddings


Budgeting for Your Elopement

Tips for Cost-Effective Travel to Hawaii

  • Travel during the off-peak season - Flights and accommodations are lower in the spring and fall months.

  • Avoid traveling over holidays

  • Book your flights several months in advance. You can watch flight prices on sites like Google Flights, Skyscanner, and Hopper, which will recommend when to buy.

  • Do price comparisons between hotels and vacation rentals. When traveling with more than 2 people, rentals can be helpful, but be sure to watch the extra cleaning fees and taxes that will sneak up on you!

  • Consider booking vacations directly vs through a 3rd party app. If the owner created their own website for their rental(s) you can save some money there!

  • Food can get expensive when eating out every night, so consider grocery shopping away from the main "touristy" locations and eating pre-packaged lunches from small stores. You'd be surprised by all of the tasty, good quality food items they sell in an ABC store! And if you don't know what an ABC store is, you'll learn quickly on arrival.

  • Food trucks, small local eateries away from the tourist spots, and happy hours are also great ways to eat low-cost.

  • Use ride-share apps and public transit if you don't plan on venturing far from your accommodations. There are plenty of drivers on the island that will allow you to get a ride anytime you need.

  • If you do want to spend a day driving around, don't rent a car from the airport rental locations. You can save money renting a car at an off-site location, or using an app like Turo or Hui car share.

  • Pack light (easier said than done coming from an over-packer myself lol). Many things you can buy at a store nearby, like soaps, sunscreen, and lotions. There's also laundromats readily available, so you can always do a mid-week wash to help lighten the load in your suitcase. Hotels will also supply you with many items, like beach towels and toiletries, so talk to them about what they can supply.


Wedding couple at sunset by a beautiful lagoon on the island of Oahu, Hawaii - taken by elopement photographer Wild North Weddings

Leave No Trace

I have to say - the most important thing to remember when planning your wedding day, and on the day of, is to follow Leave No Trace principles. It's something I stress to every one of my couples because preserving the natural environment that the Hawaiian Islands has to offer is the most important aspect of traveling there. It is a privilege for us to be able to use their lands for your wedding and photos so we must show the respect that the islands and it's people deserve.


 

Next Steps

Decide the type of wedding experience you want to have in Hawaii...

  1. If you want something easy, simple, and quick, start by researching elopement companies in Hawaii and reading reviews on the different companies that offer all-inclusive packages

  2. If you want something more upscale with beautiful decor and seating, research different resorts and email them about their elopement packages

  3. If you want a day full of fun and adventure, an intimate dinner together, and a ceremony on a beach somewhere away from all of the tourists, start by finding an adventure wedding specialist, whether it's an elopement planner or a photographer who doubles as a planning guide.



Still in the beginning stages of your elopement journey?


No matter what stage of planning you're in, and regardless of if you have a destination picked out or not, reach out to me at wildnorthweddings.com to help get yourself on track for the best day ever! In addition to photography and being ordained (yes I can take your pics and get you married!) I also offer elopement planning guidance, including customized location scouting that will give you a range of destination options to choose from.




 


US and International Elopement Photographer - Carly D'Angelo Hall with Wild North Weddings

Hey there! I'm Carly - The owner of Wild North Weddings and a photographer specializing in documenting weddings and elopements across the U.S. If you love the idea of a wedding with adventure, excitement, and a little romance sprinkled in, let's talk about how I can help you create and capture the wedding day of your dreams!




Destination Wedding and Elopement Photographer for weddings across the United States including Oahu, Honolulu, Waikiki Beach, Maui, The Big Island, and Kaui.





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