Thoughts from the Mother of the Bride:
2017’s Wedding of the Year* was full of fun, laughter, smiles, family, warm sunshine, blue skies, clear sparkling water, palm trees, coconuts, beaches, snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, pool fun, cocktails, Happy Hours, food, happy faces, BULA and lots of LOVE!!
If you’ve been following along to my previous MOB (Mother of the Bride) posts, you know we had the happy couple, (our youngest of three daughters), announce their engagement on Christmas Day 2015. Planning started soon after with a date and location set for early October 2017 at the Outrigger Resort in Fiji.
A Destination Wedding
Yes, they decided to get married in Fiji – which is where the Destination Wedding comes into play. How exciting!! It worked out so well, we all had a holiday in paradise and were able to see them married at the same time.
We did thank them afterwards for having their wedding in such a gorgeous location.
I will just let you in on a little secret – at one stage in the proceedings my daughter and her fiance considered that they might ELOPE (!!) but her two sisters suggested that a small intimate wedding would perhaps be a better solution. Thank goodness for sisterly love!! How could I have been the MOB if they’d eloped and I knew nothing about it until after the event – but if that’s what they’d really wanted, I would have been OK, you all know that don’t you?
So the date and location were set and planning started with lots of emails, phone calls and decisions to made on various destination wedding package choices. The couple decided on a small family gathering with parents, siblings and partners, a cousin and B2B’s best friend as Bridesmaid and her partner as MC. Including the Bride and Groom we were a party of 15 – very intimate indeed!
As one of the Bride’s sisters and her fiance had to come from England, the location was announced quite early on after internet searches, websites dedicated to Destination Weddings in Fiji and reviews were perused. None of us had ever been to Fiji before so it was all organised sight unseen! I must say we made a brilliant choice with the Outrigger Resort!
This early announcement also allowed time for passports to be ordered, searches on suitable accommodation nearby and flights to be sourced. It was quite an easy process once we found an agent, Sandra, at Fiji Island Tours to help us out with all the details.
After much deliberation we settled on a package, and despite our small number of guests it was still good value. It included just about everything we could think of – accommodation for B&G, venue hire and setup, chair sashes, signage, seating arrangements, wedding ceremony, celebrant, flowers, cake, reception buffet, drinks – and we could add on extras like hair, makeup and the photographer. It also included an upgrade for B&G to return for their first anniversary for a few nights. What about a return trip for the MOB and FOB??
We had lots of correspondence between the resort, the agent and ourselves, making decisions and in my daughter’s case getting the required paperwork in place for her marriage to be legal in Fiji. This was a bit stressful at times but she persevered and it all got done in time. We both also joined a Facebook group for brides at the resort and this was an amazing source of information with questions and answers on all sorts of topics we hadn’t even thought of.
Some of us arrived in Fiji earlier than others and sent photos of ourselves enjoying the facilities, much to the annoyance of those still at work waiting impatiently for their departure time 🙂 In our case it was great as we got to spend precious time with our eldest daughter and her fiance who’d arrived a day earlier, all the way from England, before it got too busy with wedding preparations. Next to arrive was our second daughter and her husband so we then had two of our girls to ourselves and were able to have lots of fun together.
Once the B2B, G2B and rest of the group arrived it became full on party mode very quickly. We had meetings with the resort’s Wedding Planner, Va, who was amazingly calm and reassuring, and went over the outline for the day; we had a Hen’s Party manicure/pedicure spa treatment complete with champagne at 11am and the happy couple were treated to a deluxe massage treatment. We spent the afternoon in the adults only pool area and enjoyed the downtime, sunshine and did I mention cocktails at the swim up bar?
Everything was easily sorted for the big day….except the weather.
