Haleakala Elopement Photographer
I’m Lucy – your colorful and excitable Haleakala elopement photographer! I love this incredibly diverse and one of a kind National Park on Maui’s east side. Born out of a volcano, the lava-created landscape is jaw dropping as it is sacred. You can greet the sun from the top of the volcano’s summit. Explore the vents, lava flows, and unique geography and wildlife. Feel the spray of the ocean pounding the cliffs and hike into the jungle to waterfalls and epic sights. Haleakala is a fabulous place to elope in the great outdoors. Join me as I take you on a tour of these places and hopefully inspire you to elope here!
When to elope in Haleakala
Most months and seasons will be comfortable in this tropical island. Temperatures peak between 75 and 85 degrees at sea level year round – lower up at the summit. July, August and December are the busiest months for tourists in Hawaii. Consider choosing a shoulder season, like January, February, and September to November. Especially avoid major holidays like Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Because most visitors to the park are already on vacation, there may be no significant advantage to eloping on a weekend. However, the best times to elope at Haleakala are early morning and late afternoon/sunset. There are many sunrise tours and tickets, leaving the sunset hours quite empty in the park.
How to elope at Haleakala National Park
To elope in Haleakala, you must choose one of the 7 designated ceremony sites. Before of after that, you can enjoy the park’s many sights to take photos and enjoy the unique scenery. You must obtain a ceremony permit from the National Park to hold any wedding ceremony within the park. The permit to elope here is just $150 and you can start the process and learn more here. Make sure to apply for your ceremony permit in advance, and get your sunrise reservations as early as possible if you want a morning elopement. Of course, do not expect to bring an entire ballroom outdoors. No litter, confetti, dove or butterfly release, amplified music, or stepping off trail is permitted.
How to elope ethically in Hawaii
Hawaii is a sacred place. The history of Hawaii, and the USA’s colonization of the islands, is a brutal but important read. When visiting the islands, it’s vital to understand and practice being Pono. Pono means putting your innate conscience first. Always deciding to do the right thing in terms of self, others, and the environment. It is an understanding that we all have, akin to following your gut feeling. We must always tread lightly and with respect. Getting married in the wild comes with other conscious decisions to leave the land better than we found it. No confetti, litter, noise, or other impact to the land shall be allowed. I have taken the Hawaiian Pono Pledge. I hope that you will also take this pledge when you choose to elope on Hawaii.
Getting a Hawaii Marriage License
Luckily, it costs just $65 to get your Hawaiian Marriage license. You don’t need witnesses, or even to be USA citizens to marry in Hawaii! You can apply for your Hawaii Marriage license online here up to 1 year in advance. Then pick it up together, up to 30 days before your ceremony at the Maui department of health.
Do we need an officiant to elope in Haleakala?
The answer is technically no, but it will be easier if you do! Hawaii’s process for performing marriages is more complicated than most. While they do recognize those who are ordained through online officiant services, someone must register with the state of Hawaii before being able to perform marriages. The process will be best handled by someone navigates Hawaii’s system every day. Professional officiants in Maui that are experienced with elopements work hard to give you an authentic experience by incorporating native Hawaiian traditions. I definitely recommend hiring an officiant in Maui. I’ll send you my list of recommended officiants after booking.
How to plan a Haleakala elopement
Let’s break down the process of planning so you can see how easy, straightforward, and drama-free your elopement planning can be.
- Choose an elopement date or date range
- Book a flight to Kahului, Maui and reserve a rental car
- Find & book your Haleakala elopement photographer who will guide you with everything else
- Make a plan with your photographer for the best site & time for you. Apply for the National Park ceremony permit.
- Book an officiant, accommodation, and any optional additions like flowers or beauty services.
- Get your Hawaii marriage license and grab your approved permit and you’re good to elope!
Haleakala’s two districts
Haleakala is separated in two distinct districts. The Summit district is the Volcano and all its vast views. The Kipahulu district has the coastal cliffs, jungles, ocean and waterfalls. The two districts are not connected by road within the park. You MUST exit the park, and drive from 2.5 to 3.5 hours to visit the other district. It would be tough to visit both districts in the same day, so plan to choose one or plan a two day adventure. Both districts have picnic shelters, bathrooms, and hiking trails.
Haleakala’s Summit District
The Summit district is up the world’s steepest road. No joke. In just 37 miles, the road climbs from nearly sea level up to over 10,000 feet. On the way up or down, don’t miss a stop at Hosmer Grove if you’re a nature lover. While the eucalyptus trees aren’t native to Maui, the forest is gorgeous. The Hawaiian i’iwi bird, a bright red honeycreeper, will make your heart flutter when you see it. At the top of the winding road, the payoffs are huge. The land here may look tough, with its black and brown lava rock crumble substrate. But it’s actually an extremely fragile ecosystem. The Haleakala Silversword is found nowhere else on earth, so tread carefully here! You will feel like you are walking on the moon in this unique place.
