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How to Elope on Maui + Photography Locations

Updated: Apr 12, 2023



Why Elope on Maui?


It's the Second-Largest Hawaiian Island, Maui is the perfect elopement destination. From from soft sand to newly formed lava rock to lush rainforest to eroded mountains and valleys, Maui is extremely diverse making it my favorite of all the islands in Hawaii.


Who am I? I'm a destination wedding and elopement photographer, local to Maui for 6 years. Living on this island is truly a gift, let me share some of my knowledge with you to help you better plan your perfect wedding day.


^Picture is at Ironwoods Beach / Oneloa Beach in Kapalua : West Maui


Maui is the perfect mix of natural beauty + modern amenities.


Maui, Hawaii is the perfect place to elope for several reasons:


Maui, Hawaii is considered the perfect place to elope for several reasons:


Scenic beauty: Maui is known for its stunning tropical landscapes, beautiful beaches, waterfalls, and sunsets, making it the perfect backdrop for a romantic elopement.


Weather: Maui enjoys warm and sunny weather throughout the year, making it an ideal place to plan a wedding or elopement.


Privacy: There are several secluded and private locations in Maui that are perfect for an intimate elopement ceremony.


Wedding vendors: Maui has a wide range of wedding vendors, including photographers, florists, and wedding planners, who can help you plan your perfect elopement.


Adventure: Maui offers several adventures, such as hiking, snorkeling, and surfing, which can be an excellent way to spend quality time with your partner before or after the ceremony. Humpback whales in the winter months which makes it great reason to plan a winter elopement here!


Convenient Airport - Kahului Airport (OGG) is the primary airport of the island of Maui and serves both overseas and inter island flights. The airport is conveniently located in the center of the island which makes it easy no matter what part of the island you decide to stay in.


^Picture is at Black Sand Beach at Waiʻānapanapa State Park in Hana Maui.


What time of year to elope on Maui?


What time of year to elope on Maui?


The best time of year to elope on Maui depends on what kind of experience you are looking for.


Spring Elopements - (March through May) is often referred to as “the sweet spot” because it brings mild temperatures and plenty of sunshine without the crowds that accompany summer.


Summer Elopements - (June through August) tend to be the busiest times of year, as they bring warm weather and ample sunshine.


Fall / Winter - If you're looking for a more secluded and private experience, winter months (November through February) may be the ideal choice. During this time, the island is much less crowded and there are fewer visitors which can make it easier to find a secluded spot for your elopement ceremony. I have to mention that there are more frequent rains during this time of the year but they are usually scattered and only last for about 10 minutes. Occasionally there is a longer rain storm, but so far I've been able to find parts of the island that aren't raining almost every single time (Maui has some really interesting and predictable rain patterns!). I have some seriously great ideas for the perfect secluded spots, let's talk more!


What time of Day to have your Ceremony?


My recommendation would be to have your ceremony either early in the morning or a little bit before sunset. Trust me: Avoid having an outdoor ceremony on Maui between the hours of 9-4! *For even more accurate times based on the date of your wedding photos + ceremony location send me a message.

Morning Ceremony: Calm and Peaceful

PROS

-The soft morning light creates a romantic and dreamy atmosphere, making for STUNNING photographs.

-The temperature is generally cooler in the morning making it more comfortable.

-beautiful aqua-blue morning water

-Getting married in the morning leaves plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the day, whether it's exploring the island or having a relaxing honeymoon.

CONS

-Getting up early

Sunset Ceremony : Amazing Sunset

PROS

-The golden hour makes for a beautiful ceremony and photo backdrop

-The afternoon heat has subsided

-Sunset weddings can be followed by a romantic dinner or reception.

CONS

It will be windier at sunset than it is at sunrise.

^Pictures were taken at Kapalua Bay Beach


How do you elope on Maui?


You just need an officiant, marriage license, and location permit.


How to Get a Marriage License in Maui County, Hawaii


You don't need to be a Hawaii citizen or even a US citizen to get a marriage license in Hawaii.


Step 1: Couples must first apply. You can fill out the online form here. Keep in mind that this will expire in 30 days from the date of issuance so only apply 1 month in advance before your wedding. This license will be valid on any/all Hawaiian islands.


Step 2: Make an appointment with a marriage license agent at least two weeks before you leave for your trip. You can find a current list of state licensed agents here.


Bring to your licensing appointment:


• $70 cash (unless you payed online already)

• Completed paper application or printed copy of online application

• Drivers License, Military ID or Passport

• Both people that will be involved in the marriage or civil union must attend the marriage license appointment



Step 3: Print out your marriage license application and bring with you to your appointment along with the following:


• $70 cash (unless you payed online already)

• Completed paper application or printed copy of online application

• Drivers License, Military ID or Passport

• Both people that will be involved in the marriage or civil union must attend the marriage license appointment



Is there a waiting period after we have our meeting with the agent?

No. You can get married right away!! Although we suggest making the appointment for at least the day before your ceremony so you'll have less to do that day!


Do I need a permit?


Hawaii is very strict about having a beach permit for any type of ceremony, so if you're getting married anywhere that isn't a venue or considered private property yes you will need a permit.

Don't stress out about this though, if you hire me I will take care of the Beach Use Wedding Permit! Set up a call so I can hear about your dream elopement.


