IS­LAND RO­MANCE

Go Travel The Pacific - - Contents - By Carla Man­gles

You awaken to the sooth­ing sound of the waves lap­ping the shore. It’s sunny, warm and the vibe is re­laxed and ex­cit­ing. It’s time. Your spe­cial day is fi­nally here!

A wed­ding on any of the South Pacific Is­lands is a dream come true. Al­most any is­land you choose will be the idyl­lic lo­ca­tion for your wed­ding, hon­ey­moon or ro­man­tic get­away. Sur­rounded by your fam­ily and friends who will love the ex­cuse to join you in Par­adise on this spe­cial day!

There are a few things to think about, when con­sid­er­ing the Pacific Is­lands as a wed­ding des­ti­na­tion. - What time of year you want to get mar­ried (in the South Pacific, cy­clone/the wet sea­son which is gen­er­ally more hu­mid, is from Novem­ber to March each year). - Bud­get - a South Pacific Wed­ding can be sur­pris­ingly af­ford­able com­pared to a tra­di­tional wed­ding. - Guests - will your guests have the means to af­ford at­tend­ing your wed­ding? - Your time - while a wed­ding in a South Pacific Is­land is worth the ef­fort, it may be ben­e­fi­cial to en­list the help of a wed­ding co­or­di­na­tor such as South Pacific Weddings. They have the con­tacts and the knowl­edge of all the avail­able op­tions. They can also help guide you through the myr­iad of jobs you need to get done to or­ga­nize the whole event if you need it. Le­gal­i­ties - all of the Is­lands have dif­fer­ent le­gal re­quire­ments, how­ever most re­quire the bride and groom to ar­rive at least 3 work­ing days prior to the wed­ding in or­der to visit the reg­istry of­fice and sub­mit the required in­for­ma­tion. - Lo­ca­tion - Would you pre­fer a

beach or chapel wed­ding?

So which Is­land is the best to be mar­ried on? The an­swer to that ques­tion comes down to 2 things - you and your fi­ancé! No one is­land that is bet­ter than an­other.

Based on value for money, resort fa­cil­i­ties, qual­ity man­age­ment & ser­vices, amaz­ing wed­ding set­tings and feed­back from clients of wed­ding co­or­di­na­tors, here is a quick run­down of some of the most pop­u­lar Ro­man­tic Is­land des­ti­na­tions:

COOK IS­LANDS / RARO­TONGA

The des­ti­na­tion it­self is a won­der­ful choice. The main is­land of Raro­tonga is only 32 kilo­me­ters in cir­cum­fer­ence mak­ing it very easy to get around. A coral reef al­most en­tirely sur­rounds the is­land en­sur­ing that the white sandy beaches are pro­tected. The sway­ing palm trees and beau­ti­ful aqua­ma­rine la­goon are con­stant re­minders that you have ar­rived in par­adise, while the lo­cal peo­ple will greet you with a big friendly smile and most speak good English. There are

many things to see and do in­clud­ing an is­land sa­fari, glass bot­tom boat cruise, bush walks, snor­kel­ing, quad bike and ad­ven­ture buggy trips, fish­ing ex­cur­sions and cul­tural/vil­lage tours.

The bustling cap­i­tal of the Cook Is­lands, Avarua, has a mar­ket on Satur­day morn­ings, a va­ri­ety of shops, 3 banks plus a su­per­mar­ket. The lo­cal public trans­port sys­tem works ef­fi­ciently and stops out­side most re­sorts or prop­er­ties ev­ery 30 min­utes and is a very cost effective way of trav­el­ing around the is­land. For some­thing dif­fer­ent, hire a scooter and dis­cover the is­land at your own pace.

There are many hire com­pa­nies dot­ted around the is­land with a va­ri­ety of bikes, scoot­ers and cars to suit ev­ery­one. Taxis are also avail­able. The Raro­ton­gan peo­ple are very proud of their is­land and the main roads are in very good con­di­tion.

Temperatures range between 20 to 30 de­grees, de­pend­ing on the time of the year. The lo­cal cur­rency is the New Zealand Dol­lar. Credit cards are widely ac­cepted and ATM’s are avail­able at some re­sorts and in Avarua.

Ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions vary from beach-side re­sorts to smaller boutique prop­er­ties of­fer­ing villa and bun­ga­low style ac­com­mo­da­tion. Pri­vate houses are also avail­able to rent. Re­sorts are graded between 3

to 4 star and smaller prop­er­ties and houses range from 2 star through to 4 star plus.

