Planning your Wedding in Fiji
Getting Married in the Fiji Islands
For many, a Fiji beach wedding is the stuff of dreams: soft sand under your bare feet, the warm tropical sun, a light breeze on your face, curved palm trees as your altar. The islands are rightly marketed as one of the finest wedding destinations in the world and one of the most idyllic locations to get married.
Most days there's a Fiji wedding somewhere on a secluded palm-fringed beach, on a tiny uninhabited coral islands or beneath a tropical waterfall. The more adventurous get married whilst scuba diving and for those wishing for a more conventional wedding in Fiji, a handful of resorts have built their own beautiful oceanfront chapels for private ceremonies.
Most resorts offer Fiji wedding packages which generally include a minister or celebrant, assistance in obtaining the marriage license, flowers and leis, champagne and a candle lit dinner. Some include photographers, although these are usually not of a high professional standard so if photos of your wedding day are important it is highly recommended to seek out the services of an independent professional Fiji wedding photographer and there are a few decent ones to choose from in Nadi and Savusavu. If you want to hire a professional photographer from overseas you should theoretically apply for a temporary work permit on the grounds that you have been unable to find a local photographer to meet your needs - the Fiji government can be prickly!
Sunset weddings are a good option more for the fact that the heat wont be unbearable at that time of day - standing in full sun with a wedding dress and make-up can be pretty uncomfortable. The actual sunset in Fiji goes like a flash so don't hold out too much hope for those magical sunset shots.
If you're eloping to get married in Fiji then head out to one of the outer islands where the seclusion will make your special day even more enchanting. For those with friend and families in tow, one of the larger resorts on the Coral Coast or in the Mamanuca Islands make a more practical and convenient option, especially if small children are part of the ceremony.
Beach Locations for a Large Wedding in Fiji
If you've got a large wedding party, then obviously one of the larger resorts are going to be preferential for you. Keep in mind that the offshore islands are often more expensive to stay at for your guests and if your party is very big, then make sure you book early as rooms do fill up fast on these island resorts.
If you want to get married somewhere quiet but have families travelling with kids, then somewhere like Malolo Lailai maybe a good option - Lomani Resort is totally kids free, which might work for you and some of the other guests, whilst neighbouring Plantation is a real family resort and slightly further down the beach is Musket Cove which accommodates both kids and couples and gives your guests good options. Otherwise, The Outrigger Resort on the Coral Coast has a similar variety of neighbouring properties where your guests can choose where to stay. One place I wouldn't recommend is Denarau Island. Is won't feel that much different than home and there's bound to be plenty of people walking about and gawking at your ceremenony.
$$$$$Castaway Island Resort$$$$$
$$$$Musket Cove Resort$$$$$
$$$$Shangri-La Fijian Resort$$$$
$$$$Intercontinental Fiji Resort$$$$$
$$$Fiji Hideaway Resort$$$$
Resorts with Wedding Chapels
Getting married in a resort chapel can be a great idea if you don't like the heat - you get the tradition, you get air-conditioning and usually there's a beautiful beach outside where you can get your pictures.
$$$$Treasure Island Resort$$$$
$$$$Shangri-La Fijian Resort$$$$
$$$$Sheraton Fiji, Denarau Island$$$$
$$$$Sofitel Fiji Resort$$$$
$$$$Mana Island Resort$$$$$
Intimate Beach Ceremonies - Eloping in Paradise
If its just and your other half, and just a friend or two, then head out to an outer island where the intimate and secluded setting is going to give you that special feeling of having eloped.
$$$$$Matangi Island Resort$$$$$
$$$$$Matamanoa Island Resort$$$$$
Practicalities for Getting Married in Fiji
Getting married abroad is a good way of doing away with the stress of planning a wedding - there's not so much you can organise yourself from afar and so you're somewhat limited to the wedding co-ordinator's skills in arranging things.
A license is required for anyone wishing to get married in Fiji. These are obtainable within one working day from the Fiji Registry at either Nadi, Suva, Lautoka, Savusavu or Somosomo (Taveuni). Cost approx F$ 25, valid 21 days.
Flowers can be arranged from a specialist in Nadi or Suva, and flown in for the day - otherwise its up to the resort staff to pick local flowers and do their own arrangements - some resorts are very good at this indeed, especially those in the more tropical outer islands where flowers are in abundance ... but resorts in the Mamanucas, and especially the larger ones, tend to have fewer flowers available as what they do have are picked daily to dress the resort rooms. Here, it is advisable to ship them in. Beauticians and hair dressers can also be ferried in from Nadi or make sure one of your friends brings their curlers.
What You Need to Bring
Original birth certificates
Decree Absolute (divorce papers) if relevant
Officially witnessed consent of your father if you are under 21
Death certificate of deceased former spouse
For Catholic weddings, a letter of Freedom sent 2-3 months in advance to the Fijian Priest along with Baptism Certificates.
And most importantly a sense of humour ... Fijians are not the greatest time keepers and I've heard about countless weddings in Fiji where the minister turned up late, or the choir weren't quite ready.