Andrew and Courtney – two super awesome people – both ex-New Zealander’s, now based in Denarau, Fiji. Together they run one of Denarau’s most successful day trip sailing businesses, Coral Cats Fiji; and are raising two beautiful young children together. With Fiji now being home, their love for the ocean, good food and good times; Fiji was always going to be the place they would say ‘I do’ in style.
Having known Courtney and Andy for four years I knew this wedding was going to be amazing. There are a few components to any wedding (and i’ve been to a few) that I feel are compulsory:
1. The Bride deserves to look amazing and feel beautiful
2. Endless bubbles
3. Good food and plenty of it
4. Great entertainment – you want a party!
And having been lucky enough to attend as a guest, Courtney and Andy’s wedding was one of the best I’ve ever been too, from the beginning to the end. Not only did they nail the critical components, but their wedding was relaxed, informal and FUN. A winning formula for a Fiji wedding!
We catch up with Courtney on how she planned and delivered an amazing wedding at Musket Cove Island Bar, Fiji:
How we met
Andrew and I have mutual friends who decided it was their mission to set us up on a date. Not being so keen on the whole blind date thing I kind of put it off so they invited me to a “friends” birthday BBQ. When I knocked on my friends door Andrew answered it and we knew we had been tricked! We hit it off right away and after rather a lot of Margaritas we decided we both quite liked each other. We haven’t really been apart since!
Photos by Malia Johnson:
What we wore:
I knew I wanted something a bit different and not traditional but I also had to keep in mind that it would be warm so fabric was a big deal. I went along to Rue de Seine in Auckland and basically tried on every dress. Funnily enough on the rack I had seen my dress and didn’t think it would suit me but as soon as I put it on I knew it was the one. The dress was called The Blake Gown.
I wanted the girls to feel comfortable and to look fun and flirty at the same time. It did take a while but I ended up finding the perfect dresses from Free People which I ordered online. Amazingly, they all fitted perfectly and we didn’t have to get any altered!
I found a great shop in Australia that I ordered my daughters dress from called Tea Princess, it was a super cut and great material. I had a girlfriend who was coming to the wedding living near by so she just bought it over for me.
Hair & Make Up:
This was an easy choice for me as I know the team at Totoka Hair and Make Up very well as I use them all the time for any event I go to. They were amazing as they knew my style and made me feel amazing! My bridesmaids and Mum also loved everything they did.
Andrew is more of a board shorts, t-shirt no shoes kind of guy so we decided to keep it casual with short sleeves and shirts. We knew of a local designer who we wanted to use called Malia Clothing. The pointed us to a custom fabric designer called Spoon Flower who had an amazing array of tropical patterned fabrics for us to chose from. We decided to have a bit of fun and go quite bright for the boys – it was either going to look hilarious or fabulous. Without a doubt they were fabulous and everyone commented on how great they were.
Photos by Mitch Stubbs:
Neither of us are very formal and being that we live in Fiji we wanted to make it a bit fun and tropical, lots of gold and silver pineapples and lush green leaves. For our table mats we used a big local green leaf called Vasili and the guests names were also written on a Heliconia leaf in silver pen.
I wanted to do as much of the planning myself as I have a lot of great connections here and wanted to use as many small local businesses as possible. This was made very easy due to the help of an amazing friend of mine Sally who has been in Fiji for a good 16 years and organised many large events. Funnily enough, on the first occasion we met (and before Andrew and I were even engaged) she told me that she was going to plan our wedding. Sally knew exactly what I envisioned for my Fiji wedding, so on the day I was actually very relaxed as I knew Sally was there with her run sheet and had everything under control.
Photos by Malia Johnson:
The ceremony was on the grass area at the end of the Island Bar at Musket Cove Resort Malolo Lailai.
The only thing I had that was bought in was the chairs for the ceremony. I used the white Tiffany chair from Party and Events Fiji. Everything else was already at Musket Cove Resort which made it nice and easy.
All the greenery and flowers and pineapples used were from a local farmer called Radha. He has a company called Landscaping and Turf and he was really easy to work with. I basically showed him pictures of everything I wanted and we decided on exact quantities of each and on the day everything turned up packaged and labelled so Sally and the gang could easily put everything together.
We decided to write our own vows, straight from the heart and very suiting to us and to our relationship.
Photos by Mitch Stubbs:
Our reception was at the popular local spot The Island Bar at Musket Cove Resort. Andrew and I both have a strong connection with this place and have each been coming here since before we met dating back at least 15 years, so it was a very easy decision for us.
We had canapés and drinks served at the ceremony area while we went off to have some very quick photos taken before the sunset with our photographer Mitch Stubbs. The Musket Cove Band played local music in the back ground making it a lovely spot for everyone to mingle and get into the Bula swing of things.
The tables had beautiful local greenery and pineapples spray painted silver and gold as the centre pieces. For the menu we decided we wanted sharing plates to keep it nice and casual but still looking and tasting amazing. With Andrew being a chef and us knowing exactly what we wanted, Andrew worked closely with Musket Cove head Chef Gareth to come up with a menu that showcased mine and Andrews favourite foods and also some great local produce.
Our dear friend Ihaka who will be Executive Chef at the up and coming Six Senses Fiji made our amazing pineapple cakes. Seriously clever guy and he totally outdid our expectations. He offered to make it for me before he knew what I had wanted – I warned him it was going to be a bit of a task but he pulled it off with ease.
For the Ceremony we had the Musket Cove band playing guitars and singing some local songs and then for the reception and after party our good friend Ria from New Zealand was our DJ and played great tunes for us to dance the night away barefoot in the sand.
Photos by Mitch Stubbs:
The day after the wedding (with everyone being a bit fragile) we had a casual BBQ at my uncles house on the Island. Everyone helped prepare and cook the food and ate and drank and swam until the sun went down.
Definitely having our nearest and dearest all together for our special day in this beautiful island paradise we call home. Getting show them all where we live and mixing our favourite people from different parts of our lives together. Our wedding was a once in a lifetime experience for us we will remember for ever.