Raro­tonga is renowned for din­ing out. There are many restau­rants and cafes dot­ted around the is­land of­fer­ing a se­lec­tion of in­ter­na­tional cui­sine in­clud­ing Ital­ian, Mex­i­can and Chi­nese to name a few. Many are sit­u­ated over­look­ing the la­goon cre­at­ing an ex­otic, peace­ful and re­laxed at­mos­phere to make your din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence a truly mem­o­rable one. The nightlife in Raro­tonga is en­vi­able with over 20 bars of­fer­ing g ev­ery­thing from live bands to dance e mu­sic.

FIJI

Un­crowded, un­pol­luted and d un­spoiled Fiji is per­fect for re­lax­ing g on beau­ti­ful beaches or tak­ing an n ad­ven­ture off the beaten track. This s des­ti­na­tion gives you the choice of a wed­ding on the main­land or one of f the many pris­tine outer is­lands. There e are many re­sorts on the main­land d dot­ted along the Coral Coast and d on De­na­rau Is­land rang­ing from 3 to o 5 stars. Many of the re­sorts on the e main­land have white sand beaches s and breath­tak­ing la­goons. The outer is­lands are ac­cessed by speed boat, sea plane or he­li­copter and there are many to choose from that cater to all bud­gets and pref­er­ences, rang­ing between 2.5 star to 5 star plus. Many of the outer is­lands are sur­rounded by a coral reef and have strik­ing beaches and crys­tal clear la­goons. The Fi­jian peo­ple are one of Fiji’s best as­sets with their big smil­ing faces, wel­com­ing man­ner and great sense of hu­mour. Sight­see­ing tours, day cruises, cul­tural tours, fish­ing ex­cur­sions and day y trips p to the outer is­lands are all on of­fer at this un­for­get­table des­ti­na­tion.

The town of Nadi is a bustling place with many shops, bank­ing fa­cil­i­ties, su­per­mar­ket, lo­cal craft mar­ket and much more. There is a lo­cal public trans­port sys­tem on the main is­land as well as pri­vate coaches and taxis. There are also sev­eral rental car com­pa­nies on the is­land if you wish to hire a car, bike or scooter.

Temperatures range between 18 to 30 de­grees de­pend­ing on the month of the year and the lo­cal cur­rency is Fi­jian j Dol­lars.

SAMOA

An A al­most un­known par­adise in many ways the des­ti­na­tion it­self will pleas­antly sur­prise you with beau­ti­ful beaches, white sands lined with c co­conut palms and aqua­ma­rine la­goons. The lo­cal Samoan peo­ple a are very wel­com­ing, help­ful and most speak very good English. T They are proud peo­ple who still hon­our and nur­ture a cul­ture rich in a age-old tra­di­tions and cer­e­monies. S Samoa of­fers a range of things to s see and do from beau­ti­ful walks and w water­falls to lo­cal vil­lages and sail­ing t trips. A visit to the town of Apia is a must with its buzzing daily mar­ket, many shops and the Robert Louis S Steven­son Mu­seum. Savai’i, a large o outer is­land, can be ex­plored on a d day trip or overnight trip. Samoa has a reg­u­lar public trans­port sys­tem o op­er­ated by tra­di­tional lo­cal buses, e each dec­o­rated with the own­ers’ per­sonal favourite choice of colours a and de­signs. Al­ter­na­tively rental cars a and scoot­ers are avail­able for hire a and there are also taxis op­er­at­ing o on the is­land. The roads are in good c con­di­tion and you can eas­ily travel a around the main is­land. If you de­cide t to in­clude a day trip or an overnight t trip to Savai’i, there are cur­rently 4 fer­ries per day that op­er­ate at var­i­ous times. It is ap­prox­i­mately a one and a half jour­ney and is rea­son­ably priced. You can hire a rental car upon ar­rival and there is a se­lec­tion of prop­er­ties to stay de­pend­ing on your in­di­vid­ual taste or pref­er­ence.

