Looking for the perfect place to elope?
With its unique landscapes and diverse climate zones, the “Big Island”, also known as the island of Hawai’i, can form your dream destination for a serene and stunning elopement.
So, grab your wedding clothes and reef-safe sunscreen as we go explore everything you need to know about eloping on the Big Island of Hawaii!
About The Big Island of Hawaii
Here are a few fun facts about the island of Hawai’i:
- The Big Island got its name from its size – I mean, it’s massive. Occupying 4,029 square miles, it is the largest island in the U.S. If you were to combine all the remaining Hawaiian islands, the Big Island would be almost twice their size (combined)!
- Hawaiian culture is a perfect mix of ancient traditions and ethnic influences. You’ll be enjoying a lot of music and dancing while you’re there (plus the best fresh food!)
- This island is perfect for couples who would love to experience the doings of Mother Nature firsthand. Snow-capped heights, lush valleys, jet-black sands, lava fields, tropical rainforests, and stunning volcanoes are a few of the things this island has to offer. Fun fact: the Big Island is home to white, black, and green sand beaches!
- As of 2020, the population of the Big Island was approximately 200,000. This makes 14% of the total 1.4 million statewide population.
Added to the above, you’ll find heaps of fun things to do on the Big Island.
From water-based activities such as snorkeling, surfing, and boat cruises to other adventures such as helicopter tours, hiking, and horseback riding, you’ll never run out of exciting things to do with your partner!
How To Get To The Big Island Of Hawaii
You can fly directly into the Big Island through the Kona International Airport (KOA), located in Kona. The U.S. West Coast, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, offers direct flights to the island.
If you’re staying on the east side/windward side of the island, you can fly into Hilo airport (ITO).
The Best Places To Elope On The Big Island Of Hawaii
The Island of Hawai’i is home to some of the most stunning natural locations to tie the knot. Be prepared to collect memories lasting a lifetime after exchanging your vows in any of the following sites!
Punalu’u Black Sand Beach
- Jet-black sand and crystal-blue waters
- Perfect location for sunrise ceremonies
- Hotels nearby: Grand Naniloa and Volcano Village
- 1.5-hour drive from Kona and Hilo
- Optimum for 20 guests
- Not great for day-time ceremonies as the sand can get really hot
- Steep 1-mile descent required to reach the location
- Two black-sand beaches separated by a river running out of the sea
- Weekends are crowded, so weekdays recommended for less-crowdy ceremonies (brownie points if you do an early morning elopement when the tourists are asleep)
- Be ready for some adventure (for example, rain showing up to the ceremony)
- Can host up to 25 guests
Papakolea Green Sand Beach
- One of the four green sand beaches worldwide (it’s truly a hidden gem!)
- Difficult access through a hike, so 1 or 2 guests preferred
- No hotels nearby, though there are AirBnBs
- 3-hour drive from Kailua Kona
- Classic white sand beach
- Many resorts nearby for post-elopement dinner
- Lava Lava Beach Club is at a walking distance
- Easily accessible and optimum for 20 people
- Perfect for energetic couples not seeking seclusion
- Nearby hotels: Hilton, Fairmont
Kukio Beach And Overlook
- Black lava cliffs coupled with a deep white sand beach
- Home to majestic sea turtles
- Great for a secluded wedding (due to low tourist numbers)
- Hotel nearby: Four Seasons Resort
- Optimum for 20 guests
- Perfect for exchanging vows in front of a breathtaking sunset
However, note that the guest numbers listed for each location are general. With COVID-19 still lingering around, the Hawaiian government is allowing up to 10 people for indoor events and 25 people for outdoor events. Plus, they allow less than 20 people for beachside ceremonies.
How To Get Married In Hawaii – License Procedure
To get married in Hawai’i, your officiant will need to register with the state. Plus, you’ll need to obtain a marriage license before tying the knot.
For this purpose, you have to connect with a marriage license agent, who will go through your documentation. Examples of documents he will see include proof of age and previously-ended marriages.
The agent will then provide you with an official marriage license which will be valid for 30 days.
To check if you’re eligible for a marriage license in Hawaii, you can view Hawaii’s Department of Vital Records’ requirements.
Plus, you will need to get a permit to elope on a beach – you can’t just show up with your significant other and expect to exchange vows right there and then. Here’s a link.
Also, keep in mind that there are many restrictions associated with beach ceremonies. For example, most places do not allow chairs or amplified music. Many times, officiants will help you get your permit set up and handle that paperwork. Be sure to chat with them in advance!
Best Wedding Vendors On The Big Island Of Hawaii
Now that your license procedure is all set, here is a list of some of the wedding vendors recommended for your elopement:
Big Island Catering:
Big Island Florists and Leis
Big Island Hair and Makeup Artists
Big Island Wedding Officiants:
The Best Time To Elope On The Big Island Of Hawaii
The temperatures of the Big Island are generally nice and warm throughout the year (staying within the range 68°F and 87°F), so there’s technically no wrong time to plan your elopement.
