How to Plan an Elopement in Hawaii

A guide to eloping in Hawaii

Hawaii is different from all other states in the US. It feels like a tropical paradise that’s isolated from the rest of the world. Hawaii is a place on a mission to maintain its beauty and whenever I visit I always pay special attention to respecting that during my explorations of the islands. 


the thing about Hawaii is...

Once you get out there, you will immediately want to go back. You will be hooked once you see the lava caves, black sand beaches, red canyons, waterfalls, and not to mention the beautiful tropical beaches AND the garlic shrimp!!

Hawaii offers unique landscapes and environments that you just can’t get in one place anywhere else. Seriously though, if you have never experienced the out-of-this-world black sand beaches and majestic lava rock cliffs in Hawaii, you’ve got to make a trip. Race you there?


The Island of Hawaii, known as the "Big Island," is the best location in Hawaii for waterfalls. Another feature that makes it unique are the active volcanoes that produce black volcanic rock, black sand volcanic beaches and lava tubes. You can also see red earth, super green valleys, open land with rolling plains, ranches, and jungles.

It is also not as much of a highly visited tourist destination as the other islands so there are increased chances for a more private elopement. Unfortunately, the island is very restrictive on its waterfalls and you can only legally shoot at one of them. It just so happens to be my favorite for elopements: Kulaniapia Falls.

Jumping into a waterfall after your ceremony? Iconic. Just a reminder that there are no rules on your wedding day when you choose something smaller and intimate. Do what you want with your flexible timeline like jumping into a waterfall on a hot Hawaiian day. I was so excited for this first discovery of the beautiful Kulaniapia Falls. We started with a celebration and ceremony at the falls then drove across the entire Big Island.

These two spent their day frolicking in fields, chasing rainbows, and ending with the best sunset that Kona (the western side of the Big Island) has to offer. These truly are the makings for such a beautiful day. 

The island of hawaii

elopement inspiration

  • Lava Tubes
  • Volcanoes National Park 
  • Snorkeling 
  • Manta Ray Snorkel Tour 

things to do on the big island

The Big Island of Hawaii

I've had the honor of being the Hawaii elopement photographer for so many couples over the years helping them plan their elopement in such a beautiful place. When couples reach out and tell me they want something romantic, epic, and tropical–I know the place for them. From rainforests to lava fields, you will definitely be floored.

There's something truly special about getting married in a place like Hawaii. Couples who book my Hawaii elopement packages really reminded me of what an adventure a Hawaii elopement can be! As you’re trying to narrow down your own elopement plans, here are my best tips on where to go, what to see, and what to do once you arrive in the islands of Hawaii. 

spoiler alert


no matter where you elope in Hawaii,
you will be FLOORED.



Sea turtles, red canyons, incredible beaches, great snorkeling and hiking, lush jungles, and the sea cliffs along the Nāpali Coast! Kauaʻi also has my favorite restaurant with the best garlic shrimp ever at the Lava Lava Beach Club (which also has a Big Island location).

best features


More restrictions on where we can shoot. It has become very restrictive over the past few years.

elopement inspiration

Rain doesn’t get in the way when you’re on your honeymoon in Hawaii. In fact, it makes it better. This couple had a blast dancing on the sand in the rain and catching the rainbow!



Oʻahu has incredible historical sites like Pearl Harbor, and natural sites like waterfalls, the best sandy beaches in Hawaii, accessible views of mountains, and easy-to-obtain permits.

best features


Very touristy. More restrictions in place on beaches we can and cannot shoot.



Maui has beautiful beaches, waterfalls, and the Haleakalā National Park which has the dormant Haleakalā Volcano. Another feature is the Road to Hana which is a drive through the best areas of Maui including lots of waterfalls. 

best features


Also a bit touristy. Not many places to shoot unless you go Road to Hana.


hawaii elopement locations


Kulaniapia Falls. The east side of the island has other walkable waterfalls but you can’t swim in all of them.

big island



Great hikes to waterfalls and lots of lush tropical rainforests. 
Road to Hana has some accessible and fairly private waterfalls right off the road.
Mauna Kea is an incredible summit (14,000 ft) as the highest point in Hawaii. Also Volcanoes National Park is worth a visit with lots of hikes through lava fields with black volcanic rock and active volcanoes.

big island



Waimea Canyon has some great hikes and even great spots for a rainy elopement that catches a rainbow
Haleakalā National Park has great hikes and the dormant Haleakalā Volcano.



big island




The entire east side of the island has incredible mountain views from the road. 

