Kr­ishna & Ali Wed­ding

It was surely the most full-on, ro­man­tic wed­ding Ba has seen, when home girl maiL­ife pub­lisher Lisi Naziah Tora Ali wed soc­cer pro Roy Kr­ishna in a week of fes­tive fun and tra­di­tional rit­u­als cul­mi­nat­ing in a se­cret lo­ca­tion is­land cer­e­mony on 15 July 2018. It was one of those in­clu­sive Fiji cross-cul­tural events where ev­ery­one was hap­pily se­cure in their eth­nic en­vi­ron­ment and able to share their joy­ful wed­ding cus­toms with all. Guests re­ceived a pack­age of four pas­tel coloured in­vi­ta­tion cards, each with dif­fer­ent flo­ral mo­tifs on the front to go with the oc­ca­sion: pink and yel­low hi­bis­cus for the Te­vutevu; marigolds for the Mehendi night; pink and white frangi­pani for the wed­ding cer­e­mony; and pale pink gin­ger for the re­cep­tion. The events were jointly hosted by Naziah’s mother Ms Sere­ana Mataka, the late Mrs Aisha Bibi and late Mr Man­soor Ali, and Roy’s par­ents, Mrs Rukhmani Devi and Mr Bal Kr­ishna of Labasa, and their fam­i­lies. De­voted rel­a­tives and staunch friends came from far and wide to help pre­pare and cel­e­brate. The day be­fore the Te­vutevu there was a Haldi cer­e­mony for Naziah held at her fam­ily home, while Roy’s Haldi rit­ual was held the same evening at the Ri­fle Range Sri Mari­amman Tem­ple in Lau­toka. Fe­male rel­a­tives smeared the cou­ple with turmeric to make their skin glow, ac­com­pa­ny­ing the messy task with much jok­ing and mu­sic…and yel­low hand­prints smeared on the cloth­ing and faces of un­wary cousins. Both fam­i­lies hosted the Te­vutevu on Thurs­day 12 July at Naziah’s mother’s home at Vat­u­laulau, Ba and both fam­i­lies dressed in eye­catch­ing Kalavata out­fits. Naziah’s mother is from Nailaga, Ba, and has ties to Nadari­vatu. The ex­tended iTaukei fam­ily or­gan­ised the te­vutevu, from cus­tom de­signed dress by the women of Lau for the iTau­tau­naki cer­e­mony to pre­par­ing the food, in­clud­ing a huge lovo meal. ITaukei fam­ily from around the coun­try and abroad came bear­ing tra­di­tional gifts.

In the iTau­tau­naki the bride was for­mally handed over to the groom’s fam­ily. Her mother in law, Mrs Rukhmani Devi, was pre­sented with a wooden box, usu­ally known as the kato ni yasi (san­dal­wood box), filled with cus­tom­ary gifts in­clud­ing mats, bed­ding, du­vets and mos­quito nets. Naziah was wrapped in fab­ric with a lengthy train held by her sis­ter trail­ing be­hind her. Roy’s sis­ters un­wrapped Naziah and took the fab­ric, sym­bol­i­cally de­tach­ing the bride from her fam­ily. The cou­ple sat in a bower of masi and colour­fully trimmed mats in their tra­di­tional dress and bright salusalu, sur­rounded by pil­lows and other bed­ding. In a fol­low­ing Vei va Kana cer­e­mony the bride and groom had to sit on hu­man chairs, usu­ally selected from amongst aunts and younger sis­ters, while be­ing fed by the fam­ily. The cou­ple ate from the same ba­nana leaf spread with food to sym­bol­ise that from now on they were to eat from ‘our kitchen’. “That was a fun one,” Naziah said. Bright colours, pop­u­lar mu­si­cians and dance per­for­mances kept the joy­ful cel­e­bra­tion rolling at the Mehendi night, Satur­day 14 July, when the ac­tion moved to the Xavier Col­lege au­di­to­rium. Guests en­joyed sweets and snacks while busy mehendi artists painted in­tri­cate, free­hand henna de­signs on all those who wanted them.

