June 2, 2021
The Big Island of Hawai’i is magical, to say the least. Okay, that’s a complete understatement. There is no place in the world like Hawai’i. Every island has something incredible to offer, but there’s a special place in my heart for the Big Island. So obviously this would be a top place to elope or get married if I do say so myself. There are 13 different climate zones in the world and the Big Island has 11 of those zones. The diverse landscape offers deserts, jungles, plains, mountains, and even snow! You can literally get married at the top of a volcano (Mauna Kea) and be down at a beach an hour later. It’s wild! Also, I just feel so close to God in Hawaii. The beautiful creation and landscapes accompanied by the kind people of the island are enough to make me buy a one-way ticket and never come back!
Places to elope on the big island of Hawaii (although you could pretty much pull over anywhere on any road and it would be the most freaking magical place to elope/get married):
It’s important to note that Leave No Trace is imperative at any destination, but especially for Hawaii. Many spots on the island are sacred land and off-limits except to the Native Hawaiians. To ensure that we do the right thing, I work closely with the permit office to make sure we’re keeping Hawaii beautiful and respected!
Okay, okay, let’s dive into the good stuff.
There are only 4 Green Sand Beaches on the PLANET. One of them is right in Hawaii! You can either hitch a ride or walk 3 miles to get to this hidden beach. The green sand comes from fragmented Olive crystals. The waves are pretty powerful here, or at least for me. It’s located near the most southern point of the island and the United States so you can go cliffing jumping afterward.
1.5 hours from Kona
This is THE black sand beach. It’s my favorite, it’s more secluded and there’s plenty of rope swings. The beach stretches far and depending on the time of day, you could be the only person there. It’s a steep but short mile hike down to the valley. There’s usually a cute fruit stand open down the road where you can get the freshest coconut to drink from.
1.5-hour drive from Kona.
At over 13,000 feet the views from the top of Mauna Kea are awe-inspiring. Arrive at sunrise or sunset and see the golden hues paint the landscape below. To get to the top you’ll need an AWD vehicle (most rental car companies on the island don’t allow you to go to the summit). Thankfully there are a few Jeep rental companies that help out with this excursion. Minimal hiking required to get ridiculous views.
1.5-hour drive from Kona.
Lava gets broken down into fragments by trillions of waves over the years to create beautiful black sand beaches around Hawaii. Punaluʻu is one of those beaches. It’s an easy accessible beach that requires a short walk from the parking lots. Punaluʻuis located between Volcano Village and Naahelu on your way to Volcanoes National Park. Many Honu (sea turtles) can be seen basking on the beach at various times of the day. They’re magnificent creatures.
1 hr 45-minute drive from Kona.
*Not my photo. Photo credit: James Brandon Photography
There are plenty of waterfalls to be seen on the Big Island, but Rainbow Falls is one of the best. What’s so great is that you can get as close as possible to the water, um yeah like IN IT. Located near Hilo, its gets its name because of the rainbows created by the mist in the morning. To get to the falls it’s a fairly short hike.
1.5 drive from Kona.
Because getting married in a crater of a volcano is a total baller move…The three most popular and best places to get married in the park are Kīlauea Caldera or Kīlauea Iki Crater, or forested areas like Kīpukapuaulu. There are plenty of other hikes in the park that will take you to gorgeous locations. To top off the day, I would take a helicopter tour and see the lava flow from above!
2-hour drive from Kona.
Other beaches to elope on the Big Island of Hawaii
To get a marriage license for the Big Island, the fee is $60.00. You can either pay online or in-person. The marriage license expires 30 days from and including the date of issuance, after which it automatically becomes null and void-so let’s watch out for that. Thankfully there’s no waiting period after the license is approved, meaning you can elope ASAP.
But if this is too much of a hassle, you can always go to the courthouse beforehand and make it official so you don’t have to worry about it on your elopement day!
*To get married at any of these locations requires a permit.
A wedding dress you don’t mind getting wet 😉
A pair of sunglasses
Hiking gears (shoes, outfit)
Jacket (it gets cold at the top of Mauna Kea!)
