COVER

WED­DING

mailife - - Contents - By NAZIAH ALI Pho­tos NIYAAZ DEAN FIJI

| Bo­labiu & Tuiketei Wed­ding

Rich shades of pur­ple and gold coloured the wed­ding of rugby ed­u­ca­tor and en­tre­pre­neur James Bo­labiu and in­ter­na­tional lawyer Ana Tuiketei. The hues pro­vided a vi­brant back­drop for their tra­di­tional dress, cho­sen to re­flect the cou­ple’s pride in their her­itage – Bo­labiu from Wai­somo, Tavuki, Ka­davu and Tuiketei from Tubou, Lakeba, Lau. James Bo­labiu is a widely known Fi­jian rugby match of­fi­cial who has of­fi­ci­ated on the both the men and women’s World Rugby 7s cir­cuit. He is the first Pa­cific Is­lan­der to of­fi­ci­ate in two rugby World Cups, Com­mon­wealth Games and 2016 Olympic Games. He is the only Pa­cific Is­lan­der to of­fi­ci­ate on the Rugby 7s cir­cuit for more than a decade and the first to ref­eree Hong Kong fi­nals. He is the first Fi­jian to date to achieve such in­ter­na­tional suc­cess as a match of­fi­cial. Tuiketei is also no stranger to sports, or to academia and com­merce. She holds po­si­tions on var­i­ous sport­ing and com­mer­cial boards in­clud­ing Fiji Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try, the Miss Pa­cific Is­lands Pageant and Fi­jian Hold­ings Lim­ited Fund Man­age­ment Ltd. “When you have trav­elled the world like we have and had the priv­i­lege of wit­ness­ing other peo­ple’s cul­ture, you learn not only to ap­pre­ci­ate your own, but re­alise your own cul­ture is unique”, Bo­labiu said. He wore large, bold de­signs on his masi to not only cel­e­brate his roots but also who he is as a per­son. The women of Yaroi in Matuku made his salusalu and pur­ple ‘vau’. The bride wore a tra­di­tional dress with a con­tem­po­rary take de­signed by Shayneal Lal. “We planned the dress as I knew I had to wear a fiu (Lauan mat) no mat­ter what. I also wanted to in­cor­po­rate my Lo­maiv­iti side and my love for our beaches,” Tuiketei said. “Shay and I have worked closely to­gether for a cou­ple of years and I trusted his pageant style of de­sign­ing. We went through months of dis­cus­sion be­fore we fi­nally agreed. I couldn’t have asked for a bet­ter out­come.” She also wore a two-tier veil by El­iz­a­beth Dick­ens of the UK that had a train de­signed to com­pli­ment the tra­di­tional out­fit, with lace em­broi­dered with Pa­cific flow­ers that trailed across the end. Her bou­quet of pur­ple roses was by Lorna Jane.

The end re­sult was a “wow” from 170 guests who at­tended the pri­vate Chris­tian cer­e­mony in an el­e­gant gar­den set­ting at Tabua Sands re­sort on the Coral Coast on 18 Au­gust. The bride’s un­cle Pa­soni, el­dest of the Tuiketei fam­ily and the house of Nabau in Tubou, walked her down the aisle. He wore a bow tie from Frasers in Lon­don, UK, with his blue suit tai­lored by United Ap­parel. Culden Kamea and Pas­tor Lute Pow­ell con­ducted the cer­e­mony. Kamea was a friend of the groom from the days when he was a con­tribut­ing writer to Teivovo rugby magazine that Kamea owned, and Pow­ell is a close friend of the Tuiketei fam­ily. The groom’s party wore masi from Vat­ulele made by Bo­labiu’s cousin Bu­lou Mere­seini Dreve that fea­tured de­signs pay­ing trib­ute to his strong ma­ter­nal ties to Matuku. Na­tional 7s Women’s Coach Iliesa Tanivula was best man, World Rugby ref­eree Kaveni Tale­maivalagi and Sakeasi Ri­nako­rovatu Jnr were the grooms­men. The bridal party, busi­ness­woman Alana Bent­ley, bride’s sis­ter pe­di­a­tri­cian Dr Asena Tuiketei and phar­ma­cist Arti Prasad who flew in from New Zealand were in the dif­fer­ent styles worn by women of Lakeba. The de­signs and styles re­flected the bride’s Vuanirewa links and Ton­gan an­ces­try. The guests dressed to the theme of the wed­ding, which fea­tured bow ties and hat­naters (fas­ci­na­tor hats). Dur­ing the wed­ding cer­e­mony the cou­ple placed flow­ers at the al­tar in mem­ory loved ones -- Master Waisea Bo­labiu (fa­ther of the groom) Nanise and Marika Bakani (grand­par­ents of the bride); Kali­vati Bakani (un­cle of the bride) and Laisa Lag­ilevu Vodo. Af­ter the wed­ding cer­e­mony the Bo­labiu and Tuiketei fam­ily gath­ered for the I Tatau, the fi­nal tra­di­tional pro­to­col of the bride’s fam­ily. She was pre­sented with gifts and tabua to the Bo­labiu fam­ily en­trust­ing their daugh­ter to their care. They cer­e­mony also cel­e­brated and hon­oured two van­uas be­ing forged to­gether. The cou­ple wore kalavatas from House of Mau­sio. They ex­plained how they had dated af­ter be­ing friends for about a year and be­came en­gaged al­most two years ago “at the right mo­ment” for them as in­di­vid­u­als and for their ca­reers. “We wanted to grow as two in­di­vid­u­als and be con­fi­dent in know­ing who we are be­fore we made this

