Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
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I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

Packing and shopping for the honeymoon--Advice, please!

We got married at the beginning of this month but took a few weeks to settle in, go back to work etc. before leaving for our honeymoon next week.  8 days on Wakiki Beach with a few trips around the rest of the island and lots of time lounging on a relative's private beach pass.  It's gonna be AWESOME!

Neither my husband nor I has ever been to Hawaii, so we're totally stoked for Oahu.  But I have no idea wha to expect.  I'm a pretty good packer in general, and love to look awesome and fabulous in all the pictures of me taken on vacations, of which I insist there be lots.  I have no problems asking other people to take our picture, and I'm sure the staff at our hotel and other tourist destinations are soooo used to that on Oahu.

But--I have to look great in my eyes, but also not stick out like a giltzy sore thumb.  I don't know what to expect about the local attire.  Flip flops and bikinis all the time?  Or cute dresses and stylish wedges?

Lucky for me, I read this Street Style--Hawaii article from Glamour earlier this summer, of women in Honolulu.  Seems like a blend of casual and chic...
That's quite a range of looks, actually.

Basically, it's my honeymoon--I want to look super fabulous and classy and beautiful and HOT! the whole time.  But, will everyone look at me weird if I look like I'm dressed for LA instead of a laid-back Hawaiian vibe?

Please, if you've been to Honolulu--tell me!  Will I look crazy if I wear these to dinner:
Or these--just got them in dark brown on clearance at JC Penney:
Or these--yikes!

And for my husband, he's been thinking about these LL Bean deck shoes for a while. All leather, a true no-socks sort of shoe.  But will they be too much, too heavy for the Hawaiian tropics?

Any and all advice is very welcome!

No matter what we wear, we are SOOOOO excited for 1+ weeks away from the daily grind, in a new place with lots of quality time together.  We've never had a vacation like this before!  Hey, P.S., anyone up for guest blogging while we're away?  Send me an email.


  1. I was in Hawaii with my college swim team seven years ago (I seriously can't believe it's been that long!). You seem like an off-the-beaten-path kind of a girl, but here's a few tips from what I can remember:
    - Bring shoes and clothes that you don't mind getting covered in sand. Flip flops are awkward, because they flick sand up behind you and your legs will get COVERED.
    - Sundresses.
    - Hiking shoes, if you're into that kind of thing. Hiking Diamondback while the sun came up over the mountain was a great experience.
    - Cash money dollars. You'll need them for the International Market, the ABC Stores (and you will find yourself in one), and the drive along the North Shore to get a fresh pineapple from a street vendor.

    Deck shoes or boat shoes for the hubby are all well and good, but understand that they *will* get filled with sand if you go anywhere near the beach.

    And you'll want water shoes if you go swimming off of Waikiki Beach - the whole area is volcanic, and spells for some really sharp rock formations.

    Hope that helps!
    HAVE FUN! I can't wait to see what you end up bringing back and blogging about later!

  2. People will be far more dressed up in Honolulu than Waikiki and also more well-heeled at night than during the day. Some will be dressed to the nines at night, especially in Honolulu. It will get more and more casual as you get further away from that densely populated area. If you head to the north shore, you may not see anything but sandals and flip-flops.

  3. This post made me giggle:) I went on my honeymoon over a year ago and I, too, can remember wanting to feel "hot." I suggest bringing some really cute outfits like sun dresses and wedges, but also bring some really practical clothes like running/hiking shoes, shorts, and tank tops because there will inevitably be at least one day in which you will want to dress super comfy. We went hiking in Colorado so I packed a mixture of casual hiking clothes for day and cute dresses for night.

  4. My best friend went to hawaii earlier this year and she said that it was mostly young japanese tourists with -insane- looking outfits. Crazy, outlandish hair, really tall shoes, typical Japanese street style so no, I don't think you'll stand out too much!

  5. I have been to Hawaii a few times and I would always sport shors, t's, and flip flops. I would put a dress on for dinner but felt like everything was pretty casual. I never wore heels because there was always so much walking.

  6. Congrats on being a newlywed! I lived there in Honolulu for 5 years and I can say that the women who live there (overall) are beautiful and dress really well. Wearing heels, wedges, dresses, etc. will not be inappropriate...unless of course you're hiking or hanging out at the beach.

    Speaking of beaches, I'd suggest Kaimana (or Sans Souci, as it's also called) instead of Waikiki. You can walk by Waikiki to look at it 'cuz it's pretty, but Kaimana is a smaller beach and calmer for sunbathing and swimming. It's walkable from Waikiki (5-10 mins) It's in between the aquarium and the W Hotel; you can ask the concierge for directions. :)

    Have tons of fun!!

