A Few Good Clicks

Blog  /  Stories

Adventure Elopement-a Hawaiian Wedding Experience


Priyanka Sharma

07 May, 2022


Share via:

In this blog:

Should I choose an Adventure Elopement?

What is an Adventure Elopement?

Why should I choose Kauai for my Elopement?

How should I start planning an Elopement on Kauai?

What Are the best locations to Elope in Kauai?

What are some tips for eloping on Kauai?

What is the best time of year for eloping on Kauai?

Should I create a wedding timeline?

How can I figure out my elopement budget?

Who should I invite to my elopement?

Elopement Photography Hanalei Bay Resort
Beach Wedding Photography in Kauai

Choosing Adventure Elopement-a Hawaiian Wedding Experience

By the time two people approach the altar on their wedding day, many choices have already been made for them. There are a multitude of expectations in place; who do you need to invite (hello, Mom’s friend from work you’ve never met!) traditional foods (do you really need that pasta appetizer?)  religious verses and even certain types of flowers that people just presume you’ll have at your wedding. Not to mention the dollar signs that go with all the above to achieve what the mainstream of people perceives as a “beautiful” wedding.

We believe that there is beauty and meaning in all kinds of weddings, and we encourage everyone to choose what works for them. Planning a wedding can be inordinately stressful. Couples have so much to balance: playing mediator amongst families, honoring tradition and loved ones, making a budget stretch- all while striving to keep at least some of the day authentic to their values and relationship.

If you have adventuresome hearts and are looking to do something a little different, to turn away from expectations and the balancing act, or maybe you’ve just realized that pasta appetizers and luxe rental linens could make a nice dent in a house payment, an adventure elopement could be an exciting choice for you and your partner. Ceremonies on windswept mountaintops, photography sessions at rushing waterfalls, helicoptering into an intimate wedding feast-your experience really can be ‘choose your own adventure’ with the sky as the limit for your own expectations.

Ring of fire against the beautiful backdrop of Kauai

What is an Adventure Elopement?

When people see the word “adventure” alongside “elopement” or “wedding,” they might picture white water rafting with a veil streaming from your helmet, zip lining in the rainforest while shouting “I DOOOOOOO!” or maybe a ceremony with an officiant and no guests…followed by a marital bungee jump.  But adventure elopement doesn’t have just one look, and it doesn’t have to be extreme. It can be defined or explained as holding your wedding in a destination that is a departure from not only your everyday life but a traditional wedding setting, with an emphasis on adventure and experiences to match. And these departures and adventures can vary greatly. Each couple needs to make choices that feel rich and authentic to them, including location, vendors, activities, and guests. While the decision-making elements of the wedding planning process are not entirely eliminated in an elopement, they can be remarkably more enjoyable when you’re choosing from a much shorter list of elements that you actually want.

Beach Elopement Photo by A Few Good Clicks

Adventure Elopement in Hawaii but Why Kauai?

The Hawaiian Islands are known for being home to some of the most beautiful places in the world and are a popular wedding destination. The oldest island, Kauai, is nicknamed the “Garden Isle”-it is rich with tropical rain forests, waterfalls, and cliffs that you’ve undoubtedly seen in many films. Kauai offers a multitude of landscapes to drink in and activities to enjoy. Picturesque coastal road trips, waterfall hikes, ocean kayaking, five-star hotels, funky Airbnbs and a beautiful local culture and cuisine-Kauai has it all. If you’re not sure if you want to surf and snorkel or lounge and spa (or all of the above) Kauai is an amazing adventure elopement destination. It’s got options!

Sunset in Kauai's north Shore Beach | Wedding Couple

How to Start Planning a Hawaiian Elopement?

Before you get sensory overload thinking about the “what, where, when” of a destination adventure elopement, read this quick How To Guide. We’ll cover the basics of what you’ll need to know when planning an elopement in Hawaii.
Check the boxes

You don’t need to be a resident of the state of Hawaii to elope on the island of Kauai. You’ll just need to do the following:

  • Apply for a marriage license and pay the fee, $65. You can fill it out online ahead of time, but you must appear in person (with your partner) to file. Click here to start your application https://emrs.ehawaii.gov/emrs/public/home.html
  • Call this number to find out where to file in person once you reach the island of Kauai: (808) 241-3498
  • Provide a state issued ID
  • Secure an officiant from this list https://emrs.ehawaii.gov/emrs/public/find-performer.html  or use a referral.
  • Have your photographer secure location permits for your ceremony and portraits

Location, Location, Location! Top Elopement destinations in Kauai

The location of your actual ceremony is a great place to start the planning process. It’s why you’re there! Close your eyes for a moment and visualize…. where you do you see yourself saying your vows? Under a floral archway on a serene beach? Overlooking a breathtaking cliff? For an adventure elopement, working with an experienced photographer to scope out the perfect location for your ceremony and wedding portraits is key. A Few Good Clicks has the low- down on amazing spots that are less known to tourists as well as the ins and outs of Hawaii’s rather strict permitting requirements. Don’t assume that a seemingly quiet beach is fair game and risk your ceremony being interrupted-let your photographer guide you to make sure your vows will be on the up- and- up on the island.