Most of Naziah’s mehendi de­signs were al­ready com­pleted on her hands and feet, be­cause the mul­ti­ple pat­terns take time for even skilled artists. She ex­plained that the in­tri­cate herbal tat­toos are in­tended to ‘show­case’ the bride, to show her in a new way, a ‘wow’ way, to her hus­band. She en­tered the func­tion wear­ing a stun­ning mint in­dian gown with glit­ter­ing white and sil­ver bead­work, with the groom in an el­e­gant dark blue and mint In­dian suit. While the en­ter­tain­ment con­tin­ued, guests danced and en­joyed a lav­ish buf­fet meal. Mid af­ter­noon on Sun­day 15 July, mys­ti­fied guests who had gath­ered at the Xavier au­di­to­rium were whisked to a se­cret lo­ca­tion a short bus ride away. Fol­low­ing a track to the Ba River bank, guests walked out along a cause­way to a sandy islet in mid­stream, set with mats. Blush pil­lars and swathes of blush fab­ric and flow­ers set the wed­ding scene where the groom and his nine grooms­men waited, en­ter­tained mean­while by the Pasi­fika choir from the Uni­ver­sity of the South Pa­cific’s Ocea­nia Cen­tre. The bride ar­rived at a heart-shaped land­ing place at the other end of the islet in an open fish­ing boat. Her Maid of Hon­our Shobna Venkataya and brides­maids dressed in float­ing blush gowns were gen­tly lifted out by hefty boat­men, while the bride, in a long, flow­ing gown of del­i­cate lace with a flounced train and even longer veil held by a sim­ple cir­clet of white flow­ers, climbed onto the prow of the boat. With as­ton­ish­ing grace and con­fi­dence, she hitched up her el­e­gant gown and leapt onto the isle, land­ing with­out a stum­ble on splen­didly ap­pro­pri­ate, solid, white, plat­form shoes cov­ered with sil­ver sparkle. Her mother, in a se­quin-em­broi­dered gown of gold, serenely walked her daugh­ter to the al­tar and the wait­ing groom and his Best Man, Alvin Singh, and grooms­men. When the mid river cer­e­mony was over and the groom had gamely car­ried his bride the length of the cause­way to the bank, the guests re­turned to Xavier au­di­to­rium for a lively re­cep­tion that pro­vided fun for ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing a team with games and bal­loons to en­ter­tain the chil­dren while their par­ents danced. Amongst the en­ter­tain­ers was the ever-pop­u­lar Laisa Vu­lakoro, VOU Dancers and DJ Skitz who spun pop­u­lar beats much to the de­lights of the bridal party and the guests alike. A stun­ning fire­works dis­play by Skitz Pro Sound that turned Ba into a Dis­ney fan­ta­sy­land greeted the bridal cou­ple as they ar­rived for the re­cep­tion. It just got louder from there, with speeches, fun and laugh­ter, ir­re­sistible mu­sic and spe­cial songs for the new­ly­weds.

A most poignant mo­ment was when Naziah’s mother took the mi­cro­phone to sing a touch­ing love song, Ae Dil Itna Bata de kya Yahi pyar hae (O heart tell me if this is love), to her daugh­ter and brought tears to the eyes of many of the guests. An­other de­li­cious buf­fet was fol­lowed by cut­ting the wed­ding cake that was dec­o­rated in the same pas­tel shades of mint and blush that themed the wed­ding decor. Patis­serie Paci­fica made the three tier con­fec­tion with pearls and lace­work dot­ted with flow­ers as well as match­ing cup­cakes, heart shaped mac­a­roons and cook­ies made to re­sem­bled the bride and groom. As the re­cep­tion con­tin­ued with mu­sic and much talk­ing and laugh­ter, guests joined the new­ly­weds un­der a canopy for pho­to­graphs and to wish for them all the joy and hap­pi­ness of their wed­ding to con­tinue through their mar­ried life.