Temperatures range between 20 to 30 de­grees, de­pend­ing on the time of the year. The lo­cal cur­rency is Samoan Tala. Your choice of ac­com­mo­da­tion in Samoa can range from B&B’s and Lodges to beach­front re­sorts with a va­ri­ety of fa­cil­i­ties. Th­ese prop­er­ties range from 2 to 4 stars. If you wish to be a lit­tle more ad­ven­tur­ous there are also tra­di­tional Fales (open sided huts with bed­ding pro­vided). Th­ese are dot­ted at var­i­ous lo­ca­tions around the is­land and some are on the most pris­tine beaches. Fales are of­ten very ba­sic, but clean and are graded between 1 and 3 stars de­pend­ing on the prop­erty, lo­ca­tion and fa­cil­i­ties. Th­ese are great fun for a few nights, for the young at heart and those with a sense of ad­ven­ture.

TAHITI

Tahiti. The word evokes vi­sions of an is­land par­adise. Of­fi­cially known as French Poly­ne­sia and com­prised of 118 ro­man­tic is­lands and atolls, the

is­lands of Bora Bora, Moorea, Taha’a and be­yond con­tinue to se­duce trav­el­ers in search of a tran­quil escape. With its is­lands boast­ing Palm fringed white sand beaches, high glossy green moun­tains, colour­ful coral reefs, turquoise blue la­goons and emer­ald-green wa­ters, this South Pacific par­adise has some­thing for ev­ery­one and is the per­fect set­ting for that un­for­get­table big day!

From in­ti­mate re­sorts and small peace­ful vil­lages to over­wa­ter bun­ga­lows and 5 star ho­tels, the choice of ac­com­mo­da­tion will live up to your is­land par­adise dream! Ex­pe­ri­ence true re­lax­ation and re­ju­ve­na­tion at one of the many lux­u­ri­ous Poly­ne­sian spas while nur­tured by the trop­i­cal am­bi­ence of your sur­round­ings. Ex­plore the pris­tine in­te­rior and beau­ti­ful coast­line by 4x4 ex­cur­sion, guided na­ture hikes, es­corted tours, or rental car. Crys­tal clear la­goons are per­fect for a wide range of ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing div­ing, snor­kel­ing, boat­ing and fish­ing! Tahiti is the per­fect set­ting for your ro­man­tic is­land get­away!

For years, get­ting mar­ried on any of Tahiti’s pris­tine is­lands was sim­ply a dream, since it wasn’t pos­si­ble for visi­tors to legally marry. In 2009 the French gov­ern­ment amended the laws and re­quire­ments so now, cou­ples who are not French na­tion­als, not cur­rently mar­ried and are at least 18 years old are wel­come to tie the knot in par­adise. Most re­sorts are happy to as­sist with get­ting all the pa­per­work in or­der. At least 45 days prior to the cer­e­mony cou­ples must com­plete and sub­mit the fol­low­ing doc­u­ments to the lo­cal Tahi­tian mayor’s of­fice: a mar­riage ap­pli­ca­tion, a let­ter of in­tent signed and dated by both future spouses, and a cer­tifi­cate that proves that nei­ther is cur­rently mar­ried, along

VAN­U­ATU

With breath­tak­ing scenery, world fa­mous div­ing, snor­kel­ing and swim­ming in crys­tal clear wa­ters, Van­u­atu is an un­spoilt haven for trav­el­ers. More than 80 vol­canic is­lands make up the na­tion of Van­u­atu, with moun­tain­ous in­te­ri­ors, de­light­ful beaches, dive spots and friendly lo­cals Van­u­atu is fast be­com­ing a top ro­man­tic des­ti­na­tion for cou­ples look­ing for an un­for­get­table and ex­otic South Pacific escape.

Van­u­atu caters for any bud­get, from sim­ple yet stun­ning to elab­o­rate luxury, you’ll find ac­com­mo­da­tion to host your spe­cial day and get mar­ried bare­foot on a trop­i­cal beach, at the top of an ac­tive vol­cano or aboard a yacht while you cruise around the beau­ti­ful is­lands.

Éfaté is home to Van­u­atu’s cap­i­tal Port Vila and is the most de­vel­oped and pop­u­lated of all the is­lands boast­ing a wide range of re­sorts, ac­tiv­i­ties and restau­rants and the nearby Iririki Is­land of­fers a choice of wa­ter­side venues, beach set­ting or a spec­tac­u­lar hill top cer­e­mony, over­look­ing the sea. Espíritu Santo at­tracts divers and ad­ven­tur­ers with its un­der­wa­ter WWII wrecks, reefs, dense jun­gle, caves and se­cluded fresh­wa­ter swim­ming holes. Tanna is the per­fect is­land for ad­ven­tur­ous trav­el­ers keen to ex­plore rugged vol­canic land­scape and come face-to­face with the still ac­tive Mount Ya­sur vol­cano! Van­u­atu is a per­fect set­ting for a truly en­chant­ing cel­e­bra­tion of love.

