When I spotted the photos of American couple Mandy & Scott eloping at Royal Davui I was immediately taken in by the beautiful simplicity of their day. It spoke to me of everything a wedding is supposed to be – a celebration of love, two people hand in hand, sharing a special promise to each other. I immediately contacted Mandy to ask her to share her Fiji elopement story and fortunately she agreed. Being a travel writer herself it’s been an easy and beautiful read uncovering her journey from falling in love to getting married in Fiji.
Mandy shares with us her story.
A couple of summers ago my father called and asked me to come home and spend the summer with him because he was ill. I am a travel, health, and lifestyle writer and luckily had the flexibility to do so. I made the arrangements and drove across the United States from North Carolina to Utah to see my dad in the hospital on July 4th.
Little did I know that my parents new next door neighbour would be my future husband. Scott, was his name. We met in passing a few times, and one day I made brownies and took them over to say hello. We sat on his front porch talking for about an hour and then I left. The next time I saw him he asked if I wanted to go on a motorcycle ride with him, but I was leaving for Santiago, Chile. He kind of looked at me like, who are you? I laughed and walked away.
Upon my return there was a happy birthday sign in his yard. This convinced me he had a girlfriend, since he still had not asked for my phone number. Well no harm done in buying a man a 12 pack of craft beer on his birthday, and so I took him a gift. He still never asked for my phone number, so I left him a note on his truck. We went out to dinner one time before I left for a Mexico trip at the end of the summer. I was not planning on coming back to Utah until the holidays at this point, and really did not know what would happen.
Fast forward to December that year. We kept in touch via text message, but one thing I could not shake is how much I was thinking of him, someone I really barely knew. When I came home for Christmas that year, we hit it off immediately, and started dating, I spent time between between North Carolina, Utah, and cloudsurfing (flying for work). When I made the decision to permanently move to Salt Lake City late in the spring of 2016, we both knew we would be together for the rest of our lives. He asked me to marry him December 3, 2016, and well, the rest is history.
Choosing to get married in Fiji
I will give the credit to Scott for choosing Fiji. We wanted to go to a place the neither of us had ever been, and he knew my love for the beach. As a travel writer, I have been to many locations. We talked about options for several months. Good friends in Mérida, Mexico offered to let us use their Hacienda for our wedding, a place I travel to often. But we wanted to have something special that was just ours, and Fiji was it. Royal Davui sounded like the perfect place to spend 10 days as Mr. and Mrs.
We knew we did not want a traditional wedding. We wanted to have a small celebration with close family and friends, however we wanted to say our vows privately. So we chose to do a 48 hour celebration in Asheville, North Carolina where I had been living, and then spend our wedding day together just the two of us.
(You can read all the details on Asheville and Fiji here on my blog)
We were married two days after arriving, allowing time for jet lag and time change to catch up with us. The morning of our vow ceremony, we sipped morning coffee from our warm splash pool overlooking an ocean where humpback whales and dolphins danced majestically, almost providing us an omen, that we were meant to be. It started magical, and continued through the entire day. Our photographer, Kezia, from Ocean Studio Photography (who was amazing), arrived to do a pre-ceremony photo shoot, where tender tears of joy escaped each of our eyes as we relished in the rare love we have.
I wore a Maggie Soterro dress purchased from The Perfect Dress in Salt Lake City, Utah. Scott chose his own attire – nothing special or fancy – just something that would match my dress and the Fiji beach!
I decided not to have anyone do my hair or makeup in Fiji – we wanted everything to be natural – and have photos from the day that reflected us and would be timeless.
The décor and set up was all done by Kimi from Royal Davui – and it could not have been more perfect. We wanted simple and he made it perfection.
We wrote our own vows and Sparky the electrician for Royal Davui was our officiant. He was amazing. We both teared up when we said our vows. And what Sparky said to us will always stick with us – 1 + 1 = 1, and it is true, there is not a more perfect explanation of how we feel about each other and why we chose to live the best of our years hand in hand.
The day following the ceremony we had a picnic lunch on the sand cay, a deserted beach the size of a football field exposed out of the turquoise waters for a few hours each day. A reminder, that if ever in a situation where you could choose only one person to be by your side, it should be that person sharing that moment with you.
Advice for planning a Fiji Elopement
Take time to enjoy the moments. Do not take a cell phone! Our highlight of the trip was waking up and having coffee in the splash pool watching humpback whales splash in the ocean in front of us.
Recommended activities: See Suva – Go to the markets and each fresh pineapple, buy fish from the market. Snorkel or diving – whichever is your thing. At Royal Davui – picnic lunch on the sand cay.
The little moments of smiles and connection were almost life changing, inspiring new ideas and motto’s to live by. Royal Davui was our perfect way to make a commitment to each other for life and beyond that we promise to honour, respect, love, laugh, and live our life to the fullest together.