So you’re thinking of ditching the big wedding and dreaming of a destination Hawaii adventure elopement! Amazing! I could write a book on all the reasons why after 12 years as a photographer in the wedding industry, I am so SOLD on elopements! They’re intimate, simple, unforgettable, meaningful, and affordable! Yes, you heard me right. A Hawaiian elopement can cost a fraction of a traditional wedding. What I love most about elopements is the day is soley about you two!
So often, weddings can be dominated by sleepless nights thinking about centerpieces, catering, or which family member you’re going to piss off if you don’t take their suggestions of dinnerware. For many couples, the vision for going the less traditional route is there, but you don’t know where to start in your research. Well, search no more because I have created this handy 9-step process for how to plan your Hawaii adventure elopement! In this article, you will also find reliable vendor recommendations, information on current Covid-19 travel restrictions for the state of Hawaii, as well as how to do the less glamorous tasks like applying for a Hawaii marriage license.
I’m so excited to share this recent adventure elopement! Margaret and Charley are evidence that when you put your mind and heart into it, you can make ANYTHING possible. Margaret and Charley knew from the get-go that they wanted to elope in Hawaii. The three of us put our heads together and managed to plan an EPIC Hawaii adventure elopement in less than a month! And they didn’t have to break the bank to make it happen. Their day was absolutely magical. And not because everything went perfectly according to plan. Quite the opposite. We battled crazy rainy weather on and off the entire day. It was raining so hard my camera began to malfunction at some points. At the end of the 5-mile hike, Margaret’s dress was covered in mud! At one point, I fell flat on my butt in a huge mud puddle with all of my equipment in hand. I don’t know if I have ever laughed so hard during an elopement.
But what I learned the most from my time with these two is that much like a traditional wedding, even the most perfectly planned elopement will not always go accordingly. They could have easily been so disappointed with the weather on their much-anticipated wedding day. But instead, they took it by stride and enjoyed every moment as it came! I will never forget as the three of us were 4 miles into our hike back to the car, covered from head to toe in mud while the rain poured on us, she looked over at me with a huge smile on her face and said, “Hey, at least we’re not trying to figure out what to do with tables for 300 guests right now!”
Enjoy taking a gander through the 9 steps to planning a Hawaii Elopement and Margaret and Charley’s elopement story!
Elopements come in all shapes and sizes. You can have a simple 1-hour elopement on the beach with a dozen of your closest family and friends. Or it could be JUST the two of you have a private ceremony with just you two, a photographer and an officiant in a secluded setting. Or maybe you want to have a simple ceremony for you and a few guests and then want to take off from there to a dramatic landscape where you two can privately share your vows and have fun exploring together! Truly, the options are endless. Dream together or brainstorm with your photographer on creating the perfect day that best represents what you two want!
Oahu? Maui? Kauai? Hawaii Island (aka Big Island)? Honestly, you can’t go wrong with whatever direction you take here. Each island has its own unique characteristics and stunning landscapes. And no, not all of the Hawaii Islands look the same. In fact, they are all quite distinctly different. The Big Island can often be described as rugged and dramatic and dryer in some parts, whereas on Oahu, you have the beautiful city of Honolulu as well as a plethora of white sand beaches. Just make sure to keep in mind, if you already have a photographer in mind, which Island they are located on. Most elopement photographers are more than happy to travel inter-island but keep in mind they typically have a travel fee.
For a lot couples, the decision of who to hire often comes down to cost. Who is cheapest? That is who we will go with. Which I absolutely agree that couples need to be oh so mindful of their budget. But just make sure your budget for a photographer is a realistic one. Other things I encourage couple to keep in mind when deciding on an elopement photographer is as follows:
Okay, you settled on an island and a photographer for your Hawaii adventure Elopement! Now it’s time to choose a date! And honestly, ANYTIME of year is the best time of year to have a Hawaii elopement! My recommendation is if you’re planning on having an extended trip on the Islands, you plan your elopement for the beginning of your trip, so you have the remainder of the time to relax.
Before booking an officiant, talk with your photographer about who they would recommend. Not all officiants are the same. Hiring a local officiant gives an added flare of Hawaii customs and traditions to your ceremony! If you’d prefer to have a friend or family member officiate, that is totally fine as well! Your out-of-state officiant will have to fill out this form here for the State of Hawaii.
Click here to fill out the application! The Hawaii state website helps explain the steps to getting all of the paperwork in order prior to your wedding date!
The state of Hawaii requires a negative Covid-19 test taken 72 hours before arrival on any island. But take note that each island has additional rules and regulations. For example, the Big Island requires an additional Covid test when you arrive on the island. Click here for current travel information!
Many Hawaiian resorts offer private dinners on the beach! Or, if that’s not your jam, take a look at wedding venues that cater to smaller parties!
Interested in including some lovely florals or maybe a small cake for your Hawaii adventure elopement? Check out some of my recommended Big Island vendors!
Makeup + Hair:
Click HERE to contact me for more info!
Interested on writing vows but don’t know where to start? Click HERE to view my guide to writing meaningful and from the heart vows for your wedding day!
Engaged?! Click HERE to view my guide on planning your Hawaii adventure engagement shoot!
Join our email list and download our free guide to whatever you can offer your clients of value!!