Literally whenever. Hawaii has the best weather around. But more superficially summers are hot and calmer weatherwise, but there are more tourists. In the winter months there tends to be more rain, but fewer tourists. I’ve been to the Big Island in January, March, and May, and let me tell you all times were perfect.
(most of these are super cool tree houses, because why not go all out???)
The Fall’s at Reed Island (Psst get married at a private waterfall!)
Dome House (awesome for stargazing)
Treehouse near Volcanoes National Park!
Jungle Cottage (ummm outdoor shower? OKKK)
Tiny House (the picture of the stars got me)
Tropical Treehouse (the palm tree wallpaper though)
Another treehouse (the view from the balcony!!!! OMG)
Glass Pyramid (the title will peak anyone’s curiosity)
My Hawaii packages start at $3,500 and include:
Our first experience working with Alisha was on an elopement styled shoot. I knew from that day on she was going to be the photographer to capture our wedding day. Alisha said "yes" to absolutely every crazy idea and vision I had for our wedding day. She literally hiked miles and woke up before the sun to make it happen. Alisha is completely in her element when photographing, she knows how direct a shoot without being bossy, she captures every angle without being in the way and doesn't make you feel like you're even behind the camera. Alisha pours her entire self into every shoot she does, she doesn't stop until everything is perfect. It put me at ease knowing Alisha was paying such close attention to detail when it came to the location scouting and capturing every single photo imaginable. Working with Alisha was a breeze, she's communicative, fast and detail oriented. Not to mention, an incredible photographer. We were blown away when we got our wedding gallery within a month of our wedding, with over 700 beautiful photos. Our families cried happy tears all over again reliving those memories. If you're wondering, "is it worth it?" The answer is 100% ABSOLUTELY yes, hire Alisha, you won't regret it.
— Katie & Kevin
My husband and I decided to elope after feeling a little overwhelmed with the idea of planning a wedding. , Alisha pitched a lot of ideas based on what we were imagining and they were so killer so it was so hard to pick. She can really zero in on what a couple is all about and plan from there. And all her ideas were incredibly creative and original. On the day of our elopement we were so relaxed. Alisha picked out all the locations including our vow ceremony spot which was beautiful, private and romantic. We literally laughed the whole time and kept repeating "I'm so happy we did this." After the desert ceremony in Death Valley she drove to Vegas with us, waited for us to change into our cool Vegas attire, and carted us all over the strip and downtown to take more fun photos. The photography is beyond remarkable. I mean COME ON. I've never seen more beautiful photos in my entire life. We're so happy to have them to enjoy forever, so so SO worth it. She really puts her heart and soul into this. It actually makes me tear up...We love you Alisha.
— HEATHER & COLIN
Choosing Alisha for our elopement photographer was the absolute best decision we could have made. Bryan and I had a pretty short timeline of only a few weeks until our wedding day so I was not sure if Alisha could make it work, but she went out of her way to travel and make all of the behind the scenes arrangements in advance. She made everything so easy for us leading up to the day helping with park permits, scouting out photo locations, making vendor recommendations, and suggesting fun ideas for the day. As two people who do not feel natural in front of a camera, she made us laugh, have fun, and get out of our shells in a way we could not have expected. From start to finish, our experience with Alisha was so genuine and natural. She is just a joy and a light to be around. On top of that, we were truly blown away when we received our wedding photo gallery. You can feel the emotion, beauty, and love in every single image. Because she took the time to get to know us on a personal level and really understand us as a couple leading up to the wedding, the photos showcase who we are in a real and honest way, and I do not think any other photographer would have been able to do that for us.