Summit District Elopement Locations
There are five elopement sites in the Summit district, and most overlook the Haleakala crater. You can elope at the Visitor Center Overlook, which is fenced. Red Hill is the busiest area, and where you’re most likely to see a dramatic cloud inversion. Pā Ka’oao hill is my favorite location, where a short spiral rock staircase takes you to a cleared area overlooking the vast volcanic area. Kalahaku lookout is a great second choice, but it is also fenced. And the covered Leleiwi Overlook location has a black cliff and is reached after a half mile hike.
Sample Timeline for a Summit District Elopement
6:00 Sunrise first look & portraits at the summit of Haleakala Crater
7:00 Oatmeal & fruit parfaits for breakfast!
8:00 Hike up Pa Ka’oao together and say your vows overlooking the vast crater.
9:00 Venture into the crater on foot. Soak in the one of kind experience.
12:00 Picnic lunch under the shade of eucalyptus trees at Hosmer Grove
2:00 Zipline tour or Horseback ride
5:00 Fancy dinner at a beachfront resort
6:30 Sunset walk on the beach
Kipahulu District Elopement Locations
This coastal area of Haleakala National Park can only be reached after your choice of long and winding road. Either the popular Road to Hana or “the back way” around the volcano. I’ve done both ways and I’d be happy to let you know which one I prefer. This area is not for swimming, so don’t be fooled by the gorgeous waters. The pounding surf is best enjoyed from the cliffs. The short, coastal hike to the Pools of Oheo / Seven Sacred Pools will make you feel like you’re in paradise. This is a great spot to stop for photos after your elopement at the nearby Kuloa point or Kipahulu campground. These Haleakala elopement locations are best for couples who want an ocean background. Some hiking is required to get to the coast from the parking area.
Important note: The Kipahulu District parking area closes at 4pm and it is gated. There is no entry or exit after 4pm, so plan for an early visit and try to stay nearby if you can!
Pipiwai Trail & Waterfalls
While you can’t have your ceremony on any trail in this National Park, you can and should include the Pipiwai trail hike in your elopement day. Culminating in the incredible Waimoku falls, this trail is enough to get you sweating without taking all day. The boardwalk through the Bamboo forest was a huge highlight for me. Elsewhere on the coast, you can enjoy a black pebble beach and a waterfall that tumbles directly into the ocean.
Sample elopement timeline at Kipahulu
6:00 Wake up in Hana and get fresh smoothies
7:00 Get dressed together in your Airbnb
8:00 Hike to Red Sand Beach for portraits. Read letters from loved ones on the beach.
10:00 Get to Kipahulu district and check out the Seven Sacred Pools
11:00 Charcuterie lunch at a shady picnic area under a banyan tree
12:30 Walk out to the ocean cliffs and have your ceremony at Kuloa Point
1:30 Begin the Pipiwai Hike to Waimoku falls. Enjoy the Bamboo forest and the stunning waterfall.
4:00 Exit the park and head to dinner in Hana. Get Hawaiian Shave ice.
More Maui Elopement Locations
There are tons of incredible places to elope on Maui that are outside of the National Park borders. I’ve created a map with dozens of cool pinpointed locations for every kind of couple hoping to elope on Maui. Jungles, sunsets, beaches, cliffs, ruins, unique rocks, palm trees, bamboo forests, remote hikes, waterfall valleys and more await you. Purchase the map for photographers or couples looking to elope!
The Road to Hana
One of Maui’s most famous attractions is the scenic Road to Hana. Hana is a town on the northeast side of Maui, and it isn’t located in Haleakala National Park. The point of this road is NOT the destination – it’s the journey. Plan to make many stops to see the waterfalls, hike the trails, and taste the local foods. Be cautious when driving as the road is extremely narrow and twisty. Pro tip: Plan to rent a narrow vehicle rather than one with 4 wheel drive for best results!
Best stops on the road to Hana: King’s Falls, Twin Falls, Wailua Lookout, Waikani falls, Pua’a ka’a, Nahiku, Hana Lava Tube, Wai ‘anapanapa State Park, and Red Sand Beach.
How much time do we need to Elope in Haleakala?
You’ve come all the way to Maui, and chances are this is a big bucket list destination for you! To really see and experience the best of this park, you will need to plan to spend a full day eloping or sightseeing here. Because the two districts are quite a few hours’ drive from each other, if you plan to see both you’ll need to plan multiple days of adventuring here. Don’t try to cram a lot of awesomeness into just 2 or 4 hours. You’ll thank me for saving you the dress of watching the clock on what is supposed to be your favorite day ever!
