There is nothing more satisfying than seeing one of your readers finally get hitched! You see them pop up here and there on Bula Bride’s Facebook or Instagram. And when their day comes around its wonderful to see their experience of a Fiji Destination Wedding.
Kelly is one of those brides, and she and husband Brett brought along the talented Willow & Co. to capture their gorgeous Shangri La Fiji Wedding. With a bit of DIY and a lot of love the day was all that Kelly had dreamed of.
Kelly share’s with us details of the day she married her man Brett.
The Location / Brett took me to the Shangri La for the first time in October 2012. I instantly fell in love with everything that the Resort and Fiji is about. We then took some friends back with us in 2013 and it was on the last night of this trip that Brett proposed to me, outside the Bilo Bar! In November 2013, we went back for the third time, this time with Brett’s family. By now we had decided to get married at the Shangri La, so it was a great opportunity to meet with Alumita and ask some questions face to face rather than emails!
The Bride wore / I had purchased a dress from Luv Bridal in Parramatta in November 2013. At this time I wasn’t overly happy with my body shape, however, I was told if I didn’t order it then, it may not arrive in time. As I started losing weight and my body changed and I fell out of love with it. I decided to have a look online and take a risk at ordering my ‘dream dress’. I hesitated as I put my credit card details in, worried that the dress could be a total disaster. I didn’t tell many people that I was purchasing a second dress in case it was a fail and I didn’t have to worry about it! The dress arrived in 3 weeks from the date I ordered it and it was perfect. It had a dropped waist dress with sweetheart neckline and fully beaded bodice. The organza and tulle layered skirt added volume to the bottom without making my top half look too big. It needed some slight alterations due to losing some more weight, but that just made it even more amazing as it fit like a glove on the day of the wedding. The dress was purchased online from sheindressau.com. The dress was matched with a pair of teal high heels that were only worn for the ceremony before being replaced by a gold pair of Haviana thongs! Thankfully the dress was long enough that you couldn’t see them!
The Hair & Makeup / Both my hair and make-up was completed by the staff at the Shangri La. My hair was parted with one side braided and all back in a textured bun. I had a small headpiece that was placed into the side of the bun so there was still some bling when my veil was removed. Make-up was very natural, with bronze and pinks used to highlight my eyes.
The Ceremony / Took place at the Seaside Chapel. The chapel was decorated with white and pink flowers for the ceremony. We decided to stick with the vows that were provided by the resort to try to keep things simple and stress free!
The choir serenaded guests while they were waiting for our arrival and sang hymns throughout the ceremony. Our minister was amazing, really helping to add a great Fijian vibe to the ceremony.
After the ceremony we spent an hour driving around the local area to have photos – including some in a sugar cane farm that was owned by a local family. They were extremely welcoming and invited us in to use their property for what turned out to be some amazing shots. We also used the old sugar cane train line that crossed the water as another place for some great location photos before returning to the Resort for the reception.
The Reception / Was held at the Golden Cowrie Restaurant. We had four round tables for guests and a rectangular table for the bridal table. The chairs were covered in white chair covers with teal organza chair sashes added that I had brought from Australia. Each table was covered with a white tablecloth with an amazing centrepiece of three different sized vases with submerged gingers and floating candles. The rest of the table was decorated with tea lights and a few starfish. The place setting for each guest included a starfish with their name card attached with string, a thank you card, an adlib card, a door hanger and their wedding favour. For the wedding favours, we purchased wooden masks for the boys and wooden turtles for the girls from Jacks within the resort. They were amazing in helping us source 21 of each within 3 days! The space was decorated with fairy lights to help to increase the amount of light in the space. We also had a photo booth set-up inside the restaurant that I designed and planned.
The Entertainment / The bridal party and our parents entered the reception to ‘Eye of the Tiger’ as both of us are Wests Tigers supporters. As we had our reception in the Golden Cowrie, we were not able to book a DJ or other entertainment. I simply created a playlist of songs for our guests to dance to. Our first dance was to the Cascada version of “Truly, Madly, Deeply’ and the father-daughter dance was to ‘Butterfly Kisses’. We were lucky enough to have David from the resort come and do a Kava ceremony for our guests as part of our reception and he spent time talking to them about the history of Fiji.
The Highlight / There was no one real highlight… it was just amazing to have the day turn out exactly as I had planned. There is not one thing I would change about the day – it was just as I had imagined!
The Advice / Firstly – VISIT THE COUNTRY!! I would never have chosen to get married somewhere I have never been before. Brett and I had been to the Shangri La 3 times before we decided to get married there – he even proposed to me there! This gave us the opportunity to get to know the Resort and the people before trusting them with the biggest day in our lives!
Spend the time speaking with your Wedding Planner about exactly what you want to know and do this as early as possible. Alumita and I were emailing back and forth for weeks before I had completely decided on what I wanted. Do your research in terms of all the little things.
Final decisions were made almost a month before we arrived in Fiji which meant I could spend the last few weeks worrying about myself and my husband to be and making sure we were fit and healthy for the big day!!
TRUST THE RESORT!! They do this all the time – tell them exactly what you want and provide photos of the set-up you want. We did this and found this to be the best way to ensure you got exactly what you wanted.
And lastly, have fun! You have chosen to have your wedding in Fiji because it is relaxed and laidback – so there’s no point turning into a bridezilla over things you cannot control because you decided to have the wedding in another country!!!