Oahu Elopement Guide

Oahu Elopement Guide

Everything you need to know about planning your adventure elopement in Oahu!

Imagine getting married within a mountainous landscape from the movie Jurassic Park! Oahu is the most visited island in Hawaii, with about 2/3 of the state’s population residing here. The south end of the island has the largest city in Hawaii, which is called Honolulu. You’ll find everything that you could possibility imagine from fine dining restaurants, numerous breweries, hidden food trucks, coffee shops, and luxury shopping areas. There are many high-rise resort accommodations available along the famous Waikiki Beach. This is also one of the best spots in Hawaii to learn how to surf! We recommend eloping on Oahu because there are so many hiking trails to explore and the entire island is surrounded by stunning golden sand beaches.

Your Oahu Elopement Checklist

Your Oahu Elopement Checklist

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  • Step Six
Find Your Oahu Elopement Photographer

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!

Choosing the Best Time of Year to Visit Oahu

We often have couples ask us the best time of year to visit Oahu. 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 200 inches of rain each year and other regions that only get 10 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!

Decide Where To Stay on Oahu

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.

Book other wedding services

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.

How to Find Your Wedding Attire

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.

How to Apply for a Marriage License on Oahu

Now that you’ve chosen to elope on Maui, 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:

  1. Here is the list to find a marriage agent on Oahu.

  2. You  must show your driver’s license to show proof that you’re over 18 years old.

  3. Click on this link to fill out the marriage application.

  4. The application fee is $60 with a $5 administration fee.

  5. We suggest setting up an appointment a few days before your elopement date.

Best places to stay for your Oahu elopement

Best places to stay for your Oahu elopement

Our Top 5 Unique Accommodations on Oahu

Hawaii Surf Campers

For all you adventure lovers who don’t need much while traveling, this may be the best investment for your trip. Hawaii Surf Campers offers restored camper vans (mostly VW buses) that can bring you the adventure you’ve been looking for. Most of their campervans are pretty basic in aesthetic, but they provide everything you need to travel around the island: a bed to sleep, stove to cook on, kitchen supplies, a shower hose.

The Laylow, Autograph Collection

Because Airbnb’s are reserved for monthly rentals on Oahu, we highly recommend staying in a unique boutique hotel such as the Laylow during your time on Oahu. Consider the Laylow a perfect little paradise where mid-century modern design and Hawaii’s charm are combined to create an incredible vacation experience. Located in downtown Waikiki, you are only a five-minute walk from Waikiki Beach and a 3-mile drive from Diamond Head Crater Hike.

Surfjack Hotel and Swim Club

We love the 1960’s vibe this boutique hotel gives us! With only 112 bungalows and suites, this hotel has a bit of a more intimate feel. Not to mention, this hotel is home to the apparel shop (& your morning coffee fix), Oliver & Oliver, as well as one of Ed Kennedy’s newest restaurants, Mahina & Sun’s.

Ke Iki Beach Bungalows

Located on the North Shore, you get to enjoy amazing sunsets in your fully remodeled oceanfront bungalow. This would be a great option if you are having a few family and friends join you for your elopement. You could have your own separate space while still having your family on the same property.

Turtle Bay Resort

If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Waikiki, Turtle Bay is the perfect place to kick back and enjoy the calmer pace of Oahu’s North Shore. And the best part about this resort?! You have an ocean view from every room!  You can enjoy five miles of coastline just minutes from your room. This is an awesome option, especially if you plan to elope on the north shore!

Best Activities on Oahu for your elopement

Best Activities on Oahu for your elopement

Top 5 Activities on Oahu

Book a Private Helicopter Tour

Blue Hawaiian offers private charter flights that would be perfect for your elopement day. Couples who have charted a private tour in the past have combined their ride with an activity once they land. Whether it’s a horseback ride, a luxury picnic, or a zipline excursion, you can design your helicopter tour to be a complete adventure!

