Couple on lava during the sunset after their big island wedding

How do we elope in Hawaii?

Big Island Elopements

Couple on lava during the sunset after their big island wedding
Couple kissing on lava rock after Big Island Wedding
Couple kissing on lava rock after Big Island Wedding. Planning and coordination by – Photography by

Planning a Destination Wedding or Elopement in Hawaii

Whether you are planning a smaller elopement in Hawaii or a more elaborate affair, we at Pink Pineapple Wedding are here to help you every step of the way! Here are our guidelines and tips for how to elope in Hawaii or plan a destination wedding in paradise.

What is the difference between an elopement and a destination wedding?

Typically the definition of an elopement is a wedding with a small number of guests.  When eloping in Hawaii, this typically means a wedding with fewer than 26 guests.  The maximum number of people allowed on a public beach here in Hawaii is thirty. This total includes your vendors, so adding the photographer, officiant, musician, in the count. Many of the Hawaii elopements we plan include just the two of you, which in intimate and personal. You may invite guests, but the limit would be 30 total on the beach. Along with your Hawaii beach wedding, some couples also choose to host a dinner or brunch after the ceremony.

A destination wedding is usually a hosted event that includes 30 or more guests. This event would typically include a hosted meal as well. When hosting, you will need to make sure the venue you’re booking allows weddings, which might cost extra.  If you’re hosting your wedding at a private estate, you will most certainly need coordination and a planning package as well. We will book all the vendors and décor items you will need to outsource. We handle the vendor coordination, timeline, checklist, etc… If you book at a resort, they will handle the food and beverage, and usually include basic tables, chairs, linens, flatware, dishware, etc… Upgrades will need to be rented from a decor company. We can also help with these items, as well as handling all of the other outsourced vendors. Vendors like florist, hair and makeup, entertainment, bartending, will need to be booked too.

Morning elopement in Kona Hawaii
A morning Big Island Elopement – Photography by Dawn Eicher Photography

What time of day and what location should we select?

Time of day and location – these are two of the most important decisions you will make when planning your destination wedding or elopement. What time of day do you prefer? Morning weddings mean getting ready early, which means starting 5 AM or earlier.  A morning wedding usually guarantee blue skies and blue water. Photos taken in the morning are colorful because of the bright light and colors.  However, it is also much warmer after the 9 AM hour, so that is a factor if you’re wearing a heavier dress or suit.  Most couples choose to have their weddings at sunset, as the “golden hour”. The hour before sunset offers the most romantic, soft lighting for photography, and it’s also a perfect time to plan for dinner after your ceremony as well.

The location is SO important, and it’s really necessary to work with a local Big Island wedding planner so we can help you select a less busy beach.  All beaches in Hawaii are public, but we know the beaches that a less crowded and give you much more privacy. The Big Island is ideal for a stunning tropical setting.  We have diverse landscape, from palm groves, to black sand, to pure white sand and lava rock.  The Big Island has the most land mass. All of the other islands could fit INSIDE the Big Island and you’d still have room, so there is less crowding and lots of space to carve out your own paradise to elope in Hawaii.

Wedding on the beach in Hawaii
Happy couple on white sand beach after their Hawaiian Destination Wedding – Photography by

Which Big Island Elopement Package should we choose?

We offer several packages, as well as custom packages if needed. If it’s just the two of you, you can get away with only 30 minutes of photography. If you have any guests, you will need an hour to 1.5 hours in order to capture the ceremony, family photos and couple’s photos. You can also tell us if there are any other special moments you wish to incorporate. You can have a cake or cupcakes on the beach, a sparkling cider or champagne toast, etc… When couples elope in Hawaii, some also wish to exchange personal vows or have family speak during their ceremony. Adding those elements will extend your coverage time as well. You can also add flowers, music, chairs, etc…

Private estate wedding in Kailua Kona Hawaii
Private estate wedding – planning and coordination by Pink Pineapple Weddings and Photography by
What is required to get legally married in Hawaii?

We will walk you through this process, but eloping in Hawaii is simple. Hawaii is a very easy state to navigate the legal process or marriage.  Hawaii requires you to fill out an online application and meet with a license agent to verify your information. You then have a licensed officiant (for PPW it’s Big Island Officiant) complete the process by witnessing your union and filing the paperwork online.  If you have been divorced or previously married, you will simply need a date of dissolution and the reason.

Wedding couple at sunset after their Big Island Wedding
Gorgeous sunset after their Big Island Elopement – Photography by
Does planning an elopement or destination wedding save money?

One of the perks of getting married in Hawaii is you start your honeymoon right away! Other perks include:

You get a vacation out of it!

As a couple you have have more time to spend with your guests

More money to spend on excursions as you have saved a TON by not hosting a traditional wedding!

The cost of an average wedding in the US right now is $24,000, and by eloping in Hawaii on the beach you have your special day and only spend a 1/10th of that cost. The vibe of a Big Island Elopement or wedding is more relaxed and you can focus on the marriage and intimacy of your wedding day.  

Ring exchange during a Big Island wedding
Ring exchange during a Big Island Destination Wedding – photography by


We have been a part of hundreds of weddings, and have the experience you will need to make your day go seamlessly. Pink Pineapple Weddings takes the stress out of wedding planning. You only have to show up on time and get married!  If you’re ready to start planning your destination wedding or Big Island elopement, contact us. We can help you plan the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank. Contact us to receive all of the information needed to plan your own wedding in paradise!

Rainbow behind newlywed couple on the Big Island of Hawaii
Rainbow photo bomb after their beautiful Big Island Wedding – Photography by

Blog Post written by Dawn Eicher, owner and partner of Pink Pineapple Weddings. Dawn has photographed over 600 weddings, and has planned hundreds of events for couples. Mike and Dawn Eicher are the “dream team” that allows couples to host a flawless and stress-free wedding in paradise.

July 11, 2022

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Dawn is an expert at capturing destination weddings and elopements, and can also help with every aspect of planning!

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