LuvTrip Romantic Getaways

Best Fiji Destination Weddings

by Lorry Heverly

Weddings in Fiji are tropically romantic, enticingly exotic and an experience unlike anywhere else on earth. With more than 300 idyllic islands, scattered like peacock green pearls on the crossroads of the South Pacific, Fiji features an alluring pallet of locations for that special day from wedding-white beaches to fragrant sun-kissed gardens.

Extraordinary weddings are spiced with Fijian culture and traditions. Barefoot warriors in grass skirts, ceremonial tattoos and war clubs, escort the bride to the Bili Bili, (a bamboo raft or boat) festooned in fragrant flowers. The bride is stunning in a long, hand-painted Tapa dress, a cloth made from the bark of a Fijian tree which is pounded into soft fabric, painted in traditional patterns, and accented with a salusalu (necklace of fresh flowers). Seated on a throne under thatched palm leaves, the bride begins her journey into a new life with a boat ride across the golden bay at sunset. A warrior blows the dauvi, a conch shell, signaling the start of the wedding procession.

Warriors parade the groom to the beach where he anxiously awaits his bride under an archway of tropical blooms. A choir of men, women and children from the local village break into a joyful song of celebration- their voices so heavenly one would think angels had come to earth to sing along on this very special day. As the primitive lali drum beats, the arriving bride is met by warriors who sweep her off her feet, carrying her to the groom.

After exchanging vows in a traditional western ceremony, the couple takes a private ride in the bili bili before joining guests at the kava ceremony. Yaqona, or kava, is a mildly intoxicating beverage made from the crushed roots of pepper plants. This national nonalcoholic drink is served from the Tanoa, a shallow bowl with legs, and consumed with coconut cups. The ceremony creates a spirit of place and is a symbol of good luck. Receptions often include a traditional lovo feast. Chicken, pork and fish are wrapped in green leaves, buried in the ground and cooked, similar to a Hawaiian luau. Songs and celebration dances by villagers, called a meke, entertain guests and locals alike.

A destination wedding in Fiji can be as simple or elaborate as the couple chooses. Intimate ceremonies on a private island or remote beach, often hard to find in the Caribbean or Mexico, and exotic South Pacific elements of the Fijian culture add to the uniqueness of this destination. A popular trend with couples today is to forgo the traditional church wedding, opting for a 'weddingmoon' where the ceremony and honeymoon are in the same location. Destination weddings are usually less expensive and reduce stress often caused by family involvement, which is not always positive. Many resorts in Fiji offer the assistance of a wedding planner to help the couple seamlessly create the wedding of their dreams. Wedding choice's range from private ceremonies on the beach to a full traditional Fijian event, with wedding packages to suit every budget.

After the big day, newlyweds will discover that the islands of Fiji are a natural for a romantic honeymoon. Imagine the lull of lapping waves as you sleep in your oceanfront bure. Awaken to birds singing in the swaying coconut palms. Make footprints in a desolate beach or discover hidden waterfalls in the rainforest. Explore the underwater world of colorful coral and fishes in an azure blue lagoon or visit a friendly Fijian village where you arrive as visitors and leave as friends.

Fiji sets the stage for creating the wedding of your dreams, where anything is possible and romance is limited only by one's imagination.

There is no waiting period. Couples apply for a marriage license at the Registrar General's office in Suva or Lautoka, close to Nadi Airport. A licence costs around $10 and no blood tests are required. Couples will need valid passports and, if previously divorced, a decree of dissolution.

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