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Our Hawaiian Honeymoon

Now that I’ve shared about our wedding in California (which you can read about here), I finally get to share about our honeymoon! We originally wanted to have a honeymoon in Thailand but decided to put it off because we had a stop over in Honolulu, Hawaii on our way back home to New Zealand from California. 

As part of our wedding gift we asked my dad for two excursions in Hawaii. We used Get Your Guide to help us find activities that we wanted to do. I had never used Get Your Guide before but it ended up being an amazing experience. They have all different options for around the world! We looked at reviews and prices and picked two of our favorites which I’ll share more about below. We also asked for money towards brewery hopping and gift cards to local restaurants in the area we were staying! If you’re wanting to ask for money towards your honeymoon asking for things like gift cards or actual activities you can do is a great way for a guest to give you something to contribute that isn’t just necessarily money. 

Throughout the blog, feel free to click on the images to see them larger.

Some of the links included in this blog are commissioned links. This means I may earn a small commission when you use them. I cannot see who purchases what and it doesn’t cost you anything to click on them.

We decided to stay in an Airbnb close to the city (well, in the city) which had a pool, sauna, and jacuzzi. It was way less expensive and actually look nicer than the hotels that we would have stayed at. It was nice to be able to have a fridge and ability to cook if we wanted. The view was insanely beautiful! It ended up working out perfectly for us and helped us save money while still getting that luxury feel and being close to everything. Here’s some pictures from our Airbnb:

We got to stay in Honolulu for about five days! If you’re thinking about going to Honolulu for your honeymoon here are some of our suggestions and things we did while we were there!

We split up our excursions over the course of a couple days so that we had time to relax, sleep in, enjoy the pool, enjoy the beach, and have time to walk around the city. Our first excursion was our full day activity! We did the Oahu 120 mile full day tour including Dole Plantation. It was absolutely amazing and I highly recommend it! I did a lot of research before choosing out our activities in Honolulu. This one was incredible value for money! The tour lasted about 10 hours and took us all across the island. The driver, who hosted us for the day, talked the entire time (in a good way)! He was funny, informative, and helpful! We made several stops along the way including a beautiful look out at Hanauma Bay, a rural Hawaiian tourist shop with beautiful outfits, drove through Kahala District (which is where a bunch of mansions are), the Byodo-In temple, Kualoa Ranch (where several movies are filmed), a macadamia nut place (where we got to try all sorts of delicious stuff) and, of course, the Dole Plantation!

For our other excursion, we did the 3-Hour Waikiki Snorkel & Sailing Adventure with Lunch! Again, good value for money especially considering what we saw!! We got tons of drinks on the boat (after snorkeling), a buffet lunch, snorkeling gear to borrow, a beautiful boat ride, and the staff was super fun! We even got to see a pod of mother dolphins with their brand new babies!! I had no idea that dolphins could be so small! They were easily smaller than my forearm! They were flying up in the air and doing all sorts of turns and dances for us! It was adorable!! Then, we got to get in the water and see the turtles! There were so many!! It was such an amazing and beautiful experience.

Other than our excursions, we went shopping, went to a comedy show, went to the pool, and went to the beach! I pretty much lived in one of my three swimsuits from Kayo Collective – if you are New Zealand-based or can get a Kayo suit shipped to you, do it!! So comfortable and flattering! I also re-used the hat that I got from Wedding Apparel New Zealand (also pictured in my bachelorette party blog here). It was perfect for all of our activities!

Some other suggestions and things to do in Honolulu:

  1. Like I said we wanted to do some brewery hopping which we ended up doing after our sea turtle snorkeling adventure! There are tons of breweries in the area and all were really good (we went to every one)! Some of our favorites included: Waikiki Brewing Company, Maui Brewing, Beer Lab HI, Aloha Beer Company, and Village Bottle Shop & Tasting Room! 
  2. If you love shopping but still want to feel like you’re in Hawaii, go shopping at the outdoor mall International Market Place right in Waikiki – they even have a live show every night! There are tons of great restaurants and most of them have happy hour.
  3. If you’re not from the States and want to go shopping for items that you might not have in the country you’re from (thinking about you New Zealand and Australia) PLUS you want to experience an extremely large mall, definitely check out Ala Moana! We got coupons for a few free products from Hawaiin Airlines when we landed. 
  4. You don’t need to rent a car! We walked, planned excursions that offered free pick up, took a couple of ubers, and even took a bus. Apparently, renting a car is extremely cheap but parking can be a hassle and theft can be an issue in Honolulu specifically.
  5. Bring an umbrella! It’s a tropical island so even when the sun was out or it was boiling hot, it was still raining!

