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.
VOU DANCE GROUP WOWS
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
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