Do I have a wedding to get back into the swing of things with! I found the wedding of Ilaitia & Ché on Instagram and it caught my attention, a stunning Shangri-La Fiji wedding that has all the elements of style and simplicity. Oh! and a whole lotta love!

Captured by destination wedding photographer Melissa Cowan, Ché shares with us the details of their day.

Bula Bride Fiji Wedding Blog / Ilaitia & Ché — Shangri-La Fiji Wedding. Captured by Melissa Cowan PhotographyBula Bride Fiji Wedding Blog / Ilaitia & Ché — Shangri-La Fiji Wedding. Captured by Melissa Cowan Photography

The Hair & Makeup/ Mine and my bridesmaids hair was done by Totoka Hair Fiji. They were fantastic, so fun to have around on the day and very thorough. They also did 5 of my bridesmaids makeup. My sister Asher Gibbins of Asher Artistry was responsible for making me feel incredible by bringing to life my vision for my makeup. It lasted all night and I couldn’t be happier with the result. Asher works for MAC cosmetics in Melbourne and used all MAC products.

Bula Bride Fiji Wedding Blog / Ilaitia & Ché — Shangri-La Fiji Wedding. Captured by Melissa Cowan PhotographyBula Bride Fiji Wedding Blog / Ilaitia & Ché — Shangri-La Fiji Wedding. Captured by Melissa Cowan Photography

The Location/ We were fortunate enough to have attended a wedding at The Shangri-La 5 years earlier when Ilaitias sister was married there. I had stored that chapel away in my mind for the future. This dominant white building sitting between leafy hedges on top of the perfectly manicured grass. The glass interior gives the feeling of being outside, looking out to the sea and up at the sky. A huge benefit that we had seen the venue before getting married there.

Bula Bride Fiji Wedding Blog / Ilaitia & Ché — Shangri-La Fiji Wedding. Captured by Melissa Cowan PhotographyBula Bride Fiji Wedding Blog / Ilaitia & Ché — Shangri-La Fiji Wedding. Captured by Melissa Cowan Photography

The Dress/ I had a very clear image in my head of what I wanted my dress to look like for a very long time. I knew that searching the shops wasn’t going to come up with the goods so I looked online. I found a dress that had a similar skirt to what I wanted so I bought it very cheaply, with the intention of having it adapted to what I wanted. I took it to a dress maker in Spain where she added extra layers of tulle and tutu fabric to make it fuller and bigger. The top and skirt were two separate pieces. The top was custom made by the same dressmaker in Spain and final touch ups and alternations by a dressmaker in New Zealand. The top was all lace, with extra pieces of lace sewn into any gaps, as I didn’t want any skin showing. I then had a separate sweetheart neckline bodice made for later in the evening in case I got too hot. This dress is well traveled! I transported it as my hand luggage, all the way from Spain to New Zealand, and then of course to Fiji.

Bula Bride Fiji Wedding Blog / Ilaitia & Ché — Shangri-La Fiji Wedding. Captured by Melissa Cowan PhotographyBula Bride Fiji Wedding Blog / Ilaitia & Ché — Shangri-La Fiji Wedding. Captured by Melissa Cowan PhotographyBula Bride Fiji Wedding Blog / Ilaitia & Ché — Shangri-La Fiji Wedding. Captured by Melissa Cowan Photography

The Planning/ We got engaged 3 years before we were married. But we were in the thick of planning 12 months prior to the day. Some brides love the planning stages of a wedding. The Pinterest pages, the folders, the shopping, the themes. I sat somewhere in the middle. I didn’t want the stress of it to get on top of me which can so easily happen, so I tried to keep it simple. Given that we live in Spain, away from all family and the support of my bridesmaids, those stresses were bound to creep in and made planning that little bit more difficult. But that is the great thing about having a destination wedding, a lot of the work is done for you. Which suited me and our unique situation perfectly. I made sure I didn’t add too many extra things outside of our package, to try and keep extra work to a minimum. Luckily theses days you don’t have to move too far from your own computer screen to get things done!

Bula Bride Fiji Wedding Blog / Ilaitia & Ché — Shangri-La Fiji Wedding. Captured by Melissa Cowan PhotographyBula Bride Fiji Wedding Blog / Ilaitia & Ché — Shangri-La Fiji Wedding. Captured by Melissa Cowan PhotographyBula Bride Fiji Wedding Blog / Ilaitia & Ché — Shangri-La Fiji Wedding. Captured by Melissa Cowan PhotographyBula Bride Fiji Wedding Blog / Ilaitia & Ché — Shangri-La Fiji Wedding. Captured by Melissa Cowan Photography

The Bridesmaids / All my bridesmaids dresses were different. I bought them all online (most through Asos) my intention being finding dresses that I loved and then deciding who I felt suited that particular dress. I didn’t intend on keeping to a particular colour theme but they turned out to go really well together. These women totally stole the show, they looked incredible.

Bula Bride Fiji Wedding Blog / Ilaitia & Ché — Shangri-La Fiji Wedding. Captured by Melissa Cowan Photography Bula Bride Fiji Wedding Blog / Ilaitia & Ché — Shangri-La Fiji Wedding. Captured by Melissa Cowan PhotographyBula Bride Fiji Wedding Blog / Ilaitia & Ché — Shangri-La Fiji Wedding. Captured by Melissa Cowan PhotographyBula Bride Fiji Wedding Blog / Ilaitia & Ché — Shangri-La Fiji Wedding. Captured by Melissa Cowan PhotographyBula Bride Fiji Wedding Blog / Ilaitia & Ché — Shangri-La Fiji Wedding. Captured by Melissa Cowan PhotographyBula Bride Fiji Wedding Blog / Ilaitia & Ché — Shangri-La Fiji Wedding. Captured by Melissa Cowan Photography

The Highlight/ Seeing everyone having such a good time was one of the highlights for me. When you plan a wedding, especially a destination wedding when everyone has spent so much money, taken time away from their lives to be there for you it means everything to have your guests enjoy their experience. And when you put so much effort into making it enjoyable, it’s so rewarding to look around and see everyone loving this experience.

Bula Bride Fiji Wedding Blog / Ilaitia & Ché — Shangri-La Fiji Wedding. Captured by Melissa Cowan PhotographyBula Bride Fiji Wedding Blog / Ilaitia & Ché — Shangri-La Fiji Wedding. Captured by Melissa Cowan PhotographyBula Bride Fiji Wedding Blog / Ilaitia & Ché — Shangri-La Fiji Wedding. Captured by Melissa Cowan PhotographyBula Bride Fiji Wedding Blog / Ilaitia & Ché — Shangri-La Fiji Wedding. Captured by Melissa Cowan Photography

The Advice/ We were so lucky to have been to Fiji several times before and were able to check out venues. It can be hard planning a wedding in place you’ve never seen before so if it’s at all possible, I would suggest a little holiday to Fiji before your wedding to scope out the venues!

—//—

Photography | Melissa Cowan Photography
Location | Shangri-La Fijian Resort & Spa
Hair | Totoka Hair & MakeupCake | Taste Fiji
Band | InsideOut

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