Renowned for romance, Fiji is a long-time honeymooners’ hotspot. But these days, more and more couples are choosing to also tie the knot on this photogenic patch of paradise, closing the wedding/honeymoon gap and turning their Big Day into the trip of a lifetime. Whatever your wedding style – intimate, large-scale, offbeat, elopement – Fiji is a fabulous place to say ‘I do’.
The real question is: why not Fiji?
This tropical nation is balmy and beautiful year-round, making it a top-notch spot for an outdoor wedding whatever the month, and its unforgettable (and eminently Instagrammable) backdrops of sea, sand, rainforest, waterfalls and mountains ensure enviable wedding pics wherever you decide to exchange vows.
Such splendor comes at a cost – a low cost. For a fraction of the price of a wedding in many other countries, you could get hitched (and honeymoon) in swoon-worthy style; affordable wedding- package deals mean your nearest and dearest can join you as you walk down the aisle
Another bonus; it’s easy! Most resorts have on-staff wedding coordinators who can organize everything – from the venue and the catering to flowers and photography- even Fijian choirs and warriors for that special touch. Want to get married on a remote South Seas sand spit or private island? Done. How about a kava ceremony to ensure a mellow start to matrimony? Also done. And say goodbye to bland chicken and fish dishes at your reception: opt for a lovo – a traditional Fijian feast where food is cooked in an underground oven – instead.
Those eager to get their marriage off to a great start are in luck: you’ll find exclusive resorts galore in Fiji. Strewn across the islands and perched on Fiji’s trademark white sands beside equally iconic turquoise lagoons, private paradises include Matangi Private Island Resort (off the ‘Garden Isle’ of Taveuni), replete with ridiculously romantic treehouse love-nests; Tokoriki Island Resort, which boasts a darling thatched-roof stone chapel and on-site ‘Romance Coordinator’; and the to-die-for Likuliku Lagoon Resort (Malolo Island), which is actually above a lagoon – its luxe accommodations were Fiji’s first overwater bures (traditional thatched dwellings). For the most intimate of ceremonies, rafts of resorts – such as Yasawa Island Resort and Royal Davui Island Resort – offer increasingly popular (and highly affordable) elopement packages.
Whether you’ve got a super-sized entourage of relatives or are keen on having everyone from your best friend’s second cousin to your colleague in accounting attend your big day, Fiji’s larger resorts have you covered. Viti Levu (the ‘big island’) and the Mamanuca Island chain just offshore house most of Fiji’s bigger venues: Musket Cove Island Resort (Malolo Lailai Island) can accommodate wedding parties of up to 100, while the heftiest of clans can celebrate en masse at the Sheraton Fiji Resort on Denarau Island – it can host up to 1600 guests. For those who can’t make the journey, the Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa on the Coral Coast offers a live-feed from its wedding pavilion so folks can watch back home.
Weddings with a twist
It’s not just resorts and hotels that host exciting nuptials in Fiji; couples can take their vows in a variety of venues ranging from quirky to quaint. Nature-lovers can indulge in flowery festivities at the gorgeous Garden of the Sleeping Giant or Flora Tropica Gardens; hit the heights of romance in the mountains of the Nausori Highlands; or make a splash with a ceremony at Taveuni’s Bouma Falls. Like to be in the Great Outdoors but not that outdoors? Both Namale Resort and Spa or Savasi Island Resort offer the romantic grotto ceremony of your dreams. And for those who simply can’t get enough of each other, a private ceremony straddling the International Dateline allows you to let that first kiss as newlyweds linger over two days at once.
Weddings with a Fijian flair
Looking for something completely different? For brides, how about being escorted down the aisle by a group of traditionally clad Fijian warriors, or transported to the ceremony on a garland-draped bilibili (raft)? Fiji can make it happen. Perhaps you would like to wear a traditional Fijian gown, or have a Fijian choir as part of the ceremony – those are some of the most popular options of all. Plenty of resorts also offer brides the chance to be carried to their groom in a flower-and-palm-leaf strewn wooden throne, complete with a conch-blowing choir. And if you and your betrothed take ‘taking the plunge’ literally, Koro Sun Resort and Rainforest Spa on Vanua Levu offers underwater weddings.
Getting married in Fiji is a surprisingly simple proposition. Lots of websites offer guidelines and advice; if you’re opting for a resort wedding, there’s a good chance they’ll be able do all the planning and organizing for you. Main points to note:
Fijian weddings are legally binding and recognized worldwide. You’ll need to obtain a marriage license upon arrival in Fiji and provide the required legal documentation including birth certificates and a “Single Status Certificate” proving you’re not already married. Not to worry, your resort’s wedding coordinator can help with all this too!
Free tourist visas (lasting 90 days) are granted on arrival to citizens of more than 100 countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and most countries belonging to the European Union.