  7. Congratulations on your marriage and have an awesome time in Oahu. I went last year and it was quite casual. Here's a tip that you hopefully won't need: in the event that you, a loved one or a complete stranger is stung by a portuguese manowar, you can save yourself the embarrassment of having to pee on yourself. Vinegar works well with a dose of Benadryl. Of course this only applies when your respiratory system isn't compromised. I'd recommend Turtle Beach on the way to the North Shore. It's so neat that they swim by close enough to touch (unless you're afraid of turtles). Fabric Mart has cute cheap fabric, as does the flea market near the stadium.

  8. I've been to various Hawaiian islands dozens of times. I used to always pack cute, "hot" clothes, and honestly, most of them stayed in the suitcase until I got home and unpacked. Now days I take a huge assortment of swimsuits and underwear, a couple pairs of shorts (one pair cut-offs, one "nicer" pair that can be worn with wedges and jewelry), a couple tank tops and shirts, a lightweight cardigan, one of my husband's old western shirts (the best swimsuit cover-ups ever, plus sexy in that "girl wearing a guy's button-down" kinda way, a sundress or two, some lace-up shoes (canvas Vans) and some nice-ish wedges. Then I throw in some accessories so I can dress the sundress/shorts whatever up or down. When I get there I go to Long's Drugs and pick up a few pairs of Locals (flip flops) for myself and everyone who asked me to bring them some back with me. They're $3 or so a pair. I always forget to bring a sunhat, and thus pick one of those up, too, along with sunblock, Maui Baby, etc.

    I've gotten my packing routine down to the point were I can fit pretty much everything I need for the two weeks I'm there into one small suitcase. Makeup-wise you only need waterproof mascara and maybe some lipstick/gloss, because you'll be sweating and in and out of the water so much. For the same reason, you'll probably have your hair up during the day. I like to take a couple pretty scarves to wrap around my head because of this. As far as skin goes, Hawaii will make it dewy and glowy in a way you didn't know existed. Maybe pack some Philosopy "Supernatural" moisturizer. It is tinted and contains SPF, and makes everyone's complexion look and feel incredible.

    On a weirder note, I also like to get my legs and such waxed right before I leave. When I'm heading on vacation to to a place where I'm going to spend 80% of my time in a bikini, I don't want to have to worry about shaving every day. Locally, I highly recommend About Face and More.

    I spent my honeymoon traveling around Ireland, and as a result wore the same jeans, North Face windbreaker and converse almost the entire time. I stopped bothering with makeup about 5 days in, and my hair remained gathered sloppily on my head. My husband still thought I was gorgeous, hot, and the most irresistable woman he'd ever seen, because I was his new wife, and we were together on an amazing trip in a new place together. No matter what you decide to pack, yours will feel the same. Have fun!

  9. I have never been to Hawaii, but my honeymoon was a cruise to the Caribbean. Being from a state in the midwest, I can totally empathize with having no clue what to wear! My best advice is just to wear what makes you feel lovely. On your honeymoon, it's just going to be about you and your husband. Bring things that he loves you in and clothing that you feel confident and beautiful wearing.

    The locals will be too busy smiling at your happiness and "honeymoon faces" to even notice if you're wearing something that doesn't blend in perfectly. :)

  10. i've been to hawaii a couple of times and I severely overpacked. I spent most of my time in my swimsuit with a sun dress over the top. The humidity was just too much for me to where pants but I bet you're used to that being from the Portland area and all. Of course bring some nice things to go out to dinner in etc but everyone is just super super casual.

  11. My boyfriend and I are going to Hawaii for our friends' wedding in October, and I'm busy making dresses for the occasion. I am bringing shorts and bathing suit, but I plan on mostly wearing my sun dresses. I have some posted on my blog, with a few more to come! My first few dresses I made before I made my bodice block...now that I have that I am making some 50's style dresses in classic pink, blue and yellow shades. I'm just doing my own style that can beat the heat! Have fun!


  12. My parent went to Hawaii this past June. It looks like you've covered all of your basis, just remember to pack an umbrella/ rain gear too. My parents had a good trip, but it rained all day on their last day.

  13. Wow, I can actually answer this one as I've lived on Oahu for almost 8 years now.

    We pretty much wear slippers (local word for "flip-flops") all the time, everywhere.

    You'll definitely stick out as a tourist if you "do" your hair (most women here have hair that looks like they just came from the beach) or have sunburn.