Where should we stay in Maui?
While Maui isn’t a huge island, where you stay is really dependent on where you plan to elope! Staying close to your destination will save on time and gas money. For elopements at the Summit of Haleakala, look into accommodation in Makawao or Kula. For the jungles of Kipahulu, the best place to stay is Hana. If you’re resort people, look no further than Kihei on the south coast. Lahaina and Kanapali have the best sunsets on the west side and offer mostly condos. Accommodation will be expensive, but less expensive than a 6 or 8 hour rental of a wedding venue! View my list of totally rad Airbnbs on Maui to get inspired.
How much does it cost to Elope at Haleakala?
Besides the $65 marriage license and $150 ceremony permit, the cost of your elopement in Haleakala varies greatly. I will say that Hawaii is one of the most expensive places I’ve ever visited. Accommodation, flights, rental car and photography will take up the biggest part of your budget. There are a few thrifty ways to save on elopement costs, like getting your garments secondhand or splitting an airbnb with friends. Here is a budget breakdown for a hypothetical 2 person elopement:
Maui, Haleakala Elopement Budget
$1200 Round trip flights to Maui for 2
$1200 to $5200 Accommodation for 1 week
$400 to $900 Rental Car for transportation
$5000 to $9000 for a great Haleakala elopement photographer
$65 Hawaii Marriage License
$150 National Park Ceremony Permit
$400 Optional Florist
$400 to $1000 Hawaiian Officiant
$500 to $2500 Adventure experiences – zipline, snorkeling tour, sunrise bike
=$8,500 to $20,000 total.
My Maui Elopement Photography Packages
I offer both Haleakala elopement photography or All inclusive elopements for a one stop shop option. There are no travel fees, download fees, watermarks or other hidden fees. These prices are for 2024.
2 Day elopements in Maui – $9900
1.5 Days of elopement photography – $7900
1 Full day adventure elopement in Maui – $6900
What to wear when Eloping on Maui?
I’ll always be the first to say you can wear whatever you want when you elope. But I do have some tips and guidance! These islands are HOT and if you’re eloping near the beach, choose lighter fabrics for your garments. Linen and cotton shirts and pants are excellent options, and don’t feel obligated to wear a suit or even a jacket. For those wearing dresses, light lace and sleek lightweight silk will be your best friends. If you’re eloping near lava rock or at the summit, be careful of fabrics that snag easily – if you’re worried about such things – like bell sleeves or lots of layers of tulle. View my full What to Wear guide here.
Do we have to hike to have a Haleakala Elopement?
Hell no! While many couples choose to include their love of hiking on their elopement day, plenty don’t! You can drive right up to many of the elopement locations in Maui and at the summit district of Haleakala National Park. I welcome all fitness levels and I plan elopement days that reflect what you two love doing together – not what instagram might make you think you “have” to do.
About Lucy – Haleakala Elopement Photographer
I’m a nomadic and colorful Haleakala elopement photographer with an obsession for mountains, hiking, and my cats. My photography style emphasizes the epic landscape of your dreams and the authentic moments that make you two.. well, you two! I love my job and my nature-loving clients. Haleakala is an extremely diverse National Park unlike any other. Maybe I’ll see you there!
I offer full day, 1.5 day and 2 day elopement photography in Haleakala National Park and the wild lands of Maui. See my pricing and package details here. I would love to chat with you and help see if an elopement with me is what you’ve been dreaming of. Get in touch below!
Here’s a preview of my interactive Haleakala elopement locations map for my booked clients:
I created this map as a virtual tour of Haleakala National Park with color photos I’ve taken of each place. So you can see all the great spots without leaving your desk. If you’re planning from afar, this is a visual key to picking out the elopement spot that works for you. Details like what seasons and time of day are best for each location are included. So this will help you plan your activities, accommodations, and your day’s itinerary. Lastly, it’s easy to have a great backup location picked out with this map in front of you. Having that Plan B in your back pocket will keep your planning stress-free! Get access to the map by making me your Haleakala elopement photographer.
Ready to get the map & start planning your Haleakala elopement photography with me? Contact me!
See my other Hawaiian Island guides for more:
Kauai Elopement Locations
See my map and guide for eloping on the Garden Isle: Kauai, Hawaii. Those tropical gem of an island is a special paradise for hikers and beachgoers alike.
Hawaii Big Island Elopement Locations
My map and guide for eloping on the Big Island of Hawaii. In this guide I highlight the locations inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and the beaches & rainforests of the Kona & Hilo sides.