I am flipping the script for a sec and want to share my tips on dressing for a destination wedding after just being the bride of a destination wedding in Kauai, Hawaii.
Because so many of our guests asked for style guidance beforehand. Like they did not have a clue what to wear. Men and women. I was surprised by this, but realize that ‘cocktail attire’ might have been cryptic for a beachside wedding.
For example, are heels really necessary? Are pants (on men) necessary? Tevas? (NO), how much white is okay? These were some questions that I got and then some.
So: here is my guide to dressing for a destination wedding.
1. USE THE INVITATION AS A GUIDE: This is the first thing I look at regardless of whether or not the wedding is a destination or not. If it says “Black Tie”, you’re not going to get away with wearing a casual sundress and flip flops, for example. And on the flip side, if it says “Casual Chic”, don’t wear a ball gown.
2. PEEP THE WEDDING COLORS: Pay attention to the color of the wedding invitation suite and try to avoid the colors used when picking your outfit. You don’t want to be embarrassed that you match the bridesmaids.
For destination weddings, I like to mimic the tropical tones with my attire. Colors like turquoise, sand, fuchsia, lime green, tangerine, and even sunflower are all stunning colors to wear.
Also, let’s talk about black and white for a minute. As a general rule, I love a black moment for weddings. The ‘old’ rules are that black should be reserved for funerals, but that is very antiquated these days. That said, black is more acceptable for black tie weddings and more formal weddings. Yes, you can totally wear black to a beach or destination wedding, but you might be HOT AF or feel a little out of place. Instead, look for a black dress with a fun & subtle pattern.
WHITE: Personally, I avoid white at all costs when I am a wedding guest. Unless the invitation reads “WHITE ATTIRE/WHITE PARTY”, do not wear white. If you have to ask for a second opinion on a dress that has some white in it, do not wear it. I remember when my mom (hi, mo!) was getting ready for a wedding and was going to wear a cream colored crochet dress until I stopped her and told her that the bride would be pretty pissed if she showed up in that dress. Thankfully, she changed. I avoid white accessories too. No white shoes, no white bag, you get the idea. Better safe than sorry.
3. PAY ATTENTION TO FABRICS: Light fabrics are best across the board, for men and women. There is nothing worse than wearing a heavy fabric while standing on the beach, sweating bullets and creating pit or butt sweat marks that everyone can see and that you can feel. Some fabrics that make you look chic and dressed up but kept cool include lace, chiffon, linen, and organza.
4. WHEN IN DOUBT, OVERDRESS: It is ALWAYS better to be over-dressed than under-dressed. In every situation, actually.
Kauai is the most beautiful place on earth. We did not want to come home! This is the reason that we chose the island as the place we got married. There is just something different and amazing in the air there. The smell of plumerias, the moisture in the air (AMAZING for dry skin), and the chill vibe just makes the island the perfect vacay spot.
I had traveled to Kauai annually growing up, but hadn’t been as an adult, so I was all about asking for recommendations on food, activities, beauty, and shopping. On top of this, we did months and months of research on the best places to go, eat, and stay.
Eating House 1849 is a great place to go for date night. We went on our last night on the island. Must tries are the Kampachi Sashimi and the Poke. Their list of appetizers are all amazing (we ordered 5 appetizers to share). The vibe is a little more upscale but still a casual, open-air vibe.
If you want the freshest fish, Koloa Fish Market is your place. They can also make the most amazing poke bowls with the freshest ingredients. We went here several times during our time in Kauai and got fish to grill at our Airbnb as well as poke bowls to take to the beach.
The Dolphin Restaurant is an extension of the fish market, which is open for sushi at dinnertime…and is probably the best sushi on the island. It’s always really fresh & their nigiri and sashimi are SO GOOD. We ordered one roll that came with truffle oil sauce and it was out of this world. A must if you love sushi!
Located in the Kapaa Food Truck Court next to Ostuka’s, husband and wife team, Paulino and Faun Hernandez serve amazing Mexican food. I had the best fish tacos of my whole life here on the second visit to their truck. The first time, they were sold out for the day at only 2 pm!
