Celebrations: Fiji: Tropical Escape

Alexis Keuning and Heath Dearlove married at Outrigger on the Lagoon, Fiji, on Saturday, June 30, 2012

    Alexis Keuning and Heath Dearlove married at Outrigger on the Lagoon, Fiji, on Saturday, June 30, 2012.

    Our love story Heath and I met in 2002 – I was out with a friend, who saw Heath sitting by himself and invited him over to have a drink with us. After eight years together and with no intentions of becoming engaged, we wandered into a jewellery store and found a ring we both loved. I asked Heath what he thought, to which his response was ‘Yeah, I could get married.’ From that moment on we never looked back.

    Beachside bliss We both loved the idea of an unconventional wedding set in an overseas paradise, and Fiji provided the perfect island escape. After lots of research, we eventually decided Outrigger on the Lagoon, with its onsite chapel and beach backdrop, would suit us perfectly. We kept decorations simple, settling on a tropical colour scheme of turquoise and green. Fairy lights, which we strung between coconut trees above our outdoor reception area, gave the setting a romantic luminous glow.

    My dream dress Because I have a background in bridal fashion I designed and made my own dress, being careful to keep the warm climate in mind. My 1930s-inspired backless gown was made of champagne silk and featured lace straps and diamanté detailing. I finished my look with a Peter Trends hairpiece, ivory pearl earrings and a pair of champagne stilettos from Zu Shoes.

    Small and select Just 22 close friends and family members attended our intimate celebration. We opted out of having a formal bridal party, and instead our daughter acted as flower girl.

    Floral fantasia A florist from the resort provided a selection of local blooms, including white orchids, birds of paradise and palm leaves, along with frangipani and orchid petals which were sprinkled down the aisle. The flowers were beautiful and added to the tropical feel of the occasion.

    Stationery I incorporated a wanderlust theme into our invitations, gleaning inspiration from designs found online. The invitations were made to look like passports, and our RSVPs mimicked boarding passes.

    A fijian feast Our traditional Fijian buffet included marinated lime fish, roasted pumpkin salad and desserts such as chocolate and orange mousse. Our cake, also made onsite, was a two-tiered mud cake masterpiece decorated with white orchids and icing. To evoke an intimate, relaxed atmosphere and encourage conversation, we seated our guests around one big outdoor table rather than numerous small ones.

    My advice for brides to be If you’re getting married overseas, try and find a venue that boasts its own capable vendors. Almost every part of our wedding was arranged by the resort’s wedding planner, and it made organising our big day a breeze.

    The details

    Bride’s gown Made by bride
    Hair and MakeupWavelengths Hair Salon 
    Groom’s attireShazzam Formal 
    Bride’s accessoriesShazzam Formal 
    Bride’s shoesZu Shoes 
    Groom’s shoesConnor 
    RingsCraig Hilton Manufacturing Jeweller 
    FlowersOutrigger on the Lagoon 
    CakeOutrigger on the Lagoon 
    CateringOutrigger on the Lagoon 
    StationeryPaper & Stuff 
    Photography Jake Thomas

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