The island of Lanai is one of the least visited locations in Hawaii. Imagine a place where stark red rock deserts meet Pacific Northwest forests meet golden sand beaches all combined on a small 140 square mile island. Lanai is known as the Pineapple Island because of the vast pineapple plantations. There are no traffic lights, malls, or bus public transportation around the island. We suggest renting a 4×4 Jeep to explore all of the off-the-beaten-path gems across the island. Bill Gates, one of the most wealthiest men in the world, chose to get married here, so you know it’s EPIC!
Lanai Elopement Guide
Everything you need to know about planning your adventure elopement in Lanai!
Your Lanai Elopement Checklist
- Step One
- Step Two
- Step Three
- Step Four
- Step Five
- Step Six
We highly recommend finding a photographer first to make sure that he or she is available during the timeframe that you plan to elope in Hawaii. We recommend choosing a photographer that you feel relaxed and confident that you’ll be able to be your natural selves. Every photographer has a different approach to how they capture moments throughout the day, so we think that it’s a good idea to ask how the photographer will guide you throughout the entire experience.
Our photography style is documentary focused to create a safe space for you and your other half to share authentic moments on your wedding day. We create a balance of guiding you if we have a specific vision for a shot, and allowing you both to melt into a private moment or experience. Our goal is to make you feel as if you’re adventuring with good friends that happen to take epic photos as we explore together!
We often have couples ask us the best time of year to visit Lanai. Honestly, we think that ANY month of the year is an incredible time to visit! The temperatures do not change very much through the year, and different regions of the island get slightly more rainfall in certain months.
What we love most about Hawaii are the numerous micro-climates throughout each island! There are areas that get a lot of rain each year and other regions that only get a few inches of rain. We will always have a inclement weather backup plan to ensure that you’ll be able to have a smooth elopement experience!
When choosing the area that you would like to stay, it’s very important to take into consideration the region that you are deciding to elope. Most of our couples do not book any accommodation until they have confirmed their elopement timeline that we have created for them. This will ensure that you will not need to drive across the island for your elopement!
We also recommend booking accommodation in two different parts of the island to experience two very unique areas. While the western side of the island has beautiful golden beaches, vibrant blue ocean conditions, and sunny weather; the eastern side of the island will have a completely different feel with towering waterfalls, tropical jungles, and dramatic coastlines.
We will provide a detailed island guide (over 100 pages!) immediately after booking with us! The elopement guide will have our recommendations from years of visiting each of the Hawaiian Islands. We’ve worked with many wedding vendors that we highly recommend, which helps speed up your research process and allows you to book whichever vendor that you connect with the most.
We do not recommend booking an all-in-one elopement package because it doesn’t allow you to have options. We’ll share recommendations for videographers, officiants, florists, hair + makeup artists, musicians, and specialty bakeries.
We love adventurous elopements because there is often a good amount of ideas to play with! Definitely keep that in mind when looking for a dress. Flowy skirts and dresses look amazing with our type of movement based photography style.
If you prefer a hiking elopement, the best idea is to pack your dress away in a backpack and change when we get to the ceremony spot. We recommend considering a lightweight gown style dress and avoid heavy materials like corsets with boning or huge amounts of tulle in a puffy skirt.
But more than anything else – it is most important that you feel absolutely beautiful, comfortable, and happy. There are no rules. Whatever you love, that best fits “you” and who you are will be perfect.
Now that you’ve chosen to elope on Lanai, you’ve found your photographer, booked your accommodation, and confirmed the place that you want to elope, it’s now time to apply for your marriage license! Below is your To-Do List:
Here is the list to find a marriage agent on Lanai.
You must show your driver’s license to show proof that you’re over 18 years old.
Click on this link to fill out the marriage application.
The application fee is $60 with a $5 administration fee.
We suggest setting up an appointment a few days before your elopement date.
Best places to stay for your Lanai elopement
Our Top 5 Unique Accommodations on Lanai
Four Seasons Resort Lanai
This is a five-star deluxe resort that is perfectly positioned at the edge of one of the most pristine and beautiful beaches in all of Hawai’i. This is perfect for a couple who wants to enjoy complete relaxation with the ease of having everything taken care of for you during your stay. We highly recommend this hotel if you are looking to lounge around the pool, snorkel at the nearby beach, stroll the botanical gardens and eat delicious meals at the restaurants on the property.