From organic, fair-trade coffees to smoothies and acai bowls made with locally grown fruit and veggies, Little Fish Coffee was a spot we visited nearly every day during our trip. My order: an iced americano, black.
This breakfast spot/cocktail terrace (it’s both) is the most amazing Lanai experience you will have on the island with breathtaking views of Mount Makana. Whether you come for breakfast or for cocktails, the view is insane. Tip: you must come for a cocktail and watch the sunset. It looks like a painting – so gorgeous!
Mahina has the chicest clothing and accessories for amazing prices. It’s one of those places where you step in and want everything! From dainty jewelry to cute handbags to gorgeous summery clothes, this shop has every fashionista covered. I bought a bunch of jewelry there both for myself and as gifts.
OMG…this place is pure heaven. Malie means “calm”, and that’s exactly how I’d describe their products. The foundation of all of their beauty products are natural & non-toxic with amazing benefits for the skin. My favorite product: The Pikake Body Gloss.
SoHa Living carries the best gifts and home decor in the best, non-cheesy way. You know those stores that sell tchotchkes that no one will ever use? Yeah, this is not one of those stores. The girls that work there are so nice, too.
If you want an organic spray tan, you have to contact Megan at Sunkissed. I highly recommend her. A spray tan was one beauty appointment that I made in preparation for my wedding, and since I didn’t have a chance to test it out before my wedding day being that this was a destination wedding, I was a little nervous because no bride wants to look like a patchy Oompa Loompa on their wedding day! But Megan DELIVERED. She brought her tent over to the house we rented and tanned sister, sister-in-law, and I, and we were all very happy with the results: even, sun kissed tans! I can’t recommend her enough.
Since 1980, Captain Andy’s has taken guests on Kauai boat tours down famous Na Pali Coast. My first cruise ever was actually with Capt. Andy’s when I was a 10 year old on a family vacation. It was a snorkeling cruise, and it’s one of my favorite Kauai memories with my family. I was so happy to go back and experience their sunset cruise on this past trip!
This guided adventure takes you through 23 miles of diverse offroad trails, including stops along the way to see famous movie sites such as scenes from Jurassic Park and King Kong. I was absolutely TERRIFIED at first because I thought the ATV was going to flip over. The guide yelled at me at least twice to DRIVE FASTER, and finally, after about 30 minutes, I was comfortable keeping up with everyone else. You will get very dirty on this ride so I recommend wearing clothes you really don’t care about, or using what they offer (I took them up on this and wore clothes they provided).
Hidden away in the jungle valleys of Princeville on Kauai’s North Shore, dramatic topography, natural landscaping, and tender cultivation have culminated into a sacred garden paradise. The gardens are home to potent medicinals, rare and endangered flowers, and useful economic plants from around the world. This place was breathtaking, and we learned so much about how plants can heal. Plus at the end there is a very informative chocolate tasting and tour! A must if you’re planning a trip to Kauai.
I am so excited to kick off some post-wedding blog posts with you. We’ll be recapping so many details of my wedding here, but first: the welcome party dress.
First things first: Since we chose to have a destination wedding in Kaua’i, having everyone gather before the big day was important to us. You know, to have everyone meet if they hadn’t had a chance yet before our wedding day. A time to just hang out, eat, and drink good food and booze.
I began shopping for my wedding outfits over a year before the wedding. Yep, I’m that psycho. NOT the dress, but the other outfits. Ya know: the welcome party dress, honeymoon outfits, and so on.
For the welcome party, I wanted something different. Not your typical boring white dress. I was looking for two piece sets online to no avail, and then I stumbled upon Dress The Population and their dresses stopped me in my tracks. We’re talking 3D florals, illusions, and gorgeous cuts. And not too wedding-y.
I went for this dress, which is unfortunately sold out, however Dress The Population has so many similar options that I will include below.
I fell in love with the Carla Dress because of the lace, as my wedding dress does not have any lace and I really love the look. Also because it has a bit of drama to it with the navy color on the flowers. Our wedding theme was DARK, and I wanted to tie that into the night before dress too.
Side note: I loved that the lace kind of covered my casper legs because I had a spray tan done after the welcome party due to maximum tan-ness and minimal streaking in the hot Hawaii weather. Ha!