When we were planning our honeymoon, we knew we wanted to go somewhere easy to get to from California (where we live), and somewhere beachy, but where we also had the option to be adventurous and not just lounge by the pool.  So we chose two islands in Hawaii – Kauai for our adventurous side, and Maui for some R&R.


One of the very best things we did in planning our wedding was setting up a honeymoon registry. We used the site Buy Our Honeymoon (don’t worry, that title doesn’t show up in the web address when you set up your site). How it works is that you set up items or experiences for your guests to buy you on a personalized website, and the money goes into your paypal account. In our case, instead of asking people to donate to our plane tickets or hotel rooms, we asked for specific experiences we wanted to have for (i.e.“Snorkeling tour in the Molokini Crater, Maui”), and items we would need to enjoy them (i.e. “snorkeling gear for two”). We included a great range of gifts, covering everything from drinks by the pool, to bigger ticket items like a zipline tour or luau show. With each listed gift, we included information about the restaurant, tour company, or place that we wanted to visit, and included a link to a website with more information if there was one. Then, while in Hawaii, we took pictures doing each activity we were gifted, and later included the pictures with our thank you notes. It really turned out to be a win-win situation – we got to have the honeymoon vacation that we never could have afforded on our own, and our guests got to give us a gift that they felt invested in and that they knew we would enjoy and remember forever.

Now for the vacation details! Two days after our wedding, we flew directly to Kauai, where we stayed at the Westin Princeville resort.



The views from our room

I absolutely loved this hotel. It is set up as suites and it’s really comfortable and private. It’s also right down the road from (and owned by the same company as) the St. Regis Priceville resort, which is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. If you go to Kauai, you must not miss brunch at the St. Regis (another gift from our registry!).


See what I mean?  The view overlooking Hanalei Bay is incredible.


And you can surf there, too!


Kauai is known for being the most naturally preserved of the Hawaiian islands, and if you visit, I highly recommend you take the time to hike the Napali Coast, visit the Queen’s Baths, and take in the views of the taro fields in Hanalei.

The Napali Coast hike we did took about 3-4 hours round trip, and it was slippery and a bit treacherous, but really rewarding and the views were breathtaking.


The Queen’s Baths are natural pools in lava formations! Be careful though, there are certain times of the year when they are unsafe for swimming.



Make sure to try a taro smoothie in Hanalei!


Through our registry, we also received gifts of a zipline tour with Princeville Ranch Adventures, and a mountain tubing trip with Kauai Backcountry Adventures.  Both were really thrilling and such fun activities to do together! Mountain tubing is essentially like taking a ride in an inner tube down a “lazy river” type maze of old irrigation lines and caves carved into the valleys of Kauai. Great views and the safety helmets and gloves you have to wear for mountain tubing make for hilarious pictures.



For the second half of our honeymoon, we took a short flight over to Maui, where we stayed at the Sheraton in Kaanapali. Maui is much more resort-centric than Kauai, and the Sheraton is perfect because it has a fantastic location on the main stretch of beach, and a poolside bar where you can watch the traditional cliff diving ceremony at Black Rock every night at sunset while enjoying your happy hour mai-tais.



The view from our room at the Sheraton on Maui

One experience that you cannot miss if you visit Maui is taking a Blue Water Rafting snorkeling tour to the Molokini Crater. It’s a smaller tour than most (around 15 people), and it includes an exhilarating ride on a blue water raft around the lava-cratered coast of Maui, and then snorkeling outside and inside the crater. It was the bluest and clearest water I’ve ever seen, and really exciting to be inside a real crater! The snorkeling was great too – lots of colorful fish, some sea turtles, and we got lucky and happened upon a pod of spinner dolphins, too!


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Another must see is the Road to Hana. The drive is long, but the waterfalls are gorgeous and the black sand beach is so cool!


We also got to go parasailing with UFO thanks to a registry gift, and although I was scared at first, it was much more peaceful up there than I could have imagined.


Maui is also the place to get a spa treatment or a couple’s massage – put that one on your honeymoon registry for sure!


Finally, on our last night, we saw a luau show at the Old Lahaina Luau. I was worried that the luau would be cheesy like several others I had witnessed at hotels, but this one was completely different. It is run by a dance company, and feels much more authentic than others. It’s set right on the shore with a beautiful view of the ocean, and you sit on pillows on the ground at tables of eight. The food was unexpectedly tasty, and it’s open bar with all sorts of tropical cocktails as well. The dancing and the outfits were beautiful, and it was just a perfect way to end our trip.