Has volcanic black sand beaches and regular sand beaches in Kona. Nothing compares to those Kona sunsets!

big island





Has the best sandy beaches like Waimanalo Beach and the North Shore beaches.

As Your Elopement Photographer, this is what I’m here for

how to elope in HAWAII

Planning out your wedding photography timeline will be done according to whether it’s a 12-hour or 8-hour elopement day. This is generally the range of time that I recommend since your ceremony and wedding portraits locations could be on different sides of the island which can take two hours or more to drive. 

Choose your island based on where you’d like to have your ceremony and I’ll take care of location scouting based on the vibe you want. Plans often change at the last minute due to unknown location closures and other factors. This is just the nature of adventure elopements and why sunrise to sunset elopement days always do well in Hawaii! 

Not only do I work as a Hawaiian wedding photographer, but I also love photographing Hawaii for honeymooners, vacationers, and babymooners looking for their love to be documented in one of the most romantic places.

If you’re ever out in the islands with your love, booking some fun Hawaii pictures on the beach and in the ocean is never a bad idea. Let’s capture your time together for a proposal, engagement, anniversary, or other adventure session! 

Other Kinds of Sessions

let me plan your elopement!

shoot locations

helping you plan your
elopement for Hawaii.

Here's what to expect from me...

elopement day activities

Let me be your Hawaii guide! Based on your elopement Hawaii packages, I will recommend the best companies for your activities, as well as food recommendations, accommodations, and vendor referrals based upon which island you choose for your elopement. Most of my favorite florists are located on Oʻahu and can travel to the other islands!  

You don’t have to be in your wedding dress all day! Let’s plan activities and capture some fun moments like snorkeling, waterfall exploring, hiking, horseback riding, taking a boat/sailboat/catamaran tour or even just a relaxing beach picnic! 

I can also officiate in the state of Hawaii to make it legal!

As more photographers and couples plan a Hawaii elopement, the more restrictions have increased. We must stick to the rules so we are continually given the privilege to use the land for ceremonies and photos. For your elopement we will follow the Leave No Trace philosophy of staying on trails, not taking photos on sacred ground, and only photographing permissible locations. 

Once we choose your locations, it’s my job as your elopement photographer to apply for permits which are required in most locations, even for portraits. It’s crucial that we select your ceremony location first because some spots require a different type of permit for this especially if you have guests in attendance. 

I always recommend looking into Hawaii Airbnb’s before a hotel. Airbnbs allow for flexibility while hotels can be a nightmare for taking photos. There are some AMAZINGLY unique Airbnbs out in Hawaii! Make sure to have a budget for your stay as it is a bit expensive out there. I always use credit card points.

Permits & Leave No Trace

where to stay

hawaii elopement faq's

time of year & day 

  • Rainy Season: fall, winter, and spring (October-May), but it can always rain no matter the season especially in Kauaʻi! Rain can come at any moment of our day but it creates some fun adventures and fun rainbows so it’s not that bad!

  • High Tourism Season: summer & early fall

  • Sunset/Sunrise: Hawaii is more southward, so sunsets are earlier and sunrises are a bit later. Summer has the most daylight while winter has the least.

let me help!

Ready for your hawaii adventure?

not only am I A photographer, but I'm also an elopement planner!

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don’t just take
my word for it



Marlee A.

"We loved everything about Dani! Dani is beyond talented. Her attention to detail is amazing. Her use of lighting is timeless and her attitude is full of energy. Our friends and family keep speaking about how stunning the photos are from the big day. We loved Dani’s use of non posed photos. They came out more authetic and genuine and we couldn’t be more happier. Everything about these photos speaks fairytale dream come true. Thank you so much."

Rebekah H.

"Dani is such a people person, I had no hesitation in booking her because she has such a gracious presence about her on all platforms. She does such a good job at giving you direction but not making you feel forced or awkward about it. She's genuinely there to be a friend, she was so kind to both me and my husband and I may be a little bit biased but honestly I don't think I would ever book another photographer besides her if I needed photos taken."

Bryanna C.

"Dani was more than we expected! She was so happy and very calm on our wedding day. Her passion for photography did not go unnoticed! She even came to the rehearsal to scope it out and stayed longer than she was supposed to take pictures. She got me a few pictures by the next morning which made me even more excited to see all our photos. She was always on time and took all the photos that I wanted to be taken. I highly recommend Dani and will definitely use her in the future!"