"Our Fijian wedding!!!" Fiji Travelogue by leebee1
Fiji Travel Guide: 1,044 reviews and 3,111 photos
I started to think he was never going to ask...but as they say, better late than never!
15th July 2005 - Keith finally popped the question, and we set about planning the big day!
We chose to get married in Fiji as we wanted a small intimate wedding. We knew we weren't going to get away with that at home as we both have large families! When we announced our engagement we told our immediate families our plans, and hoped that they would join us - we were so excited when they said they would!
Choosing the venue was one of the hardest decisions. We liked several of the smaller islands, but felt we should keep the costs down for our travelling guests. We eventually decieded on Sonaisali Island Resort for its close proximity to Nadi - giving our guests the option of more affordable accomodation in town. This also saved them transfer costs to the outter islands and overnight accomodation waiting for flight transfers.
We decided to stay 7 nights at Sonaisali so we could spend time with our guests before and after the wedding. We also booked 5 nights at Matamanoa Island Resort for our 'honeymoon'.
So aprox 8 months out we went ahead and booked our flights/accomodation/wedding package. We had chosen April 22nd for our wedding date - our 6 year anniversary!
Whilst we were getting married in Fiji, we still wanted a traditional type wedding. Bridal party, location photography, reception etc.
We started communicating with the wedding co-ordinator straight away. She really was fantastic! I always got a same day response, and she was really patient (I emailed her alot).
We had various inclusions in our wedding package ie. brides bouquet, cake, dinner for 2 etc. There are all different variations on these that you get to choose. (colours, flavours etc)
We added quite a few extras to our basic package. Massages for the bride and groom, hair, makeup, bouquets for attendants, champagne and canapes after the ceremony on the beachfront, we booked a restaurant exclusively for our reception, extras flowers for our cake and restuarant and the bar tab. We also paid extra to get a tapa marriage certificate.
Whilst we booked all of this prior to our arrival, it can be organised when you get there.
We chose to forgo the included photographer and took our own instead.
We woke up to amazing weather. Blue skies, sunshine, 32 degrees.
After having breakfast together we rushed to The Plantation Restaurant (our reception venue) and set out our seating plan. We had put together gift bags for our guests to show our appreciation so we set those out. The resort staff could have done this for us, but we preffered to do it ourselves. They had arranged the tables beautifully in a T shape, with the bride and groom at the top of the table and guests down either side. They had arranged flowers all the way down the middle. I'm not sure what they were called, they looked similar to birds of paradise. They were vibrant red and orange in colour.
Following that we went and had our massages in the day spa, which was lovely. We then went our seperate ways to get ready.
I had 1 maid of honor and 2 flowergirls. Our hairdresser turned up at 11.30 (right on time). His name was Philip and he came to the resort from Nadi. We had not chosen how we wanted our hair as we did not know what to expect in terms of quality. I just told him I wanted my hair in a bun and that I would wear a veil for the ceremony only. I wanted my flowergirls hair half up, half down with tiaras, and my maid of honor could have whatever she wanted.
He was fantastic!!! He was soo funky and nice. I ended up with a braid starting from the nape of my neck, that ended in a bun. The plait from the end of my braid was weaved into my bun. Iloved it!!! He done a great job on the other girls before coming to give me a kiss and wishing me well. Its expensive - but worth it!
Our makeup artist was 40 mins late. So big tip - book things much earlier than you need them!!! It didnt impact on our day though, so it was fine. With that we didn't have much time for makeup so she done a quick job. She used Estee Lauder products, but didn't have many colours to choose from. If your worried, probably better off taking your own make up.
Our flowers were meant to arrive at 2pm, but these were also late. Not to mind - I had made the decision to not stress and just have a relaxing day!
Our photographer arrived and us girls went and had photos out the front of our bure and in the surrounding gardens. (the boys were getting ready at the other end of the resort). We chose to fly our photographer over as we were told resort staff are the ones who take the photos (as included in the wedding package). This is not true - its actually Ramesh Studios who do the photography. The package inclusion is just for 1 roll of film, though you can pay extra to have him stay longer. We took ours as we wanted full photographic coverage.
Our bouquets arrived just in the nick of time. We had chosen red Anthuriums,as ourtheme was tropical given the destination! We wanted vibrant colours and my maid of honor was wearing a red dress. Pretty much everything revolved around our flowers. (decoration wise)
Time went so fast before we knew it the wedding co-ordinator rang to tell us the fijian warriors and flowergirls were coming to pick us up. They would be 5 minutes. We should have known better with the whole "Fiji time" thing, but none the less we shut up our room and waited and waited and waited....
This is when I started to get really nervous about maybe falling into the water whilst getting put onto the boat or something. My maid of honour and flowergirls were all excited and chatting and giggling - I was soo nervous I had to tell them to shhhh!
The Fijian escorts eventually came after about 10 minutes. (felt like hours). We were led to the beachfront to get on the boat. It was decorated nicely with palm leaves over the sides and top, and a flower arch over the front. My attendants got on first and then I was placed into a chair, and the 4 warriors lifted the chair onto the front of the boat. The chair is just a plastic chair but is covered with white material so you dont get dirty.
Whilst on the boat I took the time to soak in the moment. It was a beautiful day and my husband to be was waiting for me just up the beach at the wedding bure. From there on in, I couldn't get the smile off my face!
As we approcahed the beating of the Lali drum started, whilst the fijian choir sang. I really couldn't remember this, it was all a blur until I watched the video afterwards. (our guests took video).
All resort guests are invited to witness weddings - I don't remember them either. I just remember waiting to see my husband to be and not being able to stop smiling!
The wedding bure was decorated beautifully with tropical flowers.
The ceremony was short and sweet. it was very emotional as my new husband had tears - I just couldn't stop smiling!!!
My maid of honor was supposed to do a reading for us which we had pre organised, but the celebrant was confused - so we didn't worry about it.
We recieved our marriage certifcate and because you don't get a commemorative one we made our own and the celebrant signed it for us so we could frame when we got home.
After the ceremony we had champagne and canapes and group photos. Then our guests were led to the pool bar whilst we had our location photography. It was perfect, we played in hammocks, drunk champagne by the pool and watched the sunset. We had just enough time before the lighting was no good for photos.
Resort guests stopped and congratulated us - so that was nice.
Our reception started at 6pm. We had picked out all our music on discs and given it to the wait staff who took care of it for us. The restaurant was really perfect and dimly lit with candles on the tables. The service was great (black tie). We chose Menu 1 and the food was divine!!! Our guests are still raving about it. The meal of the day was the duck and lobster salad. Such a flavour infusion. We ordered kids meals for the kids and they loved it. We had 3 courses, finishing with our cake. The cake was single tier decorated with the tropical flowers we had ordered as extras. Everyone had fun dancing and we finished up about 11.30 I think.
( We wook our included dinner for 2 the day after the wedding)
Overall, the day was just perfect!!! We couldn't be happier!
We have both discussed if we would have done anything differently since our return and we've both agreed - we wouldn't change a thing!!!
PS. everyone thought I was crazy for choosing red flowers to sit on a red dress (my maid of honor), I'm glad I stuck with it though as it looks beautiful in our photos.
***Professional photos now added***
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