As groom Roy Kr­ishna awaited his bride Naziah Ali in the stun­ning set­ting of an is­land in the Ba river, a pair from VOU Dancers per­formed a ro­man­tic duet to one of the bride’s favourite songs, A Thou­sand Years by Christina Perri. It set the tone for the dra­matic ar­rival of the bride and her en­tourage by boat. Two dif­fer­ent kinds of ex­pe­ri­ence were cre­ated as guests moved from river to hall for the re­cep­tion with the help of the ex­pe­ri­enced dance troupe. VOU Dancers shared their most spir­ited Bol­ly­wood num­bers, fol­lowed by Pa­cific drum beats that soon had the whole hall up danc­ing with them. VOU Dancers say that pro­vid­ing en­ter­tain­ment for peo­ple’s wed­dings is one of the best parts of their job, try­ing to cre­ate the ex­act mag­i­cal mo­ments the cou­ple is look­ing for. They ex­pressed their plea­sure in be­ing in­volved with the truly mul­ti­cul­tural as­pects of the Ali-Kr­ishna wed­ding that re­flected the mixed her­itage of the bride and groom in dif­fer­ent Is­lamic, Hindu and Chris­tian cer­e­monies… “a com­ing to­gether of Fiji.” Good en­ter­tain­ment is one of the gifts a cou­ple give their wed­ding guests. VOU Dancers list the fol­low­ing tips for an un­for­get­table pro­gramme to pro­vide the de­sired ex­cite­ment and en­joy­ment, drawn from their long ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­ten­sive per­for­mance se­lec­tion that in­cludes spicy Bol­ly­wood num­bers com­bined with the lat­est hits, tra­di­tional iTaukei meke and con­tem­po­rary Fi­jian dance, Poly­ne­sian dance in­clud­ing the fire dance, Latin, hip hop, con­tem­po­rary and other styles. They work with the cou­ple and the or­gan­is­ers to un­der­stand the themes of the wed­ding and what feel­ing is wanted, from laid back trop­i­cal to tra­di­tional. 1. Think about the venue of the wed­ding, the styling and theme, to make sure that the dance group is able to pro­vide a style of dance that will suit and there is no clash and dis­cord in the feel of the event. 2. Most im­por­tantly, make sure the group selected is pro­fes­sional, re­li­able and has a good track record. On your wed­ding day you don’t want to be stress­ing out about your group not turn­ing up on time, ar­riv­ing late and walk­ing in with all their gear while for­mal­i­ties have be­gun. Get ref­er­ences from other peo­ple who have hired the group you are con­sid­er­ing. 3. Re­search and look at video clips of the danc­ing on line to get an idea of the qual­ity is of the en­ter­tain­ment. There should be no com­pro­mise on qual­ity when look­ing for en­ter­tain­ment for your wed­ding. 4. Make sure the group selected is avail­able for the re­quired date. The more ad­vance no­tice you give your wed­ding en­ter­tain­ers the more time they have to pre­pare and re­hearse, es­pe­cially if you are ask­ing for new num­bers to be cre­ated. 5. Meet with the dance di­rec­tors to talk through the whole pro­gram of events. It is use­ful to have the sound sys­tem providers and the MC at the meet­ing as well so the flow of events is well co-or­di­nated. Tim­ings should be sorted out, the reper­toire that the cou­ple wants the dancers to per­form and whether there are dif­fer­ent places where the dancers are to per­form, in­clud­ing within the same venue. Ar­range a con­tact per­son when the per­form­ers get on site. DO NOT make the con­tact per­son as ei­ther the bride or the groom, they’ll be far too.

For more in­for­ma­tion visit www. voufiji.com


Ali with her bridal party on their way to the wed­ding venue an islet in the mid­dle of the Ba River. Photo: Is­land En­coun­ters

Par­ents of the Groom Bal Kr­ishna and Rukhmani Devi es­cort Roy to the Te­vutevu

A whale’s tooth (Tabua) was pre­sented to Naziah’s fam­ily dur­ing the te­vutevu

The sis­ter of the Groom col­lects the fab­ric train as a sym­bol of de­tach­ing the bride from her fam­ily

Rukhmani Devi (Groom’s mother) ac­cepts tra­di­tional gifts as part of the Te­vutevu cer­e­mony

Im­me­di­ate fam­i­lies

Roy and his dressers Emeli Waqa Bukete, Su­lueti Manu, Mar­ica Bau and Vika Nalu­vea

Emeli Waqa Bukete dresses Naziah in masi for the te­vutevu

The cou­ple on their hu­man chairs

Henna de­sign by To­toka Hair & Beauty, Out­fit by AZA Naziah in AZA at the Mehendi

Mrs Mona Ramlu dresses Best Man Alvin Singh

The bridal party ar­riv­ing to the song A Thou­sand Years Per­formed by Pasi­fika Voices and dance duet by VOU dance Group VOU duet at the wed­ding cer­e­mony VOU Dance Group at the re­cep­tion

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