My husband, getting “lei-ed”

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I had such a wonderful experience with the honeymoon registry, and I would highly suggest it to anyone out there planning a wedding. The experiences we had on our honeymoon were the best wedding presents of all, and we are so thankful to all of our family and friends for giving us the vacation of our dreams!

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Photos are by Ashley and Brian

Ms Gingham says: “It’s such a great idea to get honeymoon experiences as wedding gifts. Sure beats the old kitchen clock or blender! Thanks to Ashley and Brian for sharing their honeymoon with us.”

Click here to see Ashley and Brian’s San Francisco wedding story.

Polka Dot Honeymoons Directory Mid Banner

Outdoor Hepburn at Hepburn

After having our two-day wedding in October, we chose to hold off going on our honeymoon straight after the wedding. We chose to do this for a couple of reasons, one was that we decided it was better, financially to wait for the next year to go. The main one, however, was that during the wedding preparations we just could not decide where we wanted to go. January came and it had been three months after our wedding! When we still could not decide where to go for our honeymoon, we came up with the idea that we should take a mini-honeymoon. So we decided to go to Daylesford for an overnight trip on the 29th January 2011.

We stayed at Hepburn at Hepburn. It is a fantastic place albeit quite isolated. We definitely enjoyed the quiet though. We had a little trouble finding it at first. But once we were there, we knew we would love this place!

Outdoor Hepburn at Hepburn Road trip

Outdoor Hepburn at Hepburn

This accommodation is made up of 14 stand-alone villas each named with special names like Desire, Dreaming, Envy and so on. We stayed at Villa No. 9 which is also known as Mystery.

No. 9 - Mystery

These villas are conveniently located near several places of interests, one of which is the Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa which is situated just opposite the villas. Even though we decided not to visit on this trip it is so close that you could easily make this part of your stay if you wanted.


Within each villa itself, there is so much luxury to enjoy. The first thing I did when we arrived was start snapping pictures of the amazing decor. The villa is decorated with clean and minimalistic glass and mirrors that made the space look more luxurious. Yes, the bathroom is encased within glass walls, but there is the option of closing it off with curtains. The tub itself is to die for!




Who can resist complimentary hamper of local produce?

Complimentary local produce

Complimentary local produce

Having a kitchen within the villa meant that we could cook our own romantic dinner. We brought our wedding champagne with us that was given to us by our wedding venue and which we hadn’t opened yet. It took us three months to find time to have a mini-honeymoon, so it was only fitting that we popped open our wedding champagne at the same time. We cooked our own pasta for dinner and for breakfast we had pancakes.


Home made pasta Strawberry


The next day, we reluctantly left our gorgeous accommodation and ventured out around Daylesford itself. We went to The Convent Gallery. The Convent Gallery was a convent which was converted into four levels of art gallery. The gallery included contemporary artwork as well as historical items from way back when. The place itself included a chapel and is apparently a wedding venue too.

The Convent - Daylesford

The Convent signage

The Convent The convent gallery

We then went to Wombat Hill Botanical Garden. We took the scenic drive all the way up where the lookout is located and then walked around the gardens. It was a 40 degree day, so unfortunately, we did not stay for very long.

Wombat's Hill Lookout Walking along Lake Daylesford

Walking at Wombat's Hill

Even though we have visited Daylesford before, we had never been to Lake Daylesford. So this time, we made sure we went. We took a walk along the ‘Peace Mile’ which is a walking path that encircles the lake.

Lake Daylesford

Lake Daylesford

Even though this is not our real honeymoon, our mini honeymoon was great. We enjoyed the scenery and it was a fantastic way to spend time together after the wedding and real life. Of course, we are still planning for our real honeymoon and have even decided where we want to go! Of course I’ll be writing a post about it so stay tuned!

Photos by Jen and Tony

Ms Gingham says: “This might become the new fashion … a honeymoon rehearsal! I like the sound of that! Looking forward to reading about the real honeymoon. Thanks to Jen and Tony for sharing their story.”

Click here to read all about Jen and Tony’s wedding story.

A sweet and funny video today from Natalie and Luke at beautiful Hayman Island, part of the Whitsunday Islands, off the Queensland coast. Aqua blue waters, palm trees, sunny days – perfect for a honeymoon!

Natalie tells us: ‘My husband and I got married on the eighth of January this year and honeymooned on the beautiful Hayman Island. It was just perfect for what we were after. Plenty of relaxation but there were also loads of activities at our fingertips if we were ever at risk of getting bored. We also liked that it was the kind of place we would only go for a very special occasion – so we felt very spoilt! Just before our wedding I purchased a zumi digital camera that we used for our wedding video so I brought it along on the honeymoon and captured this…’

The Honeymooners from Natalie Fairchild on Vimeo.