Spe­cial Times

It is com­mon to hear com­ments about the ben­e­fits of get­ting mar­ried in the South Pacific, the most com­mon be­ing ‘the amount of qual­ity time spent with fam­ily and close friends’. Your guests will of­ten look at your wed­ding as a way to have a hol­i­day at the same time, there­fore en­joy­ing your spe­cial day and the fun and ac­tiv­i­ties on of­fer in a trop­i­cal par­adise

Trav­el­ling with Chil­dren?

Fam­ily holidays are fun but let’s be hon­est, they can be a lo­gis­ti­cal night­mare! Be­low are a few tips and use­ful links to take the stress out of plan­ning your get­away with the kids.

Keep­ing kids en­ter­tained from sun

up to sun down re­ally is child’s play in the Is­lands. There’s plenty to do all day long and fam­ily fun for all ages and bud­gets. The is­land peo­ple have a nat­u­ral love for chil­dren and a strong affin­ity for fam­ily.

As we all know from ex­pe­ri­ence, par­ents won’t re­lax on hol­i­day un­til the kids are happy!

Be­ing pre­pared for the plane travel, a much hot­ter cli­mate and a dif­fer­ent (and some­times tra­di­tional) is­land style of ac­com­mo­da­tion will re­ally help your lit­tle ones to set­tle more quickly into their new en­vi­ron­ment, which means par­ents will get some much de­served R & R too!

Here are a few tips to make your fam­ily get­away a more re­laxed and plea­sur­able one. * Bring a change of clothes for ar­rival

as the heat can be a shock! * Pur­chase a case of bot­tled wa­ter on ar­rival at Duty Free – saves time & money. * Con­sider re­sorts with in­ter

con­nect­ing rooms – you’ll

ap­pre­ci­ate the ex­tra space. * Don’t for­get the first aid kit, en­sur­ing you have plenty of in­sect re­pel­lent, an­ti­sep­tic gel, sun­screen etc. * Ask about kid’s clubs and babysit­ting ser­vices - fun for you and the kids! * Fan cooled rooms may be cheaper – but when it’s hot ev­ery­one will ap­pre­ci­ate an air-con­di­tioned room – es­pe­cially the kids!

Wed­ding Tips

Choose a dress that is prac­ti­cal in the heat of the trop­ics – a sim­ple dress in a cool nat­u­ral fibre will be more com­fort­able, as will ap­pro­pri­ate shoes as high heels could be a night­mare in the sand!

Tell the team at South Pacific Weddings if you in­tend to take a wed­ding dress. We will then ad­vise the air­line so they ex­pect a boxed or bagged dress to be stored on the air­craft.

Hang your dress up as soon as you ar­rive at the resort. The hu­mid­ity of the trop­ics will help any creases to fall out.

Take care in the sun be­fore your big day, use plenty of sun­screen – you don’t want to look like a lob­ster in your wed­ding pho­to­graphs!

So does this sound like your idea of a great wed­ding? Then get plan­ning! If you want to make the whole process sim­pler, then why not en­list the help of some­one who spe­cial­izes in this niche mar­ket and has first­hand ex­pe­ri­ence and con­tacts with all the ma­jor re­sorts and venues.

Of­ten good wed­ding co­or­di­na­tors can come up with bet­ter deals than those who try re­search­ing it alone and at the same time, giv­ing you to­tal con­trol over the sit­u­a­tion.

They can take care of vir­tu­ally ev­ery­thing from in­vi­ta­tions and seat­ing plans to din­ner menus and all of your guests travel ar­range­ments, in­clud­ing flights and ac­com­mo­da­tion. It’s also very re­as­sur­ing to have a pro­fes­sional team han­dling ev­ery­thing and en­sur­ing your par­adise wed­ding is truly mem­o­rable.

with a copy of each per­son’s pass­port and cer­ti­fied birth cer­tifi­cate that has been apos­tilled and trans­lated. All forms can be found on the Tahiti Tourism web­site.

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