Make your wedding location as memorable as the marriage. Come to our Pacific paradise and tie the knot in spectacular beachside style with everything taken care of by a team of professional planners which will ensure you and your guests not only get to celebrate your big day, but enjoy a holiday at the same time. For more on weddings in paradise see, among others, our themed food, fashion and gardening stories this issue.

There are almost as many ways to get married as there are terms and definitions for getting hitched from cynical to sensitive – tying the knot, taking the plunge, jumping the broom, holy matrimony, dropping anchor, popping the question, wedlock, union and there are marriages of convenience, shotgun weddings, and on and on ..

However you choose to describe your nuptials almost everyone hopes the match will be ‘made in heaven’.

We’ve found heaven on earth and it’s right here in the South Pacific.

Memorable marriages are made in memorable places and our islands have plenty of these on offer. And once you’ve chosen the location you can opt for big and brassy to boutique and bijou, you can arrive by limo, helicopter or boat or just walk along the beach or directly from your room – easy.

Fiji and Vanuatu are the two hottest wedding locations and there are many hotels, resorts, private beachfront villas and islands that cater for every wedding whim and take care of all the details from hair and makeup to food and beverage, to table decoration, flowers, transport and photography (aerial too if you like). Professional wedding planning is a booming business.

We’ve come up with a few destinations that are sure to fit the bill – literally and figuratively. Just decide whether you want to be on the beach by the pool or on the lagoon, lots of friends to accommodate or children to consider, it’s all covered.

Fiji Festivities

On the Coral Coast of Fiji the Fiji Hideaway Resort and Spa offer a service they describe as one you’ll enjoy “surrounded by loved ones in a romantic beachside setting. With beautiful venue setting options to suit your needs, you can choose from a poolside chapel wedding overlooking the ocean, a beach wedding at Hideaway Point or an authentic Fijian wedding at our quaint village church.” And they’ll provide a night in their luxurious Honeymoon Bure and a romantic breakfast as part of the package. They also have a dedicated wedding coordinator who will ensure every last detail is taken care of. Priced from FJ$2599. Contact: phone: +679 650 0177, email: reservations@hideaway.com.fj
or www.hideawayfiji.com

The world is your Oyster

Why not do something that will really surprise your friends and family and take the Oyster Island option off Vanuatu’s big island of Espiritu Santo. This gorgeous self contained island resort is a short drive from Santo airport and offers the perfect island getaway environment for a unique wedding. Your guests will be delivered by a small boat after a two minute trip from the mainland and then stay in an array of overwater bungalows which enjoy some of the most spectacular sunset views in the Pacific. The resort will help you arrange themed or traditional weddings (or simply vow renewals if that’s what you’re thinking), a fully catered reception for up to 60 guests, a licensed bar, a wedding planner and private island honeymoon accommodation. Where your dreams become reality. www.oysterisland.com

Honeymoon haven

If you’re looking for luxury, romance and privacy in an idyllic tropical setting then Narawan Retreat is quite possibly the best place for a honeymoon in Vanuatu. Its luxurious beach villa accommodation is just metres from the ocean and when you wake to the sunrise you need not lift your head from your pillow to take in the stunning ocean views. When you book Narawan you book the entire property so it’s just you, your loved one and the caring attentive staff to look after you.

Your personal onsite hostess is there to organise anything you desire, Narawan is the ultimate honeymoon environment and will arrange your own personal honeymoon package, it’s your honeymoon after all.

To learn more about Narawan or make a booking you can visit their website www.narawanretreat.com.

Book the entire resort

Located in Pacific Harbour, Fiji’s adventure capital Uprising Beach Resort offers couples the option of buying out the entire resort ensuring perfect privacy for you and your guests. An authentic island experience with the convenience of being on the ‘mainland’ is another reason to opt for a wedding at Uprising where up to 100 guests can be included in this intimate and exclusive getaway. The resort has a professional guest services manager backed up by a dedicated team to ensure all runs smoothly on your special day. They can tailor a package to suit or you can choose an existing version which has been tried and tested. In addition you and your friends can take advantage of the direct access to many of Fiji’s most sought after adventure activities from a cage-free shark dive to white water rafting. See: www.uprisingbeachresort.com

Get to the Point

The Havannah Vanuatu is another perfect location for your tropical wedding. Vanuatu’s luxury retreat for couples is ideally situated on a sandy beach providing the ultimate backdrop for your special day. They will ensure that your day is just as it should be – perfect. They can customise the occasion to accommodate your special wishes. The ceremony may be held on the beach at sunset, in the gardens, on the grassy lawn overlooking the turquoise blues of the harbour or even on the jetty. The Point Restaurant at The Havannah has some of the most spectacular views in Vanuatu, with food to match the setting. Whether your wedding party is large or small you can be sure of the perfect reception to celebrate the occasion. Special accommodation packages are available for those celebrating their wedding. www.thehavannah.com

Get the royal treatment

Suva’s Grand Pacific Hotel is the height of colonial-style Pacific luxury and rightly proud of its reputation for historical glamour and iconic status within the region. Set right on Suva Harbour with a majestic mountain range as a backdrop, it couldn’t be better for a memorable wedding. The hotel offers two packages for prospective brides and grooms – The Tadra at FJ$5500 or the more lavish Marau at FJ$7500. Depending on which you choose these offer a variety of locations to choose from including the Matua Lawn, poolside, the Zen Garden or the Victoria Terrace and a red carpet entrance. At an additional cost there are a number of extras to select from including vistiting Fijian warriors, a seranading trio, Justice of the Peace or a minister, bouquet, wedding cake and audio visual equipment. www grandpacifichotel.com.fj