^Picture is at Ironwoods Beach / Oneloa Beach


Where to elope on the island of Maui?


There are so many amazing elopement location options, choosing the best one really depends on the time of the year. I'm here to help with that! Send me a message and ask me when I think is the best time of year for whatever location you're thinking of.


Here's a few of my favorites:


Baldwin Beach - Located on the north shore with beautiful white sand and views of the West Maui mountains. Both sunrises and sunsets here are amazing although there will be considerably less wind in the morning. Wake up early to avoid the crowds and the heat asm well. Its location in Paia gives couples easy access to a variety of restaurants and shops for post-elopement celebrations (I lived here for 5 years ask me about my favorite restaurant).

Haleakala National Park- Get married on top of a dormant volcano!! This unique volcanic landscape offers a breathtaking backdrop that you won't find anywhere else in the world. All ceremonies must be kept intimate (under 25) (which is perfect for elopements)! A special use permit ($150) is required if you want to elope in Haleakala. You can get the permit here or I can do it for us.


^ pictures are at Baby Beach in Lahaina - scroll for more!


Baby Beach - A small, secluded beach on the west side of Maui. Known for calm, shallow waters and beautiful sunsets. This beach isn't as busy as some of the other popular tourist spots, so you'll avoid large crowds and interruptions. It is also easy to access from Lahaina town, which is only a few minutes drive away. This makes it convenient for couples who are looking to elope but don't want to travel too far from their accommodations.


Hana - Beautiful white or black sand beaches with red rocks or sweeping cliffs Hana is worth the effort for the sweeping land scapes. Take advantage of the picturesque trails, beachfront cliffs, and hidden coves for some truly romantic photos. Both Wainapanapa and Koki State Park has facilities for couples to use after their ceremony, including picnic tables and grills. There is not many dining options but I can help you choose the right one for your after ceremony celebrations.



^ Makena Cove / Secrets Beach


Makena Cove / Secrets Beach - It's beauty is not so much of a secret anymore but I have ton's of experience avoiding the crowds here. Ask me how. Plus it's located a short drive from Wailea which has some of the best resorts and dining on the island.


^ Picture is Ironwoods Beach / Oneloa - slide for more!


Kapalua Bay / Ironwoods Beach - From its stunning white sand beach to its vibrant reef system, to its volcanic sea cliffs, this beach offers plenty of opportunities for a romantic ceremony and photoshoot. Plus, with its convenient location in Kapalua/West Maui, it’s easy to access so many great lodging and fine dining options.



If you want more information about these locations don't hesitate to reach out to me! I would be happy to help you navigate the options and choose the perfect location for what you are imagining.


*Picture below is in front of Merriman's Kapalua.



Po'olenalena Beach - Gorgeous views and unique standing lava formations + easy access and tons of parking. This beach gets busy in the afternoon so if you want it to yourself I suggest waking up for an 8 am ceremony. Sunsets here are spectacular and its a large beach with 3 entrances, so most likely you'll be able to find a spot to yourselves to have your ceremony.



Wedding Flowers


Do you want a tropical wedding bouquet or a Haku (which means flower headpiece)? Will your groom wear a Maile Lei? There are many options when it comes to a Maui dream wedding!


Adding an Adventure to your Elopement


If you're looking to add an activity to your adventure elopement Maui has tons of great options from whale watching, snorkeling, surfing, sailing, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and camping the options are truly endless.


Sunset Sail/Snorkel: Gemini is the best sail boat to go on for a snorkel or a sunset cruise. Visit their website here.


Whale Watching: For whale watching I highly recommend going on a smaller boat. The whales will not be afraid of your smaller boat and you will have a WAY higher chance to have an epic encounter. Try Captain Steves.


Mountain Biking: Mountain bike on a volcano! Poli Poli is the spot. Check out this trail. You can rent bikes in Makawao at Krank Maui.


Camping: You can find all sorts of things online but if you want some of my best inside knowledge message me on instagram.



Where to eat afterwards?


Maui is home to some of the best fine dining restaurants in the world. Whether you are looking for a romantic dinner-for-two or a special occasion feast Maui has something for you.


Kai Kanani’s Beach House Restaurant: Located near Makena Cove/Secrets Beach, this beachfront restaurant offers an exquisite menu consisting of fresh seafood and prime steak dishes, all prepared with the freshest ingredients and innovative flavors.


Merriman’s Kapalua: For a unique culinary adventure, try the Mediterranean-inspired cuisine of Merriman’s in Kapalua. This award-winning restaurant offers an ever-changing menu that celebrates local produce and products from around the world. Plus, its stunning ocean views make it a great spot for an intimate dinner-for-two.


Spago: For an unforgettable evening out, book a table at Spago Maui. This upscale restaurant is located in the heart of Wailea and serves creative dishes inspired by regional flavors. Whether you opt for its classic omakase menu or its chef’s tasting menu, you can be sure to enjoy a memorable evening here.



Planning an elopement or intimate wedding of your own? Hire me to be your elopement photographer on any of the Hawaiian Islands!


I am a professional photographer living on Maui and I'd love to talk with you more about the best elopement location and wedding package for you and your fiancé. My Team of Wedding Specialists can help you with any part of the planning process!


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