Surf Waikiki Beach

If there ever was a time to learn how to surf, it would be on your elopement day! Waikiki Beach is known for its smaller waves that make it really easy to learn to surf. Check out Ty Gurney Surf School to set up a surf lesson! The best part is that you can book private lessons where you will have 1-on-1 instruction from the surf experts!

Private Luxury Sunset Sail

Check out this private sunset sail with Waikiki Catamaran Charters! Whether you are looking for a perfect way to end your elopement day with just you and your partner or with a few family and friends, this sunset sail is exactly what you may be looking for! You can have a private chef prepare delicious appetizers or a gourmet dinner for you and your partner. We love this option for a more intimate and private experience to end your day!

Kayak to Chinaman's Hat

Rent your own kayak from Active Oahu Tours & Activities for a few hours on your elopement day. You can rent a double kayak and paddle to Mokoli’i, which many people know as Chinaman’s Hat. This tour company will provide you with kayaks, seatbacks, life vests, dry bags, safety equipment, and private instruction before you head out. We would recommend this type of experience for a couple who is comfortable kayaking and has experienced a self-guided kayak tour before.

Drive an ATV at Kualoa Ranch

Kualoa Ranch is the epitome of incredible Hawai’i landscapes! Jurassic Park was actually filmed here! Kualoa Ranch offers an incredible private adventure experience where you get to access an exclusive tour of the property while zooming around on ATVs during the 2.5 Hour Raptor Tour.  Make sure to bring an extra pair of clothes because these rides can definitely get muddy!

 

Best Beaches on Oahu For Your Elopement Ceremony

Best Beaches on Oahu For Your Elopement Ceremony

Top 5 Beaches to get married on Oahu

Sandy Beach

Sandy Beach is located on the Southeast shore of O’ahu and is only thirty minutes from Waikiki. This beach is located at the bottom of Koko Crater, also known to Hawaiians as Kohelepelepe. It is one of the only sandy beaches along this rocky coastline. This beach is also popular among locals who bodyboard and bodysurf the shore break, so we recommend visiting early in the morning.

Waimanalo Beach

At around 3 miles long, this beach is one of the longest stretches of white sand beach on Oahu. We love that this beach is backed by ironwood trees, which provide amazing shade! Another really beautiful aspect of this beach is that you have the Ko’olau mountains and several islands in the distance. This is also one of the only beaches that allow you to set up an arch and chairs for your guests (on weekdays) if you decide to elope here with a few family and friends.

Lanikai Beach

Lanikai Beach Park on Oahu is a half-mile stretch of beautiful sand and palm trees, which looks out over the crystal clear waters. Two islands called “Na Mokulua” less than a mile offshore create a beautiful paradise atmosphere on this beach. There is no public parking, and on the weekends you can’t even park in the neighborhood, so make sure you are prepared to walk at least 10 minutes from the Kailua area.

Kualoa Regional Park Beach

Kualoa Park Beach is incredible because it has a narrow beach with a view of Mokoli’i (also known as Chinaman’s hat) in the background. You can also get amazing views of the Kualoa Mountains from this beach park. If you are dreaming of capturing both the ocean and the mountains in one location, we definitely recommend checking out this beach!

Sunset Beach

This versatile destination has a long stretch of sand that gives you and your family a bit of breathing room as you soak up some rays, making it the perfect choice for an all-day beach affair. Sunset Beach is ideal for any activity that requires waves, like surfing or body-boarding! This beach is located outside of Haleiwa Town past Waimea Bay.

The Best Hikes on Oahu for an adventure elopement

The Best Hikes on Oahu for an adventure elopement

Top 5 Hikes on Oahu

Ma’auka Ridge Trail

This is a loop trail that is 3.7 miles long located near Hau’ula, Oahu. You start out in the forest and it quickly opens up into open, dry country. You will hike up some switchback before you get to some benches that overlook the ocean and the town of Hau’ula. You can go one of two ways after the shelter. Either way you take, you will make your way around the loop! As always when hiking trails in Hawai’i, make sure to stay on the trail as this trail is close to a public hunting area.

