A Big Island Elopement Photographer’s Guide to Planning Your Epic Big Island Elopement
Why Elope on The Big Island?
As a destination elopement photographer, I’ve traveled all over the world with one goal in mind, capture love in its truest form. Throughout the years being chosen to work with some of the most carefree and adventurous souls. It’s been absolutely incredible, and now it’s your turn to elope! Hawai’i has always been the spot for destination weddings, and dream vacations. From breathtaking beaches, incredible food, hikes to waterfalls and so much more. Now it’s time to turn this destination into the ultimate elopement and honeymoon adventure. I’m sharing all my tips for planning your Big Island elopement below, let’s get to it!
Table of Contents
- Getting to and Staying on The Big Island
- Picking Your Location
- Is the Big Island For You?
- Making Your Elopement Legal in Hawai’i – Marriage Laws and Getting Your License
- Things to Do After Your Big Island Elopement
First, don’t let this extensive guide scare you, as a Big Island elopement photographer, I want to ensure you have all the information needed to plan an elopement. But to also be aware of what all the possibilities are for your dream day. Traveling anywhere whether locally to a new spot or a destination elopement in Hawai’i, it’s always nice to have someone on your side whose familiar with the laws and regulations of the area. Consider me your go-to guru for all things Big Island elopement planning. If you’re looking for an elopement photographer, reach out today!
When you book your Big Island elopement with me you get access to:
- Consultation calls and planning assistance to get to know you and your partner to help plan the perfect day that focuses on you as a couple.
- A personalized list of things to do around The Big Island to make the most out of your trip!
- Tips specific to Hawai’i to help your day run smoothly
- A photographer and a videographer (all my elopement packages come with a videographer!)
- A custom timeline that focuses on what’s important to you and your partner so you can have the best day possible.
Getting to and Staying on The Big Island
If you’re considering a destination elopement in Hawai’i, I’m so excited for you! First, let’s discuss travel. I suggest flying into Kona as opposed to Hilo, there are flights on a daily basis if you’re coming from the United States. You can fly from Honolulu, Seattle and Los Angeles almost daily. Otherwise Kona is an international airport and you can get there from Japan too!
Not only is Kona incredibly beautiful, but it has a lot more touristy activities for you to do both before and after you tie the knot. If you’re wanting to experience The Big Island more like a local, flying into Kona is still the cheaper option. However it’s only an hour and a half drive through the middle of the island to get to Hilo! Although I suggest going down through Captain Cook to South Point and then back up through Volcano National Park. It is absolutely breathtaking and you can go to the Southern most point in the United States!
While we love our fur babies, like most islands, Hawai’i is very strict about foreign contaminants. They don’t want anything to come in and be harmful to the ecosystem. Because of this it’s very difficult to get animals to Hawai’i. In order to get there, your fur baby would have to go through up to a month of quarantine. Unless you’re moving there, it’s probably best to find another way to incorporate your fur baby into your big day.
Trying to decide when to elope? I suggest sometime between October and January! The weather is going to be beautiful and you’ll probably be grateful to get away from the cold weather of home if you’re from the United States!
Check out my list of hotel recommendations below!
Check out my list of Airbnb recommendations below!
- The Ulu Inn: Luxury Couples Retreat Dome, Kona – totally unique and secluded dome couple’s getaway.
- Beautiful Guest House Suite – with access to a pool, your own space and a 2 minute walk to the beach, it’s the perfect vacation spot!
- Kona Spacious 2 Bedroom Guesthouse – This 2 bedroom ohana is centrally located – just minutes from the airport, shops, restaurants and some of the best beaches on Hawai’i Island.
Picking Your Location For Your Big Island Elopement
Next, let’s talk about the location you’ll marry your person. Your Big Island elopement photographer (aka me) will be able to help you with this. So don’t stress! Some things to consider when picking your location : how far do you want to hike? Do you like to hike at all? Do you want somewhere easier to get to? What sort of back drop or scenery are you looking for? Communicate your thoughts on the above questions with your photographer to ensure you’re all on the same page and prepared to get to your ideal spot.
Generally speaking, location options are as follows; black sand beaches, white sand beaches, green sand beach, and overlooks. One thing is for sure, anywhere you go is going to be beautiful and there are no bad choices! It all comes down to personal preference! When you book your Big Island elopement with me you get a guide to all the best spots to elope on the Big Island. This guide will include specific locations and photos of those amazing spots! I promise, I’ve got you covered!
While choosing your location, keep in mind you will need a permit no matter where you are getting married (unless it’s a private venue). Check to make sure they allow wedding ceremonies and wedding portraits! Don’t forget to get the permit. Hawai’i is a beautiful place and there’s a reason they put these rules in place. It’s to make sure your Big Island elopement location is preserved so you can come back and visit it for years to come. Your photographer should help you throughout the process of obtaining your permit, but it can be obtained through the Hawaii Film Office. If your elopement is taking place in a state park, make sure you get a Special Use Permit! Make sure to submit this at least 45 days in advance.
Nevertheless don’t let this be a stressor to you during the planning process. Your Big Island elopement photographer or planner should help you get all the permits you need. When it comes to decor, you cannot place arches on the beach in Hawai’i. Something important to remember, but honestly, the views are breathtaking enough without anything extra! Lastly, Hawai’i is incredibly leave no trace focused. Which is a good thing, it means your elopement location will hopefully be pristine for your day and years to come. It’s up to you to pay it forward to all the future couples who wish to elope there and your future self!
Is The Big Island For You?
If you’re considering a Big Island elopement, remember that this is the perfect spot for couples that love being outdoors and exploring. Hawai’ians will tell you that each island has its own personality and The Big Island is definitely the more laid back one. It definitely feels more like a small town than a big island. It’s the best of both worlds with beautiful beaches, and a laid back small town feel.
Making Your Elopement Legal in Hawai’i
Arguably one of the most important sections you’ll read throughout this blog, how to make your elopement legal! Visit the Hawaii website here, and when it says ‘island’ click ‘Hawaii’. It’s $65 and needs to be within 30 days from issuance of the marriage certificate! This must be issued in person, and your application will stay on file for up to one year. The person who marries you must be licensed by the state of Hawai’i. I’m working on getting licensed as well!
When you go in to get your marriage certificate you must be a resident of Hawai’i or a US Citizen and you must have your ID on you. If you’re from another country, I highly advise you get married in your country before or after eloping on the Big Island.
Things To Do After Your Big Island Elopement
The Big Island is full of adventure and once in a lifetime opportunities. Getting you up close and personal with some of Hawai’i’s most beautiful and breathtaking natural attractions.
- Night Snorkel Manta Ray Adventure – at night the Manta Ray’s come out to play. Enjoy a night out in the water experiencing these majestic creatures at play!
- Big Island Zipline Over KoleKole Falls – there’s nothing cooler than zip-lining through an epic location like the Big Island, but this takes you over KoleKole falls!
- Big Island: Voyagers of the Pacific Luau with Buffet – an absolute must attend activity, the luau’s are always incredible!
- Kailua-Kona: Speedboat Snorkel Cruise and BBQ on the Boat – take a trip out on a speed boat to learn about the incredible historical coast of Kona, snorkel with the exotic fish and turtles, dolphin watch and enjoy BBQ!
Looking for even more fun things to do on the Big Island? Book an elopement with me today, and I’ll curate a custom must see list and include some of my favorite local eats! I’ll even include some activities I think you and your partner will enjoy! Let’s start planning your Big Island elopement!