Napali Coast Beach Couple Photos

Kauai Wedding Locations

The elopement locations on the island of Kauai are seemingly endless. While the resort or residence you’re staying at can always be an option, here are a few gorgeous locations that might fit your wedding day vibe.

If you’d like to take your portraits in a separate location, we recommend checking out these spots. From moonlit jetties to botanical gardens to a gram-worthy tropical marketplace, your photographer will gain access to the locations and create a schedule based on best light and foot traffic to ensure you get the most memorable shots out of your session.

Engagement photos in kauai's most iconic spot

Tips for Eloping on the Hawaiian Islands

Leave No Trace

Remember, as minimal as many elopements tend to be, you should strive to leave your ceremony and portrait location as perfect as you found it…maybe you’ve had a champagne toast (be sure to grab that bit of silver foil!) a few happy-tears tissues crumpled in your dress, or you’ve ditched your sandals for bare toes in the sand. Respect and honor the island by taking all items with you when you go. This concept should be applied to all your travels- read more about the “Leave No Trace” initiative here: https://lnt.org/about/history/

Best Time of Year to Elope in Kauai

Kauai is known for its stable climate and consistently beautiful weather, with just a few winter months bringing overcast skies and rain. Early Fall (September) and early Spring (March) see much fewer tourists, and can be great months to elope in Kauai, but you’ve got a good chance of sunshine no matter which month you choose.

Remember to be flexible and accepting of the unexpected. Remember that the weather is one choice that will be made for you on the actual day…by Mother Nature. The visualization exercise you did a minute ago undoubtedly was framed with a gorgeous sunset or a clear blue sky, but clouds and rain can make for some amazing pictures and shouldn’t change the tone of your experience. Watch the forecast and go with the flow.

How to create an Elopement Timeline?

Even if your ceremony is super intimate (just the two of you) we recommend creating a timeline for the big day to ensure that all goes smoothly. Having a plan to follow will ease stress and allow you to really be in the moment.  See our sample wedding guide here for inspiration-keep in mind, an elopement timeline will be much more minimal than a traditional wedding. Plotting out the various elements on paper and building in travel time to different locations is key for a successful day.

Eloping on a Budget in Hawaii -  Yes it's possible!

By choosing to elope, you’ve likely eliminated about 80% of traditional wedding day stressors, along with a comparable percentage of budget. You’re saving on venue costs, church and reception florals, guest meals, entertainment, rental linens, the list goes on and on.

To get a feel for what your elopement might cost you, start off by creating a lean budget for your “must haves”, which will likely include transportation to your destination, ground transportation once arrived, the officiant, wedding attire, hair and makeup artists and your photographer. Tip: Photographers can double as event coordinators at an adventure elopement! Once you’ve got the basics down, start factoring in your extras-florals, décor, food and beverage or entertainment. Your vows might be followed by a special meal shared between the two of you or a celebratory gathering of your intimate group of guests. An elopement budget can really run a wide range, but the average cost is still a fraction of the price of a traditional wedding.

Tip: Do yourself a favor and don’t add stress back by insisting on doing your own hair and makeup the morning of your wedding. We recommend that you allocate a bit of your budget towards letting professionals take care of you on your big day. Hair and makeup artists will have you feeling like the best version of yourself at your ceremony, and it will show in your professional portraits. Your vendors might have referrals of artists who have done exceptional work at other elopements and offer a reasonable rate. If there isn’t time for a hair and makeup trial at the location, at the very least schedule a video call with your artists-be ready to show and discuss inspiration pictures of how you envision yourself on your day.

For the “extras”, we encourage you to try and make meaningful choices. The elopement locations in Kauai are fully- outfitted with spectacular views and don’t need much, but if there’s something special that you’d really like to have (such as a ukulele playing you down the sandy aisle), plan and budget accordingly.

Kauai Couples Photography at Timbers resort

Who should you invite to your Elopement?

Hawaii is one of the few states that doesn’t require your marriage to have witnesses, so inviting guests to your elopement is a completely personal choice. If you want to keep your ceremony as a true elopement (no guests, officiant only) and you’re having some feelings about leaving out family and friends, consider having a small gathering when you’re back home to celebrate with them.

Adventure Elopement Enhancements - Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Once you’ve checked your boxes and determined location and the basics, weaving elements of tradition into your elopement shouldn’t be off the table. It’s your experience to enrich how you please. Maybe you are saying those bible verses and honoring family…. but you’ve traded church for a rainforest and roses for hibiscus leis. Work with your vendors to make sure any little traditions you want to keep are incorporated into the day. Adventure elopement shouldn’t be about tossing aside anything that isn’t meaningful to you, it should be about the enhancing of what is.

Adventure Elopement Session in Kauai