I love seeing weddings that have those little touches that make the wedding unique to the Bride & Groom. Little things like the boutonnieres or the shoe’s that the groom & groomsmen wear. Having a Fiji Destination Wedding doesn’t mean you are limited to what your wedding will be – bring over those little touches and the day will be uniquely yours.
The Planning / We went with an incredible lady Karan, a wedding planner with Wedding Destinations, a company based in Melbourne who specialise in planning weddings overseas. Even though it was up to us to arrange for the services, photography, videography, hair and make-up, Karan ensured all communication with the resort was handled and they also assisted our guests with all their travel needs including our entire holiday, accommodation, transfers etc over there. They set up a facebook page, webpage and invites to assist with the preparation for the day. They reduced the stress factor a lot and their after care was fantastic. We arrived home to a beautiful bunch of flowers and a call to see how it all went. I was also able to contact her when ever I needed even once I got over there and realised I still had more planning to do. They also assisted with the marriage licence. After hearing how other brides have struggled with “Fijian time” and communication with their wedding coordinators over there, I’m so grateful that I pretty much just turned up and enjoyed the day.
The Hair & Nakeup / We used the fabulous Stanley Morrell from Bridesamfj a Fijian based company. He arrived with his very own photographer and he just took his time making sure everyone that he worked his magic on felt comfortable and beautiful. He played his music which was right up our alley and put me at ease to the point I just wanted to relax, have fun with the day and enjoy every moment. His communication was outstanding he threw ideas around by sending pictures of hairstyles leading up to the day. We were in regular contact and the day after the wedding he posted the very first photo’s I saw of our day which was a great touch. A month later and he is still in touch with notes of encouragement and appreciation of our day. He contributed in a big way to the special feeling you experience on your big day and there after.
The Theme / The bridesmaids wore Royal blue, the boys were in white & grey and we had parts of each of our cultures infused into our outfits which was a nice personal touch. We changed outfits as we entered the reception and wore tradition Tongan outfits handmade by Mika’s mother. These outfits are reserved for very special occasions in their culture, they were amazing!! (and comfortable 😉
The Ladies / The bridesmaids were in cobalt blue satine knee length dresses from Shieke with diamante barefoot sandals. I had numerous disasters with three different dresses falling through and because I had a group of girls with different body types it was hard to find a dress that would please everyone. I had almost reached “I’m totally over it” point when I just walked into a store and chose a dress based on the colour and how good it would look in the photo’s. I still ended up making alterations to the dresses to cater for the heavier busted ladies. In hindsight I would have gone with my gut and stuck with what I wanted instead of trying to make everyone happy because it’s impossible to do so and in the end I went with a dress that only one felt good wearing. Definately one thing that I would have done differently.
The Dress / I had a mermaid style strapless Ivory dress that consisted of a lace bodice that had incredible beading around the waist the bottom of the dress had numerous layers of tulle. Had a few layers removed as I didn’t want to overheat over there. This dress hugged all my curves and made me feel exquisite. For a girl who never grew up dreaming of wedding days or getting married when I tried this dress on I knew that it was the one and understood straight away what all that talk of feeling like a princess was all about. Because of all the beading on the dress I didn’t want to wear too much jewellery so I wore my late Nana’s pearls, and these stunning barefoot sandals that were had ivory pearls and diamante detailing. We were in the sand the entire day so there was no need for shoes at all, Great feeling!!
The Fellas / Wore grey bowler caps, white shirts, suspenders, grey bow-ties, grey cuffed chinos with white chucks.
The Flowers / The Bridesmaids were holding white lilies, The Bride was holding a woven bouquet in turquoise and gobalt blue, traditional of my Maori Culture and created by Flax Bouquet a company in New Zealand. The Grooms men and Groom each had a woven tourquoise buttonhole created by the same business whom did the bridal bouquet.
The Ceremony / Was held at the Beach Wedding Hut, Plantation Island Resort. I chose the vows when meeting the celebrant the morning of the wedding. Ironically the words that I chose were words of advice given to me by my parents early for the recipe for a long successful marriage.