I hope this helped you get some Hawaii honeymoon inspiration! We’d love to hear about your honeymoon and wedding too. If you’re a bride and would like to be featured on our blog, please fill out this form here

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and join our wedding shopping group here. We can’t wait to see you there!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3 

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Our Wedding Day

Wow! Where do I even begin? I have been anticipating writing this blog for so long. September 14th, 2019 was one of the best days of my life. I had dreamt of it since I was a little girl but had no idea how perfect it could truly be. Being from California but living in New Zealand made it that much more exciting. For those that don’t know, Robbie (my husband) is from New Zealand and I am from the States. We have been living in New Zealand and I planned our wedding from overseas. With family all over the world, it truly was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all of us. We had friends and family traveling from New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Spain, Minnesota, Arizona, Idaho, and more.

I’m going to save all my advice and all the things I learned for a different blog post but I’ll walk you through a little bit about our day. If you want to see where we got all of the beautiful items to help pull together our wedding day, click here. All the images in this blog were taken by Susannah Lynn Photography and edited by me (Mary Taylor Photography). Click on the images to view them larger. 

Some of the links below are commissioned links. This means I may earn a small commission when you use these links. It doesn’t cost you anything and I cannot see who purchases what. 

We started our mornings in separate locations (the guys got ready at an airbnb and the girls got ready at my mom and step-dad’s house). The first vendor to arrive were our videographers from Hart Marketing! They had already been to see the guys! They were so flexible about going back and forth to capture exactly what they needed. Hair and makeup by Peretti Hill Glam Squad showed up a bit early just to make sure I would be done on time! I started to feel like everything was coming together. My artist, Saundra, was completely on top of it! She even allowed my mom to add on hair last minute! I couldn’t believe it! Our last vendor to arrive was the amazing Susannah from Susannah Lynn Photography just in time for getting ready images! Susannah and her team captured myself and the girls getting ready as well as the guys getting ready. I loved the moment they captured above of our officiant (one of Robbie’s best friends) trying to puncture a hole in his formal shirt in order to fit the cufflinks! I’m kind of glad I wasn’t there to witness that! 

We also got images of all of the little details throughout the day. As a bride, I put in so much time and effort into picking out everything to make our day special – even the small things. It was so nice to have someone like Susannah noticing those details and photographing them! We absolutely loved the custom ring box we got from AliExpress as well as my beautiful earrings to match my ring. The wood watches were engraved on the back and gifted to the groomsmen to wear on the wedding day!

She also captured this beautiful bracelet that Robbie’s mom gifted to me and the blue handkerchief that my aunt surprised me with at my bridal shower. It happened to my grandmother’s before she passed away and although I wasn’t going to participate in “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,” I ended up bringing this handkerchief with me as my something blue on our wedding day!

I love getting to see the behind the scenes including gift givings, my dad seeing Robbie for the first time, the girls and I drinking champagne, and me seeing my dad for the first time. Doing a first look with your dad is super special!

It’s easy to forget these moments when you look back but to have images of everything means the world to us. I truly feel like I can relive the day just by looking at these images. Especially the images of us getting ready since we weren’t there together in the moment! Like this moment of Robbie giving our dads the custom wallets he bought them!

They also captured me giving my mom Pounamu (New Zealand Greenstone) earrings. This gift was SUPER special to me and not many know the story behind them.  I had been searching for months for the perfect thing to gift my mom. I knew I wanted it to represent New Zealand as we would both now be a part of New Zealand forever. 

In order to make sure we had time to spend with friends and family during our wedding, we did a first look! Honestly, in terms of the timeline, it the best decision we made! Although the boys were a bit late that meant I had time for some portraits of myself! My photographer and coordinators kept saying that I had planned our timeline perfectly and even had extra time for more images and the slight slip up of the guys being late. If you want to see our timeline check out my previous blog about timelines here.

