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Planning a Wedding in Fiji??
By Mrs Linda Brewer CMC JP(Qual), Brisbane
10 October 2012

 

There is a growing trend for couples to travel to the beautiful and romantic Pacific Islands for their wedding, with Fiji being one of the most popular destinations. 

I recently had the great honour of participating in the marriage ceremony for my niece, Amanda, and her fiancé, James, at the Sheraton Fiji.  Of course as a Civil Marriage Celebrant, registered to perform marriages in Australia, I was unable to do this without the assistance of a Fijian celebrant to perform the legal parts of the ceremony. 

I was lucky enough to have Claude Fongtoy as my partner and we worked together to perform the most memorable ceremony for the James & Amanda and our family and friends.  What a wonderful experience!

Of course getting married overseas and communicating mostly by email has its difficulties.

Here are 5 things to remember when planning a wedding in Fiji.

     
  1. "Fiji time" really does exist!  Relax, everything happens, but it happens slowly. 
  2. Be specific - if you are planning a big or detailed wedding, it helps to be really clear about how you want everything to look.  Put everything in writing and have labelled diagrams for the reception set up, and specific instructions for  the florist etc. Some of the information can get lost in their copious emails, so being organised yourself and being as specific as you can with the Fijian suppliers means you are more likely to get exactly what you want! 
  3. Independent wedding coordinator - the resorts offer you a wedding coordinator but they are very busy and tend to only deal with your wedding a few weeks out. Having an independent wedding coordinator is a good idea and there is no cost to use them. James & Amanda used Wendy from Fiji Event Management who are based in NZ but exclusively coordinate events for the Starwood group (Sheraton & Westin). There are lots of businesses in Australia and New Zealand that offer this service.
  4. Research - do a lot of research before you choose a location to get married in Fiji.   There are hundreds of fantastic resorts to choose from and they all offer something different. There are also plenty of independent companies in Fiji that do set-up, hair and makeup, flowers etc, so you aren't limited to what your resort can offer. 
  5. Facebook - there is a Facebook group called "I was married in Fiji" which has hundreds of past and future Fiji brides as well as wedding suppliers in Fiji (make up artists, florists, photographers / videographers etc) who all share experiences and queries. This group helped my niece so much with her planning and answered so many of her questions.

If you are planning your special day in Fiji - Good Luck and with careful planning you won't be disappointed.  Bula!

Linda Brewer

Civil Marriage Celebrant