Four Seasons Sansei Lanai
This is another Four Seasons resort located in Lanai City. Although this resort isn’t a beachfront property, Sansei Lanai offers top-quality hospitality service and a luxurious wellness enclave to support your wellness retreat. This resort is an adult-only property, so you are guaranteed a relaxing and rejuvenating experience while you’re there.
Camp at Hulopoe Beach Park
This beach park is a popular swimming and picnicking spot for locals and tourists. Whenever Ryan and I have visited Lanai, we’ve always camped here and have really enjoyed our time, especially being able to wake up and watch the sunrise and ending our evenings watching the sun go down right on the ocean. You will need to purchase a permit, which costs about $80. However, this is definitely one of the cheapest options for lodging on the island of Lanai.
The Artists House
This is an Airbnb rental that would be perfect if you are having another couple join you for your elopement. This renovated 1930s plantation house has two bedrooms and a pull-out sofa with a queen mattress. While it has been tastefully renovated by artist Jordan Weinstein, the old plantation feel is still intact in this simple home. It is completely fenced in, so it really feels like you have more privacy. There’s also an awesome lanai area outside for breakfasts and dinners!
Lanai Plantation Home
Located in Lanai City, this plantation home can host up to seven guests. With three bedrooms and three baths, this accommodation is awesome if you have a few friends joining you on your trip. While this is an older plantation home, the full kitchen was recently renovated with all new appliances in 2018 so you can have all of your modern conveniences without any issues. One of the best parts about this particular house is that you’re only a five-minute walk from the town square with restaurants, a big park, and Saturday markets.
Best Activities on Lanai for your elopement
Top 5 Activities on Lanai
Book a Private Helicopter Tour
Paradise Helicopters offers private charter flights for up to six passengers, so this would be awesome if you wanted to include another couple and us (as your photographers). Departing from Lanai City, you have three different tour options: Molokai Sea Cliffs, Circle Island Experience, and Maui Nui. Depending on which tour you choose, you may be able to see a rugged coastline, massive sea cliffs, secluded golden sand beaches, shipwrecks, private waterfalls, and more!
Snorkel Hulopoe Beach
Hulopoe Beach is one of our favorite beaches in all of Hawai’i, and the snorkeling does not disappoint. Imagine swimming with sea turtles and gazing at the most beautiful reef as you explore Hulopoe Beach. Because this area is a marine protected area, you will find sea life thriving here! No boats can dock in this area, so you don’t have to worry about it getting too crowded with visitors. While ships do come over from Maui to experience this beautiful reef system, we recommend checking out this area earlier in the morning before the boats arrive.
Private Luxury Sunset Sail
Check out this private sunset sail with Lanai Ocean Sports! If you are looking to get out on the water and enjoy a private and romantic experience with your partner, we definitely recommend this sunset sail! Imagine relaxing with a drink in hand, admiring the incredible Lanai coastline while the crew serves you appetizers and refreshing drinks all evening.
Play a Round of Golf at Manele Bay
This isn’t just any ordinary golf course. Manele Golf Course is an award-winning signature design Jack Nicklaus golf course that offers panoramic ocean views with every hole. Built on lava outcroppings, this course not only provides the perfect challenge for trained golfers, but it provides the most stunning backdrop during your entire experience.
Go Horse Back Riding
Explore the hills surrounding Koele, which used to be the hub of ranching activity on the island. You get to explore the amazing valleys and different trails around the island. You may even spot deer, sheep, and turkey during your ride. This is such a fun way to experience the true beauty of Lanai on your elopement day.
Best Beaches on Lanai For Your Elopement Ceremony
Top 3 Beaches to Visit on Lanai
This is known as one of the best beaches in America, and we can totally see why! We have been to a lot of beaches during our time in Hawai’i all throughout the islands, and we can honestly say that there is something so magical about this beach! Envision white sand beach meets crystal clear turquoise water. Because it is a protected marine area, there is limited boat traffic near the bay. Therefore, it’s an amazing spot to swim, body surf, and snorkel. The snorkeling here is out of this world!