Once Robbie arrived we got him into position with his back facing me. Unlike most first looks, Susannah wanted me positioned further away from Robbie so he could really absorb the full look! Seeing his face light up as he turned around was absolutely incredible. It was so nice to have just a moment to ourselves before the craziness of 80 guests!

After our first look, we got to see our entire wedding party and our families! One of my favorite prompts from our wedding party images was “walk as if you’re drunk!” We all laughed but the images actually turned out really good! I had a super hard time finding dresses that I wanted for my bridesmaids but when I found Azazie, I knew they were the one! They had every size (even custom sizing), shape, color, and style of dress and tie! They even had matching bow ties for Robbie and his nephews! I was so happy with the price, colors, and quality! If you’re a current bride or just looking for a dress or matching tie, I highly recommend Azazie!

I can’t imagine if we had to have done all pictures after the ceremony! Getting family pictures was so important to us because of everyone living so far away. I’m honestly so in love with how these images turned out! I tried to come up with every variation of image possible and I think it worked!

Our ceremony was absolutely perfect! I know I might be biased but it was a great combination of funny, serious, sentimental and unique! Some things that made our wedding different included our bridesmaids walking down the aisle with lanterns instead of bouquets, I walked down the aisle with both my parents (and again, no bouquet), we performed a hand ceremony during the wedding ceremony, and didn’t have our wedding party stand at the “alter” with us. As I walked down the aisle, my Godfather, Art, and his wife, Marilyn, sang “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley! It meant so much to hear their beautiful voices as I walked down the aisle. Fun fact: they also sang at my mom’s wedding when she married my step-dad!!

Our officiant, Robbie‘s best friend Quentin, did an amazing job!! I can’t wait to share the video which has some snippets of our ceremony and wedding in real time! Look out for an update to this blog for our wedding video. You can also watch it “live” with us at our second reception here in New Zealand on December 14th (if you’re in the US it will be December 13th). We will be having a viewing “party” on our Facebook page – just give us a like so you don’t miss it! 

One thing we made sure to do was look out at everyone. It’s hard to remember to take a second to breathe and see all your loved ones who are there to celebrate you! It was such an amazing feeling! 

We wanted to incorporate something within our ceremony that we could remember for the rest of our lives. Something physical we could take home and keep forever. We thought about doing a sand ceremony but when I was researching officiant speeches and other things to do, I read a hand ceremony that I fell in love with. The night before our wedding, during our rehearsal, we made a sculpture of our hands which we then displayed at the ceremony and reception. Our bridesmaid, Michelle, and our groomsmen, Adam, performed our hand ceremony for us! Here’s what they said:

Michelle: Today, as you face each other and hold hands, I want to remind you of the gift these hands are. These are the hands of your best friend, young, strong, and full of love for you. These are the hands that are holding yours on your wedding day as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow and forever. These are the hands that will work alongside yours as together you build your future. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch will comfort you like no other. These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief temporarily comes your way. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes, tears of sorrow and tears of joy.

Adam: These are the hands that will give you support and encouragement to chase down your dreams. These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times. These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. These are the hands that will lift your chin and brush your cheek as they raise your face to look into eyes that are filled with overwhelming love for you. And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

And after our ceremony we took a few last-minute group photos including photos with our friends! I definitely recommend doing this! It was so much fun and such a good memory of who was there to celebrate with us!

Now, for the party! We did a grand entrance with our wedding party and went straight into our first dance. Our first dance was to the song “This Is It” by Scotty McCreery. After our first dance, so many people told us that it looked like we had practiced a lot and choreographed our dance. Truth be told, we had never actually practiced!

And it was also our first time seeing our reception venue set up! It looked better than I ever imagined! The team at Shadowridge Golf Club used my drawing diagrams, explanations, and all our decor to make my dreams come true! I 100% trusted that they would make it look beautiful and they did just that!! 

I LOVED how our centerpieces and cake table turned out! Wedding Apparel NZ did an incredible job with our custom wine labels which we used as table identifiers. Each place was somewhere in the world that meant a lot to us. We even included a little snippet on why it was important! We also had custom luggage tags for each guest to take home. They were a HUGE hit! 

After our first dance and some food, it was time for speeches! Everyone did such an incredible job – even if some of the speeches were slightly embarrassing (but that’s what makes it fun right?!). They had the whole room laughing!!