    That said, if you're doing a date night in town, dress to the nines (The Guess ones would blend right in). We have a lot of hot babes here that don't mind showing skin! (and they're ALWAYS wearing their designer bags...) For the North Shore, casual is the word (think surfers wearing slippers to dinner). You can dress it up, of course, but everyone here is really laid-back. And you don't want to wear heels of any kind to the beach!!

    For regular wear during the day, I'd go with some cute shorts (cut-offs!) and some chic, breezy tops.

    And whatever you do, don't let your husband wear socks with his sandals!!! :) :) Try to visit the Aloha Stadium swap meet (on Wednesdays and Saturdays) They have some cute stuff for gifts, WAY cheaper than what you'll find at the tourist traps in town!

  14. Oooh, lots of great tips already, readers! Thanks so much! Although I'm getting some mixed messages... I am so excited to pack!

  15. Rompers!!! Super hot on your figure and comfy and easy to take off. When you are around the beach areas there isn't a place to change so you mint want to wear your bikini under your clothes during the day. Wedges and heels are fine for dinner. I recommend so TOMS or comfortable sandals during the day. Boat shoes for the hubs will be good for dinner as well, maybe not during the day though. His feet will sweat. Congratulations and have tons of fun on your honeymoon!
    - Bethany

  16. You should definitely try surfing in Waikiki. The waves there are pretty much the perfect waves for learning - small waves that aren't intimidating, but run a loooooong way so you have plenty of time to get up on a board before the wave peters out. And definitely take a trip around the island and up to Diamond Head. I forget what it's called, but there's a road that goes up through the mountains and has an amazing view of the harbor. But that could be on Maui.

    As for dressing, it will probably be warm and humid. I suggest lots of light, breezy dresses cute shades and hats and some comfy shoes. Most of Waikiki is walkable, so unless you can walk several blocks to and from dinner, make sure you bring some flip flops. I always take my shoes off as soon as I get to the sand anyway.

    Have fun, lovebirds!

  17. You'll have so much fun!
    Honestly if you've got a maxi dress, a light cotton dress or two, some shorts, a good pair of jeans and some sandals you're good to go. Bring a hat, some sunglasses and sunblock. Also - just don't "break in" any shoes on Oahu. It's just not worth having aching feet.

    I'm amazed at what people wear to visit. And I appreciate the different cultures and wardrobe. But nothing ruins a vacation more than something that's not natural and definitely uncomfortable. What you have is perfect!

  18. Suzannah, I live on Oahu all my life. what you wear, really depends what you're going to be doing. If you're going to go to the mall, you can wear shorts, shirt, maxi dress, slippers, heels, anything really. Most people will be casual. If you're going to the beach, slippers and a swimsuit. I do not see people wearing shoes like your husband... no offense. In those pictures you posted above, I do not see anyone really wearing dresses like the orange one and the bottom pic may possibly be more casual for going to northshore or beach bound/driving around the island. If you are going out for dinner, you may want to dress up with heels, esp if you're dining in waikiki. You can email me (best way to reach me) at strawberry(dot)cupcakes(at)yahoo(dot)com and I can answer any questions you have, local spots to go. If you're into hiking, I can ask my friends who hike every weekend where are good easy and safe trails. A lot of "trendy" girls wear things like you can see on this website https://www.facebook.com/EdenInLoveBoutique it is a local boutique.


  19. I live in Hawaii also and Caitlin is right! Dress for the activity and stear clear of boat shoes. Gratz on the marriage and aloha!

  20. More good tips! I am scared to try surfing... but we might!

    I'm glad I won't look crazy in my super cute outfits going out to dinner and such. And I plan to walk around in swimsuits a lot! Hmmm, sunscreen....!!!

  21. I have no advice on what to pack as when I have been to the different islands I've lived in my bathing suits and shorts and tank tops and flippies.

    BUT I will say to get Maui Babe LOTION. SKIP the browning stuff- you'll FRY. Get the after sun lotion. It's AMAZING stuff and every time I have family go to Hawaii I have them bring me back a bottle. LOVE IT!

    AND if you can find some comfy flippies (mine are black with sea turtle tribal kind of design on the straps) buy several pairs for when you get home. You'll wish you did if you don't!


  22. Definitely go to the swap meet at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, it's wednesday, saturdays, and sundays. HUGE swap meet! Also, Kailua beach is beaaautiful. Waikiki honestly kinda sucks.. all there is to do it window shop, and all the sand is imported from California, so it's not even a real Hawaii beach.

  23. Anonymous8/26/2011

    This is one lovely post; love her style and sense of fashion; I wanna have everything shes wearing and I would start by grabbing one a' those Orange Indie dresses.



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