RO­MANCE IN THE PA­CIFIC

Bride and Groom Dianne and Shane re­live their trop­i­cal fan­tasy wed­ding on idyl­lic One­foot Is­land

Go Travel The Pacific - - Contents -

Our first meet­ing with An­nie Bishop and her daugh­ter Ta­nia of Bishop’s Cruises was on the idyl­lic is­land of Ai­tu­taki. We were there to sub­mit to the Reg­is­trar the doc­u­ments re­quired for our wed­ding on One­foot Is­land. Even though we were meet­ing An­nie and Ta­nia, for the first time, it was like meet­ing old friends; smiles all around; they were so warm and wel­com­ing.

Three years prior to this meet­ing, Dianne and I were on a la­goon cruise with Bishop’s Cruises. Ev­ery­one had said that if you visit the Cook Is­lands, it is a must to see Ai­tu­taki; it is one of the most stunning trop­i­cal is­lands in the world. The beau­ti­ful la­goon is the heart of the is­land, and Bishop‘ s Cruises is the ideal com­pany to take you ex­plor­ing. The set­ting was per­fect, weather ex­cel­lent and the tim­ing felt right; Dianne is the one. I pro­posed to her on the Beach of One­foot Is­land. On that day by happy co­in­ci­dence the Cap­tain was Teina Bishop ( An­nie’s hus­band) who told me his wife could ar­range a beau­ti­ful, sim­ple beach wed­ding on One­foot Is­land. All we needed to do was to make con­tact with An­nie, give her the date, and she would do the rest.

An­nie han­dled all the pa­per­work, or­ga­nized the Mar­riage Cel­e­brant, pho­tog­ra­pher ( her daugh­ter Ta­nia) and the fa­mous string band. With Bishop’s tak­ing care of it all in­clud­ing plan­ning the din­ner and ar­rang­ing the flow­ers; we knew we were in good hands.

Thurs­day came, and we were un­der­way with Bishop’s Cruises start­ing with a trip across the glim­mer­ing, royal blue la­goon of Ai­tu­taki to One­foot Is­land. Our beau­ti­fully made frangi­pani flower leis waited for us and the fragrance and colours were spec­tac­u­lar.

Ta­nia took many beau­ti­ful pho­to­graphs of our wed­ding and our small fam­ily group, cap­tur­ing all the spe­cial mo­ments such as when we walked hand in hand along the sand to­wards our Mar­riage Cel­e­brant. Words can’t de­scribe the feel­ing of be­ing right on the wa­ter’s edge of the beau­ti­ful la­goon at One­foot Is­land with the waves lap­ping at our feet dur­ing the cer­e­mony.

It was the mo­ment I had waited for; stand­ing on a pow­dery soft, white sand beach with the woman I love and lis­ten­ing to a Poly­ne­sian string band play­ing our song “Let It Be Me”. As the band played, Ta­nia took more lovely and mem­o­rable fam­ily pho­tos.

Once we ex­pressed our vows and our love for each other, the rings were passed to us in a shell placed on a ( lo­cally crafted) ukulele. One del­i­cate and very much un­for­get­table kiss and we were hus­band and wife.

The din­ner pre­pared by a pri­vate chef from Ai­tu­taki Vil­lage was the ic­ing on the cake; seared scal­lops,

egg­plant salad with cit­rus dress­ing, pan- grilled mahi- mahi and prawns with caramelized ba­nanas, crisp salad, and hol­landaise sauce.

Par­adise is sit­ting with fam­ily and friends at din­ner in the warmth of softly blow­ing trop­i­cal breezes, watch­ing as the sun sets be­yond the coral reef while the full moon rises over our tiny is­land. Good food, good mu­sic and won­der­ful peo­ple.

We thank An­nie and Ta­nia, along with the en­tire ( though small) Bishop’s Cruises team for help­ing make our dreams come true. Ta­nia cap­tured all of our spe­cial mo­ments in her beau­ti­ful pho­to­graphs, and our wed­ding is won­der­fully pre­served on a DVD she pre­sented to us be­fore we left for Raro­tonga.

It is our de­sire to re­turn to Ai­tu­taki for our an­niver­sary. We hope to meet with our friends An­nie and Ta­nia, once again. We would love to en­joy once more a de­li­cious din­ner in par­adise with good friends and fam­ily on our own tiny, pri­vate is­land.

Af­ter­word

One­foot Is­land be­comes a spe­cial place in many vis­i­tors’ hearts, es­pe­cially to those who are lucky enough to share their vows on this re­mote lit­tle is­land.

Many cou­ples say they are “living a dream that has be­come a re­al­ity”. It may be such a cliché’ thing to say, but it is hard to find the words to de­scribe a wed­ding on One­foot Is­land ad­e­quately. You will find the bluest colours you would not have thought ex­isted in Na­ture’s pal­let here and a hope­lessly ro­man­tic at­mos­phere. The un­in­hab­ited is­land com­plete with Poly­ne­sian love songs, the breeze against the co­conut fronds, white sand be­tween your toes, the warmth of the sun sooth­ing your soul, and the love of your life right be­fore you; ev­ery pos­si­ble as­pect of the ‘ dream come true’ is here, and you can’t help but shed a tear.

No pic­tures do it jus­tice, and no words can come close to de­scrib­ing such an ex­pe­ri­ence. Mem­o­ries last for­ever on One­foot Is­land, and fan­tasies be­come re­al­ity be­cause of An­nie and her wed­ding team.

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