— MIRANDA & BRYAN
We absolutely love Alisha! She gave us the best photos EVER! She planned everything to the smallest detail. It was so easy and she made sure we had everything we were looking for. My husband and I even flew back to get wedding photos done! Alisha braved the cold winter for us. We are so thankful to have memories in the best photos ever. I can’t say enough about her. Not only is she an AMAZING photographer but such a good person! We will definitely be having plenty more sessions in our lifetime :)
— danielle & Xavier
My fiancé and I could not feel more fortunate to have crossed paths with Alisha while searching for a photographer for our engagement shoot. Let me tell you, this girl is a GEM. I talked to at least 50 photographers during my search and Alisha is the only one that I felt truly cared about what we wanted. We met up at sunrise on the day of our shoot and I can truly say that it was a flawless experience! My fiancé and I were exhausted and nervous, but immediately upon meeting Alisha, we felt comfortable and excited. Her positive energy is contagious. I tend to be awkward and never know what to do with my hands, but she was so patient and guided us every step of the way, giving us prompts and making us laugh the entire time. It felt like we were leaving the shoot with a new friend. WE ARE OBSESSED WITH OUR PHOTOS. In short, Alisha 10000000% exceeded my very high expectations. She’s incredibly talented, creative, caring and personable. You can tell she has a huge heart and is passionate about what she does.
— LAUREN & NIK
Alisha is the consummate photographer that you want capturing your special day. We used her (twice!) for engagement photos and she was the first we asked to be our wedding photographer. From the moment we engaged her for the big day, she was all about us. From a welcome care package that frankly knew us almost better than we knew us, to her wedding guides, assistance in finding other vendors, and of course her amazing skill behind the camera Alisha was the perfect choice for our wedding photography. On the day of the big event she took great photos and had creative ideas for shoots in and around the venue. She’s given us keepsakes that we are thrilled to treasure forever and proud to frame and hang on the wall. Book her now.
— COLTON & YVETTE
Where do I even start!? Alisha was an absolute dream to work with!!! She was so flexible with us and our last-minute cancellation due to covid. We had originally planned to meet her in Vegas for our anniversary shoot in March and we ended up canceling our trip a week out due to the virus. She was so understanding and even offered to refund our deposit. We knew we still absolutely wanted to shoot with her so we scheduled another trip to Colorado this time and she met us there for an amazing sunrise shoot at Great Sand Dunes Natl Park. The whole experience was incredible and Alisha was so amazing and personable, we felt like we had left and made a new friend! She sent us sooo many sneak peeks just a few days after the shoot and Then probably 100 more photos a few weeks later. They were absolutely stunning. She is easily one of the best humans I’ve ever met and not to mention an extremely talented photographer with a clear passion for her clients and her work! We can’t wait to shoot with her again!
— MIA & FERMIN
I have never done a couples shoot but I fell in love with Alisha's work on social media. I was beyond ecstatic when I found out she was traveling to Minnesota. Where do I begin? From the moment I spoke with Alisha, she easily made me feel comfortable and confident. She responded back to my questions and concerns within a timely manner and was easily accessible. Her talent and passion for photography is truly admirable! It’s so evident that she genuinely cares about each and every couple that she works with. Alisha has a gift for detail and seeing things differently than everyone else. She took some breathtaking pictures that will always have a special place in my heart! Alisha doesn't just take photographs, she creates beautiful works of art that don’t just capture smiles but our souls, and to be a part of her art is an absolute honor. Not only is her work stunning, but she is a great person to be around. She is professional, patient and outgoing and I cannot wait to book with her again! Thanks for the memories, laughs and for creating such an enjoyable experience.
— Miriam & Jaime
Alisha was super professional and friendly throughout the entire process of our engagement shoot. I was super indecisive on where to have our shoot and she gave me multiple choices. She even went to the spot before hand to scope it out for us. My fiancé hates getting pictures taken but he loved natural and fun our experience was. Alisha made us our own playlist to listen to throughout the shoot which made both of us feel super comfortable. We ended having our shoot in Breckenridge and made a weekend out of it. Honestly, one of the most rememberable and amazing weekends we could ask for. Alisha communicated with us throughout everything and was SO fast getting our sneak peak photos and album to us. She even sent us a little gift that we appreciated SO SO much. I would highly recommend Alisha for any photography session whether its an adventure shoot or a wedding. She made everything perfect! 10/10 recommend :)
— GRACE & JAKE