Since posting Ten Reasons To Have A Destination Wedding, I’ve had quite a few of you message me wanting to know more about our own Fiji wedding. So, I’ve put together a bit of a run-down of the day itself. Who knows, you might end up planning your own wedding in Fiji.
As I mentioned in the last post, we decided to get married for a few reasons, but the main two were the convenience for family traveling from New Zealand, and finding a happy place free of any stress since wedding planning can get super stressful.
We were married at the stunning Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa in Denarau. This was an excellent option because it meant limited in-country travel and was a convenient place for our guests to plan activities from.
While many of us stayed at the Sofitel, others stayed at various hotels close-by since there are so many options in Denarau. This meant people had their own space and could work to their own budgets or other requirements (such as apartments for families).
before the wedding
It was important for us to arrive with time to spare to tend to some final details. We flew in on the Tuesday and had some dinner at the resort with some friends who had also arrived that day. On the Wednesday, we went into Nadi to the registry office. Because we were legally getting married in Fiji (not just having an unofficial ceremony) we needed to complete the relevant legal paperwork.
In the afternoon, we set aside some time to meet with the Sofitel’s wedding coordinator. She was able to make sure the Reverend was ready to go, and coordinate flowers, music, Warrior Escort, and steaming of dresses to make sure they were crinkle-free on the day.
We had guests arriving on different days before the wedding, so we chartered a yacht on the Thursday before the wedding for anyone who could make it and wanted to come. A gorgeous lunch and lots of drinks were provided, as well as two jet skis. We had an absolute blast that day, cruising around to different islands, snorkeling, dancing on board and socialising. That night we had dinner at the Nadi Farmers Club (think the Fijian version of our RSL clubs) where we ordered towers of beer (yep!) and watched traditional island dances – one of them, the proposal dance, was even dedicated to us!
Other than the Thursday, we didn’t organise any activities for our guests (wedding aside, of course) because we felt everyone should be given the chance to make their own holiday since they’d travelled so far. But many hours were spent eating together, socialising with cocktails by the pool, and exploring Fiji.
On the day, we ordered breakfast in our rooms before hair and makeup arrived. It was a bit tricky to get exactly what I wanted since, being in a foreign country, I hadn’t had the opportunity to have a practice run. But all in all the end result was good. I’d gone to get a spray tan and my nails done before flying out and everything lasted – though I was pretty brutally sunburnt from the sailing trip. Oops!
A Fijian Warrior Escort walked us up to the chapel, which was a beautiful little white wooden structure tight on the beach. It was perfect. Then a trio of Fijian ukelele serenaders played as we walked in. Again, I hadn’t had a rehearsal so I pretty much ran down the aisle (I was a bit excited!) and my poor Dad, who was giving me away, just kind of had to keep the pace.
It was, being Fiji in December, raining just as I entered the chapel (not pouring though). We had originally planned to have drinks and photos outside after the ceremony, but had to move them last minute. The balcony upstairs by the Ballroom provided the perfect location.
Unfortunately, the Sofitel Fiji has converted the chapel into a bar. However, an outdoor service here would still be spectacular.
Wedding Vendors In Fiji
Our photographers were so warm and friendly and they worked well with us… Especially considering we are two of the most awkward and unphotogenic people in existence. They relaxed us and had a joke with us, which was so special.
I had pretty carefully chosen (dictated) the playlist and the DJ did a great job at the reception. Honestly, it’s all kind of a blur now, which I think is pretty standard for most weddings (it’s a big day!) but we partied pretty hard too. The food was excellent; a traditional Fijian lovo was prepared for us, which is a feast cooked in an underground oven. It was really unique and perfect for our guests.
We did have an issue with our cake. It looked nothing like we ordered! I believe that was due to messages not getting through from the person we booked the wedding with. So honestly, cut out the middleman and speak directly to the wedding coordinator the hotel will provide you with. Just need to add though, the cake tasted brilliant! We wanted a Black Forest Cake and we were told it wouldn’t hold. A Black Forest is a chocolate sponge, so they changed the cake to make it chocolate mud but still with the cream and cherries. Perfect!
Wedding Reception – the big party
Our wedding reception, held in the ballroom, was fantastic. The hotel set up everything for us (tables, DJ etc) and flower arrangements for each table were included in the package.
We booked a drinks package until 10pm and then hosted an open bar from 10-midnight (thanks Dad for covering this!) This worked really well and actually, the final bar tab wasn’t that high – my Dad certainly expected it to be higher – because the drinks had been flowing nicely through the package up until 10pm. Bar staff and servers were on hand for anything we needed.
The other lovely thing the Sofitel did was to allow us to keep partying. We had to be out of the ballroom at midnight, but they opened another bar for us well after closing time. They also gave us the equipment we needed to plug our music into their sound system. Then they charged by the drink and let us part on all night! And that was the key for us – the Sofitel could not have been more accommodating in any way. When we warned them that our party were big eaters and drinkers they simply said: “that’s great for business! We’ll put more staff on!” And then they went above and beyond for us every step of the way.
Yes, it was the best day of our lives.
As with any event, there are some things we’d do differently or pay more attention to if we had our time again. We were young (and the first of our friends to get married, so nothing to compare it to!) and on a strict budget. We were also trying to work around some other personal factors with the wedding. Add to that, trying to make sure people were happy but that we still got the wedding that we wanted.
Yes, there are little things we would tweak if we had our time again. But we 100% made the right decision for us in hosting our wedding in Fiji. And as I’ve said before, I highly recommend it as an option if you find yourself planning a wedding sometime soon.
If you do have any questions though just email me (email@example.com). There are some things I’ve kept vague here because the internet is a big place. But I’d be happy to answer your questions or point you in the direction of some great vendors.
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