Megan and Aaron's Hawaiian splurgefest honeymoon

September 3 | meganfinley

We put out a request for reader ideas as far as ways to improve and add onto the Offbeat Bride experience. We got a great request from reader Cortney:

Maybe do a once-a-week feature about fun (and cost effective) places to go for a honeymoon? Alternative ideas for people who can't afford honeymoons?

So we're introducing real offbeat honeymoons! We're hoping that getting a wide arrange of honeymoons, from the spendy to the budget, will give inspiration and ideas and (hello!) travel tips! And we're kicking it all off with my honeymoon…

Aw yeah…

Honeymooners: Megan and Aaron (you might remember our Maui wedding)

Type: Domestic travel, beach vacation

Budget: Spendy ($5000-$10,000)

Where did you go? We actually stayed! We had our wedding in Maui and then just stayed on the island for our honeymoon.

Aaron and me at the shark attack beach
Aaron's first return to the shark attack beach.

At first we were just going to crash in my cousin's pool house but then my parents surprised us with a week at the Four Seasons!

When presenting us with the gift my dad said, "The bad news is that you're going to have to go back to where Aaron was attacked by a shark. But the good news is that it's because that's where you'll be spending your honeymoon!" It was a total surprise.

What did you do? What else do you do on Maui!?

Meditating
Meditating in the Waihe'e Valley.
  • Lots of lounging on the beach.
  • Exploring the ocean and swimming with sea turtles.
  • Driving aimlessly around the island. We literally took an entire day to drive around the island.
  • Hiking in the Waihe'e Valley aka "Swinging Bridges."
  • Drinking and dancing to my friend's Irish band at Mulligan's.
  • Did the labyrinth walk at the Sacred Garden of Maliko nursery.
  • We hit the Maui Ukulele Festival.
  • A trip to the aquarium to re-visit where we got engaged.
  • Shopping in Lahaina and Paia, of course.
  • Eating and partying with friends. Since we had all our best friends and close family members on the island we had a lot of people to party with.
  • Recording music with Aaron's travel recording gear.
  • And on the last day, right before our plane trip home, my cousin took us out to snorkel and have breakfast on his boat at Molokini.

What was the most meaningful moment of the trip? As you can see whe ran allover the island doing all sorts of wonderful touristy things. So it might sound strange when I say, I think the most meaningful moment of our honeymoon was when we'd end each day by soaking in the big 'ol Four Seasons bathtub with champagne and bubbles. We would just talk about our future together and of all the infinite and awesome possibilities.

love montage

And I'll also always remember all the moments we would just looked at each other and say, "we're married." And then giggle. It's still weird. ;)

What would you have done differently? As much as I love Maui I wish we had taken a trip to another island for our honeymoon, at least for a few days. There are two reasons…

the shark tank
Aaron and his nephew check out the sharks at the aquarium.
Maui is like our second home so it wasn't like a new travel experience. And since it was a destination wedding that meant after the wedding everyone was still there. So we both felt all this pressure to entertain our guests since they flew there for, well, us. Taking a mini break on a neighboring island would have afforded us some immediate alone time.

What's your advice for other offbeat honeymooners?
First of all, Maui is amazing. It's almost to the point of obnoxiousness that I tell everyone I know and love that the should try to take a vacation in Maui at least once. Freaking paradise, people.


Seriously, book a flight!

On the more general advice side: I set aside some of the money that we were gifted for our wedding in a "honeymoon fund." So if we wanted to go and do things out of the norm for us (ie. eating at fancy restaurants and shopping) we didn't have to feel guilty for splurging. Being so spendy was something that we've never done before and probably never will do again.

Aaron says his advice for destination wedding and honeymooners would be to have your family come the week before and your friends stay the week after (or vice versa), so that you aren't torn between spending time with one group and feeling guilty about not spending time with the others.

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So now it's your turn! I know that there are some awesome and interesting honeymoon adventurers out there and I can't wait to see what you guys did. So get your Flickr set together and submit your honeymoon profile now!

    • Aw mahalo! Believe it or not, that top picture was used in our Christmas card that year! Fun with cheesy personalized wedding gifts. *snarf* Mrs Finley on my ass! wtf!?

  1. Um…YAY!
    This is awesome. I can't wait to steal some awesome honeymoon ideas as I so don't want the typical honeymoon :)

    1 agrees
    • While I think this is a great new feature, is there such a thing as the "typical honeymoon"? It doesn't seem like there are a lot of traditions or anything like there are for weddings. I don't know two couples that have gone to the same place for their honeymoon.