Where dreams come true

Warwick Le Lagon, Vanuatu where wedding dreams come true. Overlooking the cobalt waters of Erakor Lagoon, the overwater deck is purpose-built for romantic weddings allowing the perfect backdrop for any wedding.The stretch of white sand on the Beach Terrace is the ideal location for an open-air reception under the stars with a choice of marquee. Destination weddings are made easy with Le Lagon’s onsite wedding planner who will tend to every need. A range of fully air conditioned accommodation options for wedding guests with facilities including pools, kids club, non motorised water sports and resort activities make for a memorable getaway for all. Choose from a selection of wedding packages and make every wedding dream a reality at Warwick Le Lagon Vanuatu. www.warwickhotels.com/le-lagon-resort

Perfect planning

Fiji as a wedding destination has an abundance of choices in terms of locations, packages and most importantly couples’ wedding budgets. The easy way to get the best from your Fiji wedding is to consult Paradise Bride who have been in the business of perfecting weddings here for couples from all over the world since 2003. The company says “We ensure we work with only reputable suppliers that offer the highest quality products in making memories for our clients. We maintain our reputation for handling all our bridal clients and events with the utmost discretion and offer an outstanding individual service for each of our spectacular celebrations.” In addition they are currently expanding their offering for Indian weddings with a range of props arriving from India to ensure an elegant event for all ethnicities. www.facebook.com/paradise.bride

Say ‘I do’ at Holiday Inn

Whether it’s a celebration for two or a gathering of family and friends, Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu is the island destination to say your ‘I dos’. The resort’s facilities and venues cater for various sized weddings and its experienced team pride themselves on offering a personalised service that is second to none. The Resort Ceremony Cabana, with Erakor Lagoon as a backdrop, provides the perfect tropical setting for the exchanging of vows. From an intimate dinner, relaxed poolside party or a formal affair at the Erakor Ballroom, the options are limitless. Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu even caters to the traditional Vanuatu wedding experience, where a bride and groom can be brought to a ceremony by traditional canoe to the sound of a Melanesian warrior blowing a shell conch. http://vanuatu.holidayinnresorts.com/

Sand between your toes

”The Yasawa Islands of Fiji, with untouched natural beauty and abundant sunshine, is one the most romantic destinations in the world to celebrate your love. Your wedding or renewal of vow ceremony at Nanuya Island Resort will be an unforgettable day; with the spectacular setting sun as the backdrop to you exchanging your vows with sand between your toes.” That’s from Nanuya Island Resort’s website and pretty much says it all about the location. When it comes to organising your event Nanuya’s wedding coordinators promise to go above and beyond to make your day effortless and memorable. They offer a range of accommodation options and a diverse choice of catering, along with a range of affordable, all inclusive packages to create a dream wedding. Take a look at www.nanuyafiji.com to get inspired.

A white sands wedding

With the re-opening (1st October 2016) and refurbishment of one of Port Vila’s most iconic resorts and restaurants Tamanu on the Beach offers one of the Pacific’s most spectacular venues for a beachfront wedding. The renewal of this boutique resort has included the building of the country’s first purpose-built wedding chapel where the area’s famous sunsets can be captured as a stunning backdrop for photography. There’s dining pavilion seating for up to 65 and accommodation for up to 50 guests in their 15 charming beachfront plantation villas including a honeymoon plunge pool villa. Be among the first to experience the all new Tamanu and make your special day memorable for everyone. The resort specialises in catering for weddings, couples and is adults-only except for school holidays. www.tamanuonthebeach.com

Head Hunter +Totoka Hair

Love ya ‘do. No bride is going down the aisle without perfectly styled hair and that means professional help. In Fiji’s Nadi-based Totoka Hair + Make Up salon director Leanne will ensure everything’s perfect for the big day. Open since 2014 Totoka employs a team of Fiji’s best stylists who are determined to “make the bride feel amazing at each and every wedding we do”. www.totokahairfiji.com

In Vanuatu the well regarded and long established Head Hunter Hair + Beauty Salons with two locations in Port Vila and one in Luganville are experts at wedding hair having worked regularly with local planners over the years. They are renowned for their Wella, Joico and Napoleon Perdis products along with their friendly professional service and inventive stylists.
Call on +678 22 868 (Vila) or +678 37 168 (Luganville).

Or perhaps a ‘private resort’?

If something a little more private and exclusive is what you’re looking for then Paua Private Villas can arrange for the celebrations to take place in a private beachside villa on the spectacular Whitesands coastline just 20 minutes from Port Vila. They offer a range of luxurious villas with all facilities and are able to cater for up to 60 guests for the reception either within the main house or in a marquee on the lawns beachside. For your guests there is a range of nearby and adjacent villas to choose from or the nearby Tamanu on the Beach resort for further accommodation. The houses feature absolute private beach frontages, inground pools, on-site staff and catering on request. Paua has an experienced team of planners at your disposal too, should you need them. Email Christiana : info@paua.co or check the website at: www.paua.co