The Ultimate Escape in FijiWords by Jennifer Stein
April Schmitt, All About Honeymoons franchise owner in Granite Bay, California and Destination and Honeymoon Expert, gives us the skinny on planning the trip of a lifetime in a dream location.
DID: Why is Fiji such a desirable destination for weddings and honeymoons?
AS: This truly multi-sensory destination captures ones heart, soul and palate. A couple will arrive in Fiji already in love with each other, but will soon fall in love with the smell of frangipani flowers, fresh tropical fruits, tranquil waves and the beautiful heart and voices of the Fijian people. Luxurious indulgence, serenity, adventure and culture are daily experiences.
DID: Isn’t it hard putting a wedding together so far away? What type of couple is suited for this kind of celebration?
AS: Although Fiji looks far on the globe, it really is an accessible destination. Air Pacific offers a ten-hour direct flight from LAX. You board the plane at bedtime and wake up in Fiji. Fiji isn’t any further than the Caribbean or Europe when you consider total flight and travel time. Couples are looking for the road less traveled, they don’t want to duplicate what their friends have done. They are searching for more than just a beach; they want experiences, eco-friendly resorts and rich cultural experiences to enhance their lives. The 322 islands of Fiji offer many different options to suit any couple searching for an authentic experience.
DID: What can a couple expect from a wedding or honeymoon in Fiji?
AS: A couple can expect to have the time of their lives! Romantic amenities include things like candlelight beach dinners, helicopter transfers, waterfall picnics and flowing champagne. Endless eco-adventure, scuba, snorkeling, hiking and excitement abound. They will swim in colorful waters alive with the brightest corals and fish they’ve ever seen. Celebrations are enhanced by the intuitively nurturing Fijian people. And the singing! The Fijians sing like angels all over the island resorts. Experiencing Fiji exceeds expectations.
DID: What accommodations and services are available in Fiji?
AS: There is a wide range of offerings among the islands. Most resorts build to suit the environment with beach-front bures and unique large scale bures sleeping up to eight, all of which are ultimately secluded for privacy and romance. Some have outdoor showers, plunge pools, lap pools, large decks with daybeds, glass walls which open to the ocean and roofs which open to the sky. Matangi Private Island Resort even offers large “treehouse” bures for maximum privacy and unmatched views. It is rare to find anything typical on these islands.
The three main groups of islands are the Yasawas, the Mamanucas and the Northern Group (Taveuni, Savusavu, Matangi). Each group is in a different geographical area which makes for a diverse topography and unique island experience. A northern island property like Taveuni Island Resort would suit a bride seeking a dramatic ocean-cliff wedding. While a very private couple may select the intimate beach of Matangi where you could stay the day and never see another person. Vomo or Yasawa Island Resort would be ideal for a large beach family wedding. Musket Cove offers a hill-top chapel, Likuliku Lagoon Resort can provide an intimate wedding in your private over-water bure and Castaway provides a live video link for your guests back home. If you want to see even more, combine an island cruise with a resort stay. Captain Cook and Blue Lagoon Cruises offer three to seven-night small ship options for an intimate view of the islands. Whatever the wish list is, Fiji can fill it.
DID: How would a couple “take over” an island/property? Isn’t this beyond most couples’ budgets?
AS: Fantasy isn’t just for the rich and famous. A skilled travel professional can negotiate island resort “buy-outs.” Royal Davui is a luxurious, five-star, private island resort with 15 bures. A group of 30 guests can take over this small island paradise for five nights for $3,000 per person, including meals. Yasawa Island Resort offers massive beach-front bures on an expansive white sand beach. This resort can be taken over for 60 people (38 adults, 22 kids) for $2,000 per person for seven nights, including meals. If a couple dreams of a wedding in paradise and a buy-out isn’t something they have enough people for, then we can secure several well-located bures for them at the resort of their choice. My favorite properties perfectly geared for “take-overs” are Matangi Private Island Resort, Royal Davui Island Resort, Paradise Taveuni, Vomo Island Resort, Yasawa Island Resort and Namale Fiji Resort.
DID: If a couple is planning a wedding in a secluded destination such as Fiji, should they use a wedding specialist?
AS: I believe when planning any destination wedding a couple is always better off using a destination wedding expert. Leave the negotiating, legalities, logistics and resort matching to the professionals. This is especially critical when choosing a destination with such a variance in resorts and islands. There are so many nuances in matching up the couple’s personality with the right property. A Fiji travel expert (called a Matai Agent) has gone through extensive training and has toured the resorts and islands of Fiji. This firsthand knowledge and experience allows us to appropriately match the expectations of the bride and groom to the best island and resort. The travel logistics in Fiji can be tricky. Your All About Honeymoons professional can suggest the best options for each island and which are more cost effective. The resorts and islands really are diverse, therefore, you should not judge them by photos alone. You can trust you will find the perfect island match by consulting your All About Honeymoons Fiji expert.
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