The Big Day
B2B had her heart set on a beach wedding but the wind was a problem and the resort made the call early on the day of the wedding that it was unable to be held on the beach, so we switched to Plan B. This meant we had the ceremony in the beautiful Bure Ni Loloma, the Chapel of Love, high above the resort with spectacular views. It was an amazing venue and they still managed to get some amazing photos on the beach afterwards, so it all worked out well in the end.
The day dawned sunny but windy and MOG and I were first up at the resort’s hair salon Wavelengths. We had a lovely time being pampered with hair and makeup and were soon joined by the B2B and BM. B2B sisters also dropped by to take some photos and we all had a fun time. The morning rushed by and soon we were all looking beautiful. After a light lunch it was time to start getting dressed. No-one was feeling too stressed or nervous just happy and excited.
We were transported up to the Chapel in the resort’s buggies, which was a fun ride and settled in to await the Bride’s arrival. What my daughter didn’t know was the FOB had decided to go all Fijian and had bought a local outfit to wear which is essentially a man-skirt, a pocket sulo, and a bright orange shirt, which sort of matched my orange dress. He looked great and she was thrilled to see the effort he’d made! They arrived and he walked her proudly down the aisle to the sounds of the small band of Fijian Serenaders.
The ceremony was lovely but it was over very quickly! They both looked so happy 🙂
After group photos were taken, we adjourned to the bar at the top of the resort and the bridal party went away for their photo session, complete with their very own Butler and a few drinks.
The reception was a fun night with music, speeches, games, polaroid camera fun, advice cards for the happy couple, dancing, delicious food and great service. We wouldn’t have changed a thing!
What would I have done differently?
The only thing that I wish I had done differently was to stay with my daughter, FOB and BM for the getting ready photos and trip up to the Chapel. I missed out on being in the before the ceremony photos and at the time I didn’t even think about it. I wish someone had reminded me to stay, so that I could be included in this important aspect of the day, as well as seeing my daughter get ready and her reaction to my husband’s outfit.
Here are a few of my highlights:
- The location was superb
- The people were friendly, helpful, interested, caring, considerate and thoughtful
- The small number of guests made it intimate and inclusive
- The warm weather
- Having all my daughters and their partners with us made it extra special
- The ease in which it all happened, we didn’t need to do anything, just turn up
- My husband’s Fijian outfit made it fun and the staff loved his efforts in learning some of the local lingo and turning Fijian for the big day
- The staff were amazing and so happy to help
- The resort’s facilities were first rate and we will definitely stay there again
MOB experience #2
I have thoroughly enjoyed my MOB #2 experience and thank you all for following along. Thanks to the beautiful bridesmaid who was such fun, and her partner, for the sterling job he did as MC at the wedding reception! We enjoyed getting to know our new son-in-law’s family better and thank them for their love and acceptance of our daughter. We enjoyed spending time with them all in Fiji and look forward to staying in contact despite us all living in different states.
So would I recommend a Destination Wedding?
Yes I most definitely would recommend it, the whole experience was fantastic fun from start to finish.
Have you had any similar experiences either as a guest or as MOB or even as a Bride?Would you be able to do something like this? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Next up we have a family Wedding Party to attend where family and friends can join in and congratulate the newlyweds. It was lovely to see our daughters sending photos back to their grandparents and aunts throughout the day to keep them included. B2B’s grandparents celebrated with a bottle of champagne at the time of the wedding in the comfort of their own home – how sweet is that??
As FOB says: two down, one to go 🙂
That’s a wrap! I’d love to hear your thoughts!!
You can read my previous MOB posts here if you missed them.
*in my humble opinion
PS: some of these photos I have shamelessly pinched from my family’s Facebook but most are mine or my husband’s shots. We are looking forward to seeing the official photos.
Glossary of terms:
MOB – Mother of the Bride
FOB – Father of the Bride
B2B – Bride to Be
G2B – Groom to Be
BM – Bridesmaid
MOG – Mother of the Groom
FOG – Father of the Groom
You can also find Deb’s World here – I’d be delighted if you’d join me.