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)
Okay, after all this island talk and planning, are you ready to elope? Because I’m booking a trip there as I type this out. Who’s coming with?
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