life­time com­mit­ment be­cause of the re­spect we have for the sanc­tity of mar­riage.” They first met dur­ing a beauty pageant in the west, when Tuiketei was a judge and Bo­labiu, a Dig­i­cel brand am­bas­sador at the time, was to crown Miss Char­ity. They met in the ho­tel lobby but didn’t get to talk un­til af­ter the cer­e­mony. The bride said she was prob­a­bly the only per­son at the event who didn’t know who he was. An evening cocktail by the white sandy beach to watch the sun set in par­adise pre­pared the guests for a re­cep­tion un­der the stars. The whole re­sort had been booked for the wed­ding and the dé­cor was all pur­ple, gold and sil­ver with din­ing ta­bles la­beled with the names of cities the bride and groom had vis­ited and es­pe­cially liked. For the re­cep­tion the bride wore an ivory lace gown by an award win­ning UK bridal wear de­signer Made­line Gard­ner un­der the brand name Morie Lee. The brides­maids were dressed by Sheike Aus­tralia while the grooms­men wore black suits with pur­ple bow ties and the groom sported a bold gold tie from Frasers of Lon­don with his English morn­ing suit.

The four-tier wed­ding cake by Sweet End­ings was cre­ated with a bold colour com­bi­na­tion that fused Asian hues, con­tem­po­rary Fi­jian prints and West­ern in­flu­ences. An­other high­light was a 15-minute fire­works dis­play. When the cou­ple were asked to re­flect on their day Tuiketei sin­gled out the mo­ment in the cer­e­mony when the pas­tor preached on love and gave prac­ti­cal ad­vice on how to pro­tect the mar­riage, and at the re­cep­tion when they got to take pic­tures with all the guests. Bo­labiu gave the top mo­ments as when he saw his bride walk down the aisle, the cut­ting of the cake and his mother’s speech.

14

Em­brac­ing their great­est ad­ven­tures - James and Ana at their Te­vutevu cel­e­brat­ing cul­ture, her­itage and fam­ily love

For a hun­dred life­times- all smiles af­ter say­ing “I Do”

Ana and James in their Kalavata by House of Mau­sio

Pre-cer­e­mony: Stan­ley Mor­rell of Fiji Bridal Pro­fes­sional Hair & Makeup Ser­vices giv­ing Ana the last touch ups

Mak­ing it count- Mr and Mrs Bo­labiu en­joy their first sun­set as a mar­ried cou­ple

Hooray- James be­ing flanked by Kaveni Tale­maivalagi, Sakeasi Ri­nako­rovatu Jnr and Iliesa Tanivula

Good times & Tan Lines- Dr Asena Tuiketei, Alana Bent­ley and Arti Prasad cheer Ana af­ter mar­ry­ing her best friend

The wed­ding party pose in their tra­di­tional in­spired at­tires as from Lakeba and Ka­davu

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