The Reception / On the sand with the ocean directly behind us in a private area created especially for our reception. It had green and purple lights illuminating the area and the lighting was low. Even though it didn’t go with the colours we had chosen for the day it was still gorgeous.
Everything was white with tropical flowers used as centre pieces and white candles. We had tables made up of 5 and 6 for our guests. No one was tripping over anyone. The dance floor was in between the head table and the guest tables and we got up when ever we felt like a dance. Traditional dances were done here as well. Super casual but perfect for us 🙂
The Cake / Was a delicious chocolate cake, there was none left at the end of the night. We brought over some decorations with us as we were advised that there wasn’t the choice of artistic cake creations available to us over there. This was a little bit of a dissapointment for me as I always imagined we’d have an oversized work of art but even though it wasn’t the grandest of cakes it was tasty and everyone enjoyed eating it.
The Menu / Being of Maori and Tongan decent we opted for a traditional Fijian feast or Lovo. Which consisted of Meat cooked underground with vegetables, seafood, loads of coconut cream in the cooking. It was delicious and it still catered for all of our guests. We believed that while we were over there that it was a good idea for our guests to experience apart of the Fijian culture and that included their traditional food. The beautiful staff even made take home plates for the next day with the left overs which was great because I didn’t have an appetite on the day.
The End / The resort staff prepared plates of left over food for us to have the next day. Put all the unused alcohol that was allocated to us in eskies and gave it to us to drink at the main bar that although stopped serving at 1am they were still happy for anyone left to continue drinking at that location. They were so flexible and accommodating. We moved to the main bar as it just so happened that our parents and older guests were situated next to our reception so we moved on to keep the noise down.
The Highlight / Looking around and seeing people I love with the biggest grins on their faces having a blast. Would whole heartedly recommend marrying abroad as everyone gets to have such a magical holiday. The whole holiday at the Shangri La and especially Plantaion Island Resort was incredible.
The Advice/ Make sure that you keep an open mind and just be prepared for things that may change last minute or that may not work out as you would like. If you are a control freak maybe consider if this is right for you. Communicate clearly with what you want using pictures and in writing so that it’s clear to everyone and you also have a papertrail. Use skype where ever you can it really helped to establish relationships with people before I met them. Research as much as possible your suppliers and look for testimonials of previous clients and not on their website. A great way to find out information is to join these groups on Facebook like “I was married in fiji” and “Getting married in Fiji”. I only wished I had resources like this as I was preparing for our wedding. You’ll find plenty of honest opinions and ideas on there. People are only happy to answer questions and offer ideas. It’s also a great way to find out more about the destination you have chosen and get answers that you may not hear about from your wedding coordinator. Remember It only happens once and the day is over that fast I barely remember everything. So make sure you do what YOU want otherwise you’ll regret it after. I tried too hard to accommodate other peoples feelings and tastes but in the end I wish I hadn’t. Be in the moment and try to get your stressing and planning out of the way before you head over. I wasted days worrying about this and that and my husband had to keep reminding me where we were and why we were there. Document you time over there. I wish I had taken more video and photo’s I almost have none of our own and ended up getting home and relying on friends and family to send us copies of theirs. Finally, to avoid too many arguments with your future husband the less they know about details the better (unless they like that kinda stuff). If they knew what went into planning a wedding their heads would explode. They get over it and you want them to enjoy this day and not wish it over and done with. So save your venting and detail conversation for your bridesmaids that’s what they’re there for. Ask for help and try not to be a hero and do everything yourself. You will find that there are heaps of people prepared to help you out. Your husband will be so blown away with your efforts when he see’s the end result, not so much about the journey it took getting there. It’s pretty normal for a few heated discussions leading up as well. Any bride will tell you that all the hard work and tears and stress is all worth it in the end. Congratulations you made the best decision in the WORLD getting married in Fiji. The Fijian people are gorgeous and you will not regret this one bit, so get excited!!
Love a details response! Thank you Sarah! x