For sun-loving peeps, May through October is super warm and low on rain. This period is recommended for beach weddings, but remember, it’s also the peak travel months when there’s an influx of tourists.
If you’d rather prefer cooler temperatures, September through October are great months. Hurricanes are rare but possible during these months, so you better watch out!
Honeymoon On The Big Island Of Hawaii
Not only is eloping on the Big Island of Hawaii a great idea, but the area also makes an excellent destination for your post-wedding honeymoon!
You can enjoy an oceanside spa treatment with your significant other, find hidden gems such as mesmerizing waterfalls, join helicopter tours, go swimming with manta rays, and spend the night stargazing with your significant other.
With so many thrilling activities amidst romantic settings, the perfect honeymoon awaits you!
Where To Stay Plus Eat In The Big Island of Hawaii
Here are a bunch of great places to stay on the Big Island of Hawaii:
Offering wrap-around vistas of the Pacific Ocean, the Royal Kona Resort is a high-end accommodation option. Experience fine dining, a swimming pool, and lagoon, tennis courts, a hair salon, plus a fitness center!
For a relaxing and peaceful stay with quick access to spas, salons, and restaurants, the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel will be your perfect place to stay.
This Airbnb is an ideal place to stay to experience loads of exploring and a secluded environment, plus beautiful views.
Located in a private and quiet area in Kona. The first luxury honeymoon tree house. Kona Tree Cave houses 2 guests with 1 bed and 1 bath.
OPULENCE! YOU OWN EVERYTHING! This is the Hawaiian standard of luxury during your Big Island Elopement.
A self-contained luxury resort for all your honeymoon and destination wedding needs. This place is LIT and SUPER BOUGIE.
The best places to eat on the Big Island
- Super Js in Captain Cook! – True authentic Hawaiian cuisine with laulau (pork wrapped in banana leaves) your auntie will serve it up hot and delicious! It’s nothing fancy but the food is divine!
- The Noodle Club – for devouring delicious Asian cuisine
- Ohelo Cafe – who wouldn’t enjoy pizzas and cocktails?
- Manta – super famous for its breakfast buffets
- Merrimans’ – its regional flavor is a local favorite
- Da Poke Shack – in for some fresh poke at a shack? THIS SHIZ IS THE BOMB! Seriously, it’s my favorite poke in all of Hawaii! You’ll get rice and macaroni salad too. Get ready for a mouthwatering treat!
- Tex Drive In – Get your hot malasadas here on the northeast side of the island!
- Thai Thai Bistro and Bar – in Volcano? Stop in for amazing thai in this little hole in the rainforest!
Oh yeah, while you’re on the Big Island, you’re going to want to stop in at the Southern most winery in the United States! They specialize in unique wines and infuse tea into their wine. They also use a unique approach for some of their wines with sea grapes instead of regular grapes!
Fun Things to do During your Honeymoon on the Big Island
The Big Island is full of amazing activities to do. Here is a little list I came up with for your post-elopement adventure!
Visit Volcanoes National Park. Don’t tell me you’re flying 4000 miles to NOT see a live volcano. So do yourself a favor and take your rental car down to Volcano, Hawaii. (Seriously, that’s the name). Volcano is a little rainforest type town at a higher elevation so be sure to bring real shoes and possibly a jacket. It can dip into the 50s at times.
Take surf lessons! Surfing is a Hawaiian essential. You can find some great surf lessons online and through the AirBnB Excursions portion of it.
Surf Lessons on the Big Island of Hawaii:
If you’re still looking for adventure and like the water and sealife, consider a nighttime manta ray snorkel tour! You’re taken out to a still spot in the water off the coast of Kona and they use non-intrusive lighting to draw in these gorgeous ocean ballet artists known as manta rays. They are 100% safe to swim with and you mostly float above them while holding onto a paddle board with lights.
Swim with the Manta Rays on the Big Island
Other Fun things to do on the Big Island
Explore the AirBnB Local Excursions Options! This link includes information for all the locals that offer excursions through AirBnB. When we visited we booked our surf lesson through this and it was exceptional! You can also do sound meditation, sunset ceremonies, learn to make leis, tour farms, coffee plantations, or even just get a totally guided tour of the island.
Let’s elope in Hawaii!
Eloping in the Big Island of Hawaii is a dream for many – after all, who wouldn’t love to exchange vows amidst the stunning views offered by Mother Nature.
With this blog coming to an end, I hope you now know what to expect and do before, during, and after your elopement!
Be sure to send us a message and we can begin helping you create your perfect Big Island elopement!
Oh yeah, and we will totally be taking you around the island on your elopement day! If you’d like to add on another half or full-day adventure in or out of your wedding clothes, we can totally do that too! Just send me a message below and we will chat!
Mahalo and happy travels!