When Aiden and I first got engaged we were on a cruise and he dropped the knee on a beautiful little island called Lifou. After I said “yes” we threw around ideas of where we would like to get married, and the first thing that come to mind was to elope! We didn’t have many family members and only a small circle of friends to invite so for us it was a no brainer.
We didn’t do any planning for the first year, we were just happy being engaged. After the first year passed we decided to look into this idea of “eloping”. After some research we found our perfect island, Fiji. Fiji was affordable, it was close to home, the exchange rate was great for Australians and Fijians are known as the happiest/ easiest going people on earth.
We contacted 3 different Hotels that were rated in the top 10 hotels on TripAdvisor (TripAdvisor is my bible when it comes to travelling). Out of the 3 hotels we chose, 1 didn’t get back to me, 1 was double the price of the others but so beautiful and 1 was equally beautiful and had a white sand beach. So of course we chose the one with the white beach and the beautifully landscaped gardens at the Warwick Fiji.
I got myself a book and I wrote down every detail from colours, guest, deposits, speeches etc.
We set our date for 2 years’ and we started a long trial of emails back and forth with our wedding coordinator Una from the Warwick. I soon realized that in Fiji they work off “Fiji time” therefore getting a reply can take sometimes 2 weeks which was frustrating to a control freak like myself, but given the “Fiji Time” nothing I asked was ever a problem or a hassle. I have to give so much credit to Una, she handled my requests with a can do attitude and a smile, she was so warm and welcoming and you could tell she was a veteran at organizing weddings.
We choose a package to include min 30 guests and everything that was included was the following:
All ceremony costs inc registration of our marriage, singers as I walked down the aisle, celebrant etc
All reception costs from the cake, flowers, dj, canapes, alcohol, full buffet.
Hair & Makeup
We paid a little bit more and organized fire dancers a photo booth and MC
I don’t want to give an exact figure of the cost of our wedding but I do believe we paid half the price of a standard Australian wedding by eloping.
The wedding planning was relatively smooth and stress free however we did encounter a few hiccups along the way. Our guest list was the one of the biggest hiccups of all. We invited 60 people all up and only 23 came. We gave our guests plenty of notice, we sent save the date cards 2 years before the wedding and our invites a year before the wedding. The most disappointing part about the guests was that 90% of the guests confirmed they were going to be there on the day when we sent the save the date cards hence why we booked a package for a min of 30ppl. However at least 28 of the guests declined when we sent them an invite, and the most frustrating part was that we were chasing so many people for their RSVP after the RSVP date had been and gone.
4 months before the wedding one of Aiden’s groomsmen cancelled on him, luckily we hadn’t ordered the suits therefore we could find a much better and more reliable replacement.
1 month before the wedding my bridesmaid cancelled on me, however unfortunately for me it was too late to organize a replacement as the bridesmaid dresses had already been made and delivered and it took them 3 months to be made. This resulted in off numbers for our photos and our dances and a broken friendship.
The week of the wedding 4 people cancelled, these costs we couldn’t recoup therefore there was so much extra food and alcohol and we were out of pocket.
Given the issues with the guests as upsetting as it was, it was meant to be. They were not meant to be there as we had the most amazing and memorable time with our guests and it was a close and intimate group and because our wedding was in Fiji we all got to holiday together.
The day flew by and went off without a hitch, our guests all said it was the best wedding they had been too which meant so much to us as I am the biggest control freak and I had planned everything right down to the smallest of details. Now I am left with not only holiday blues but also wedding blues. For anyone thinking of eloping we cannot recommend it enough, it worked out perfectly for us and we wouldn’t want it any other way.