Kaunala Trail

This trail is a 5.2 mile hike on the North Shore of O’ahu. You gain about 1,200 feet elevation throughout the entire hike and will hike through several gulches. One of the coolest parts about this hike is that you will be able to view native and introduced vegetation along the entire trail. Please make note that this trail is open on weekends. Also, this trail tends to be muddy so make sure you have proper footwear.

Waimano Trail

This is a 7.2 mile trail located near Pearl City, Oahu. This trail offers two options of either hiking lower or upper Waimano Trail. They form a big loop. If you decide to hike lower Waimano Trail, you can follow a stream for quite a while up the valley. You will ascend to join the Upper Trail eventually. If you decide to take the upper trail, you will follow a ditch and tunnel towards the east of Waimano Valley. You will climb over a ridge and follow an abandoned dam. You will follow some switchbacks until you arrive at Ko’olau summit. Take note that when parking in this area, please be mindful and respectful of the community that lives at the start of the trailhead.

Wa’ahila Ridge Trail

This hike is a 4.5 miles round trip and begins at the back of Wa’ahila Ridge State Park. You start off this hike amidst beautiful ironwood and guava trees and continue between the ridge and forest as you make your way up the ridge. This hike offers amazing views of Manoa Valley, Palolo Valley, Honolulu, and Ko’olau Range. Some really neat aspects of this hike are that you get to see amazing native Hawaiian plants and trees such as koa and ohia lehua. If you want to go further, you can continue down Kolowalu Trail and descend down into the back of Manoa Valley. You can even camp at Kolowalu trail shelter if you are really adventurous! Make sure to check the availability of permits before your hike! 

Judd Trail

This is a .75 mile hike if you are looking for an easier accessible hiking trail during your trip. You can start below the parking area and make your way across the stream. You will have to hike on unstable rocks that may be slippery, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes that you will feel secure in. This trail forms a loop, so it won’t matter which direction you choose. You will be able to see bamboo, ironwood, and eucalyptus forest through this hike. It features a small waterfall if you need to cool off during your hike. You can also connect with Nu’uanu Trail about halfway through if you want to continue your hike.

Best places on Oahu to enjoy your elopement dinner

Best places on Oahu to enjoy your elopement dinner

Top 5 Dining experiences to on your wedding day

Hire A Private Chef to Cook at Your Airbnb

We love the idea of hiring a private chef to prepare a meal for you at your accommodation! This dinner experience is ideal for couples that absolutely love the place they booked, and would prefer to go back to their cozy Airbnb and have a private chef prepare your wedding dinner for you. Kuoha Culinary is an amazing chef on the island of Oahu. They specialize in small upscale catered and private events.

Luxury Picnic on the Beach

I can’t imagine anything more perfect than a beach picnic after a full morning of adventuring! Aloha Artisans offers a customized picnic set up depending on what you are dreaming up for your elopement day. Included in this picnic set up is an incredible wood table, a tablescape for at least four people, an accent rug, an umbrella, and complete delivery and breakdown so you don’t have to worry about a thing! 

Private Beach Dinner Under the Stars

This is a popular option for couples that prefer to get married at sunset and want to enjoy a private meal beside the ocean. We have worked with restaurants and resorts that offer a “Dinner Under the Stars” private dining option with a table surrounded by tiki torches in a secluded location on the property. You will be able to discuss meal options with the restaurant manager so that you can pre-order all of the courses that you would like to enjoy for dinner!

Order Room Service on Your Oceanfront Balcony

Ordering room service at a resort in Oahu is actually an excellent 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! 

Private Dinner at La Mer

La Mer is Hawaii’s only AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star restaurant. You will have amazing ocean views during your dinner, as well. We recommend asking the restaurant manager to set up a private dinner away from other guests in the restaurant. This will allow us the opportunity to capture the special moments of your dinner celebration, while also giving you space and privacy during your meal.