This beach is located in North Lanai and requires a 4×4 to get there. If you don’t rent a 4×4, I recommend hiring a guide to take you out to this beach. It’s the perfect stretch of a two-mile beach for sunbathing, especially if you’re looking for a more isolated area to relax. Because of the strong currents and high winds here, we recommend picnicking, sunbathing, or taking epic photos; however, the ocean is usually too dangerous to enter here. Make sure to go on a clear day when the winds are low to avoid sand being blown all over you while you’re there.
Kaiolohia (Shipwreck Beach)
Kaiolohia is another off-the-beaten-path beach that requires a 4×4 vehicle to get there. It’s located about 30 minutes from Lanai City. This beach stretches for eight miles along the coast, and you can view shipwrecks along the entire way. You can see Maui and Molokai from shore, and it is perfect for beachcombing and exploring. However, it isn’t recommended that you swim here. If you go beyond the beach, you can find petroglyphs called Poiawa! You’ll know you found them when you come across red and brown boulders.
The Best Hikes on Lanai for an adventure elopement
Top 3 Hikes on Lanai
Monro Trail Loop
This is a 12.8-mile hiking trail with beautiful scenic views that starts in Lanai City and ends in Palawai Basin. The hike is named after George Munro, the naturalist from New Zealand, who introduced Cook pines to the island when he arrived in 1980. You gain 1,600 feet in elevation and will hike through beautiful native and non-native vegetation. A few miles in, you will reach a scenic viewpoint and can even see all of the other islands on a really clear day. If you keep hiking, you can reach the summit of Lanai, which stands at an elevation of 3,370 feet.
Puu Pehe (Sweetheart Rock)
This is a 15-20 minute hike from the Four Seasons Resort Lanai. It’s a relatively easy hike that offers an incredible view of Puu Pehe, which is the 80-foot red rock cliff ascending from the middle of the ocean. For a pretty accessible hike, you get some of the most incredible views of the red rock cliffs against the bright teal water. We love the idea of coming to this location at either sunrise or sunset.
Koele Nature Hike
This is perfect if you are looking for a more leisurely hike for something easier than the Monro trail. It should take you around three hours if you go at a leisurely pace. You start by the Lodge at Koele and make your way through Norfolk Island pines, into Holuope Valley, past wild ginger, and up to Koloiki Ridge. The entire hike is about five miles long, so make sure to start early before the afternoon clouds roll in and possible rain showers.
Best places to enjoy dinner to celebrate your elopement
Top 5 Lanai Dining experiences on your wedding day
Located at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai, this restaurant is located on top of the cliffs overlooking the ocean below. Nobu Lanai offers creative Japanese cuisine while at the same time infuses local, Hawaiian ingredients. We love this idea if you are looking for a romantic dinner by the water.
This restaurant is located at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai right beside the beautiful pool. This restaurant is unique in that they offer fresh, organic, and locally sourced ingredients with meals that are super flavorful! Most of their vegetables and fruits come directly from their Malibu Farm Harvest Garden.
This is another restaurant located at the Four Season Resort Lanai. If you are looking for a hearty meal after an active day, this is the place you’ll want to have your last meal. The menu at One Forty includes cuts of prime beef and Wagyu beef, as well as seasonal Hawaiian fish. Also, don’t forget to check out their wine list!
Ordering room service at the Four Seasons Lanai is a great option for a romantic private dinner on your hotel room balcony. Many of the meal options are similar to the fine dining restaurants available at your hotel property. This is a wonderful option if you prefer to have your elopement photographer capture dinner moments in a private and comfortable location. The hotel staff will be able to set up a dinner table on your balcony with proper linens, wine or champagne, and all of the delicious courses that you decide to order!
Lanai City Bar + Grille
If you are looking for a restaurant that isn’t at the Four Seasons, check out Lanai City Bar and Grille in the historic Hotel Lanai. This is a lively neighborhood restaurant that is popular among both locals and tourists. They serve an array of food options including local favorites and island cuisine in an upscale, but casual environment.