Hawaii draws eloping couples from all over the world – and it’s easy to see why. Not only does Hawaii offer incredible weather, amazing scenery, delicious food, and breathtaking beaches, it’s also one of the states in the US that doesn’t require witnesses to get married! Which means that if you elope in Hawaii, you can do so with no guests, without having to worry about finding someone to sign the legal documents. Interested in eloping in Hawaii? Keep reading to learn about all the logistics that will get you there.
The state of Hawaii is made up of eight major islands – the most visited and most well known islands are Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii (also known as “The Big Island”). Each island offers a slightly different experience, so there is lots to consider when deciding which island to elope on. Oahu is home to many cultural wonders, such as museums and memorials. The island of Hawaii is home to 11 different climate zones – which means you can see snow capped mountains and white sand beaches in the same day. The best beaches in the world are believed to be found in Maui, and Kauai offers dramatic views and gorgeous greenery!
Because Hawaii is part of the continental United States, you do not need a passport if you’re traveling from the US. If you’re traveling from another country, you will need a valid passport. Flights to Hawaii are generally easy to find year round, and most major airports have flights available daily. For flights to Hawaii (and flights in general), you can check out Scott’s Cheap Flights – it’s totally free, and you’ll get daily updates when airlines offer prices that are unusually cheap. Hawaii comes up very often in these emails!
While Hawaii is rarely ever cold, the winters can be a little more chilly, and bring more rainfall. However, the weather varies from island to island, and it even varies in different locations on the same island – so be sure to check the weather for your specific spot! Below are the graphs of weather averages for each of the four most popular islands in Hawaii. Kauai sees the most rain, while the Big Island has the warmest winters. While a little rain never hurt anybody, do keep in mind that if you’re planning to hike on your elopement day, rain can create some unsafe conditions.
If you’re planning to elope in Hawaii, there are a few things to keep in mind – but especially weather and crowds. Most people visit Hawaii when the weather is unfavorable elsewhere. This means that winter draws big crowds of tourists to Hawaii, as most other states are facing cold winters during this time. Some areas of Hawaii are very rainy in the winter, and the ocean is a lot more choppy – so if surfing, snorkeling, or scuba diving is your thing, winter may not be the best time for your elopement. In the summer, the surf conditions are much calmer, so if you plan on enjoying the ocean, June through August will be your best bet. If you want to avoid crowds, spring and fall are the best times to elope in Hawaii. No matter when you visit the islands, you’ll be greeted with an incredible experience – but consider what you want to do on your elopement day when you choose a date!
While the legal stuff may be a little boring, it’s important! To make sure your marriage is legal and valid, you’ll need to know about Hawaii’s laws when it comes to
A Hawaiian marriage license costs $60 to obtain (plus a $5 processing fee if you prepare your application online). The state of Hawaii recommends preparing your application online, which can be done here. Prior to your elopement, you will need to appear in person to file your application, so when planning your Hawaii elopement, give yourself some time prior to the ceremony to do this! This can be done up to 30 days in advance, and there is no waiting period after you file. You must be at least 18 years old, and will need proof of age to receive a marriage license.
Hawaii is one of a few states that don’t require any witnesses to make your marriage legal! This means that if you’re eloping in Hawaii, you can do so with no guests, without worrying about finding someone to sign your marriage license.
While the state doesn’t require any witnesses, to elope in Hawaii you still need an officiant. You can hire an officiant who specializes in elopements – even if your day involves hiking out to your ceremony location, lots of officiants are up for some adventure! Hiring an officiant can be great, because they are able to get to know the two of you as a couple and perform a personalized ceremony. Another option that you have for an elopement officiant, is asking a friend or family member to do it! Getting ordained takes just a few minutes and can be done through Universal Life Church. Giving a friend or family member this role in your elopement can be an amazing way to add a personal touch.
Each island in Hawaii has a ton of gorgeous locations to elope – so you may have a hard time narrowing it down! Here are a few of my favorites.
Often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” this scenic canyon offers dramatic views of crested buttes, rugged crags, and deep gorges. The canyon has many overlooks that are easy to drive up to, along with hiking trails of varying levels of difficulty – so you’ll have lots of options when it comes to choosing the intensity of your adventure.
This overlook at the end of Highway 550 offers a dramatic view of the Kalalau Valley. The lookout is easily accessible, and requires no hiking! So if you’re bringing guests to your elopement who may not be up for any extreme adventuring, or if you don’t feel like hiking in your dress (can’t blame ya), this place is perfect – low effort, high reward.
The park sits on Oahu’s rugged coastline. Whether you want a short walk to watch the sunset over the ocean, or a long hike with a variety of scenery, you can find it here. Any hike you choose will be relatively flat, so Ka’ena Point State Park is the perfect choice if you don’t feel like breaking a sweat.
What’s better than one waterfall? Three! This trail is 2.8 miles roundtrip, with an elevation gain of 849 feet, and ends in a stunning view of three waterfalls. The trail is rugged and difficult in places, but going off the beaten path means that you’ll get more privacy if you elope here!
This lookout is easy to drive to, and if you do want to do some hiking, there are plenty of trails around. You can have a ceremony at the lookout, and enjoy views of the green mountains and the clear blue ocean.
Anini Beach is on the north shore of Kauai, and is less crowded but just as beautiful as the more popular beaches. The waters here are calmer year round, so this beach is perfect for snorkeling, paddle boarding, and swimming.
The Napali Coast spans 17 miles across the north shore of Kauai. The cliffs and ridges overlook the Pacific Ocean and offer views of the valley below. You can take boat and helicopter tours of the shoreline, which will give you a unique elopement experience you’ll never forget.
The Lanai Lookout is a unique landscape of lava rocks and rock formations. The parking lot is right on the sea cliff, and this spot is incredible for whale watching on a clear day. A sunrise ceremony would be amazing at this lookout, and a great way to avoid the crowds.
Needless to say, if you elope in Hawaii, you’re in for an absolutely amazing experience. As an elopement photographer, one of the best parts of my job is guiding couples through the planning process. So if you’re eloping in Hawaii, reach out and let’s get started!
July 18, 2020