      1 agrees
      • I would say a tropical resort honeymoon could be considered "typical." I'm looking forward to featuring honeymoons where couples went backpacking across the Appalachians, bike toured industrial areas in Prague, spent two weeks volunteering for Habitat For Humanity in New Orleans, or had sex in a teepee in South Dakota.

        Obviously, Hawaiian honeymoons have a place on OBB too (hence featuring Megan today!) but I think there's plenty of room for offbeat travel stories.

        2 agree
        • How about the RV road trip honeymoon around to the National parks with dog in toe? ;) I submitted mine! hehe

  2. Thank you OBB! I think this is an awesome addition to your offerings! I really enjoyed reading this and I am looking forward to more. =)

  3. oh I'm so excited about honeymoon posts! yay!

    I read your shark attack post on your blog… WOWZA! I'm glad everything turned out okay. *phew*

  4. This is such a great idea! I'm looking forward to reading about more honeymoons!

    BTW Megan, you have a cute butt!

    1 agrees
  5. Looks like an awesome time!

    I disagree about the splitting of friends and family for destination weddings though. I spent a week in Jamaica for my cousin's wedding, and it was awesome to be able to not only hang with my family, but with the friends as well. It was amazing to be able to be surrounded by people who all shared such a deep love for the couple in question.

  6. Ooh, awesome new feature! Typical as a beach honeymoon may be, I still gawk at the gorgeous scenery and sigh in envy over how relaxed the couples who partake always look. Megan, you guys look like you had a great time.

    Oh, and I'd die of glee if I received a butt Christmas card, how awesome is that?

    1 agrees
    • I was one of the lucky ones to receive a Finley BUTT christmas card. Literally, best x-mas card I've ever received. I even kept it in my car for 4 months so I could display it (I don't have a mantle). People LOVED it! (and it's still on my wall 1.5 years later.

  7. Yay! Such a great idea! I can't wait to submit mine. Now first get this wedding done ;-) (I'm looking real forward to the honeymoon!)

  8. Awesome honeymoon! We opted to wait a year to go on our honeymoon which was great as we felt like we were celebrating all over again!

  9. Hell YES to Offbeat Honeymoons. I'm so excited by what we've cooked up for ourselves that I'll definitely submit once we get married.

    Please make sure to link us back to the couple's wedding if they're featured here. We readers get kind of attached to the featured people and I'd love to see/hear more about their love stories.

  10. 1st off swoon for Maui! I had a really good time there last summer.

    Your profile exposed me to some new places I'll have to explore if we ever go back to Hawaii.

      • I am all over that like white on rice in a loco moco! I should add that we also spent a week on Oahu and really loved it.
        And in the spirit of sharing, if you ever make it to the mid-west drop me a line. I know a lot of places to visit in the middle west.

      • I am going to do my honeymoon in Maui. Any tips? We really love being close to the water, sunsets and swimming!

  11. HOLY CRAP, I jumped five feet in the air when I realized you guys took my suggestion. YAY!

    Love this honeymoon. You can see how well it suited Megan and Aaron. *;)

    2 agree
  12. I definitely like this idea! And I agree that there are no "typical" honeymoons. I bet 5 couples could go to the same place for their honeymoons, but each experience will be different. It's all in how you choose to make it offbeat!

    BTW, the picture of you two dancing and your hair is swaying up……fabulous photo!!

    • Oh man, I LOVE that photo. My hair was nuts. ;) It was such a cool thing to have a professional wedding photographer there that night to take photos of our second "first dance" and then to actually go out of his way to send them to us for free! Good times!

  13. Cool feature!
    I'll be interested to see what comes up under budget honeymoon – it's so dependent on where you start out from.
    Hawaii is a 19hr flight from here but Rome is only 2.5hr!

  14. What a fun idea for a feature! My FH and my honeymoon will definitely be offbeat … my professional organization wants to send me to the regional conference 2 days after the wedding (because I am a key member of the planning team, a "co-host" for 2011's conference), so instead of just spending a couple extra days in the Finger Lakes (NY, where we're getting married), I'll be "working" for a couple days in College Park, MD, and then spending the rest of the week on the Eastern shore of MD. I'm just excited that we'll get to spend a full week together. :)

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