There are some things in life that can be planned for and others that are ultimately beyond our human power. Things like finding the love of your life on an online dating website… cannot be planned. However, a romantic once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon vacation with the love of your life to Hawaii… can be. Celebration Wishes is here to help with the once-in-a-lifetime vacation part of things. And we’re honored to have worked with over 850,000 happy couples to bring their Honeymoon Wishes to life. We joined in conversation with a customer, Toni Kinney, to ask a few questions about her recent honeymoon and experience with our registry and here’s what she had to share…
To start off, can you tell us a little bit about how you and your husband, James, met?
Toni: Well, we like to joke around that we met on FarmersOnly.com… but we didn’t. We actually met on Plenty of Fish and there’s a whole story behind it that’s pretty funny. It was by chance that we met. And just hit it off. He’s a tried and true Texas guy, I call him my “hunter gatherer.” He’s all man, all Texan. And I am this gal who just moved to Texas from California… I’m a vegetarian… and I drove a hybrid. And he’s like “this is never gonna work.” Well here we are four years later. That just goes to show you can’t just pick em out of a lineup.
“It was by chance, by accident that we met. And just hit it off. He’s a tried and true Texas guy… And I am this gal who just moved to Texas from California… I’m a vegetarian… and I drove a hybrid.”
Photo: Toni Danette
It’s beautiful to hear a success story with an online dating platform too, congratulations! How long have you two been together and how long have you been married?
Toni: We’ve been together for four years and married two months. We got married on November 11, 2021.
Is the post honeymoon phase still fresh and exciting?
Toni: This may sound weird, but it’s not. It’s the same, but not in a bad way, it’s the same in a good way. The only thing that’s different about post marriage is the title. Calling him my husband. Or him, calling me his wife. But everything else is the same.
What honeymoon destination did you both decide on and why? Is there any significance to the location that you chose?
Toni: There was. James and I like to travel and do a big trip internationally once a year. However, because of COVID-19, when we started to plan where we’re going and trying to book things out in advance, we were trying to stay within the United States so that it would make travel easier given COVID-19 restrictions and not knowing. Trying to plan a honeymoon out that far in advance in times like right now, you just don’t know. So we chose Hawaii and it worked out great. We got the beach and we got the island vibe we wanted. We would’ve probably chosen someplace else if it wasn’t for COVID-19, but we made the best of it and we had a great time!
Well we’re happy to hear that you both were able to share that island experience. Can you tell us what were some of the safety precautions you took as a couple while traveling and at your resort that helped you keep peace of mind in knowing that you were safe on your honeymoon?
Toni: So with traveling to Hawaii, fortunately my step-dad had to travel to Hawaii several times for work so he kind of gave us the 411, which helped us navigate it. You have to pre-register before going to Hawaii. You go to the state website and answer a few questions surrounding the trip and if you’re vaccinated, you upload a copy of your vaccination card for each person visiting. By doing that, you get a QR code. At the airports, they reviewed our vaccination card, our QR code, our drivers license… everything. They gave us a special wristband then we went over to our gate, got on the plane, and flew direct from Dallas to Hawaii. When we got to Hawaii there were two lines. There’s a super long line of people waiting to have their vaccination card and all their stuff checked before entering into Hawaii. Whereas all of us that had wristbands… it was like a quick passing lane. Masks are required everywhere. A lot of places even required them outside. When we got to our resort, the Hilton Hawaiian Village, they had the same process and you got another wristband from them. Every single restaurant, on property or off property, every single excursion, anything we did, they asked for a copy of our information. You could show them digitally too and then you fill out a contact tracing form before you go anywhere.
Sounds very thorough. So what are some favorite activities that you took part in during the trip?
Toni: Well I will say this, we had great ideas of all these things that we wanted to do and we got there and realized we’re not gonna be able to do all of the things we wanted because; for instance, the luau, they were booked out so far in advance that we couldn’t get into one. And part of it being booked out was because of COVID-19 restrictions. They were doing smaller groups and they had smaller capacity. So it limited the availability. So we quickly had to re-strategize our plan. We sat down with a concierge and we were just like, “What can we do? What is available to do? We want to do as much as we can.” One thing we ended up doing that we weren’t planning on was the Magnum PI open air helicopter ride of the entire island. Because there were several things we couldn’t do, we took the funds that we had allocated for those activities and were able to do that literally once in a lifetime experience. That’s what’s nice about this type of registry, you have the flexibility. If for some reason you can’t do something, you can combine funds and do something else.
“That’s what’s nice about this type of registry, you have the flexibility.”
Photo: Toni Danette
Exactly! How did the registry experience improve the gifting experience for your wedding and honeymoon?
Toni: So James and I were not expecting this much, we thought it’d be nice, but we really weren’t expecting that much of our friends in our family. We wanted everyone to be there and just enjoy the wedding, but we also knew that people would want to gift something. And we already had enough household items. So when we received over $4000, we were blown away. It was awesome to see. It was easy for people and they really seemed like they enjoyed shopping for those experiences. They were like, “Oh I’m gonna get you the luau, you’re gonna have so much fun!” The entire process was easy! From setting it up, for those gifting, to doing the transfer.
“It was easy for people and they really seemed like they enjoyed shopping for those experiences. They were like, ‘Oh I’m gonna get you the luau, you’re gonna have so much fun!’”
That’s great. So it was easy on both ends, it was easy for you as a couple and easy for the people that were giving your gifts. Then what was the best part of your honeymoon experience… between leaving the wedding, to sharing the Honeymoon, to receiving all of the gifts, what is one highlight moment you would like to share?
Toni: I would probably say the helicopter ride was the highlight of our honeymoon in Hawaii for sure. But really, it's the appreciation and love we felt from our friends and family that showered us with such a large contribution for our honeymoon. It was amazing. We are truly blessed!
How did you find out about Honeymoon Wishes?
Toni: I had been doing research online for the wedding. We knew that we wanted to do something like an online registry, and I read an article on Pinterest.
Is there any advice you would like to give newly engaged couples planning their honeymoon deciding whether or not they want to use Honeymoon Wishes?
Toni: Yes, use it. What we did was use the registry two ways. First, on our wedding website that everyone RSVP'd and got information on. Then at the wedding, we had a sign made on the gift table that said “Forgot Gift?” We took our Honeymoon Wishes registry URL and created a QR code, printed the QR code on a card and had it clipped on that sign so that people at the wedding could scan it and give a contribution right there at the wedding.
Great idea, love that, I might save that for myself!
For more information or to get started today, visit Celebration Wishes to create a free registry!
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