Real Wedding - The Rarotongan - Chelsea & Jozza - wedding vows

A Stress-Free & Indulgent Wedding in The Cook Islands

When it comes to dream locations, Rarotonga’s Aroa Lagoon seems almost too beautiful to be real! Its sugar-soft sands and translucent waters are the realm of screensavers, postcards and, as Chelsea and Jozza discovered, amazing holiday weddings. The ‘Lagoon of Love’ set the scene for this Brisbane-based couple to celebrate love, family, and their shared Aotearoa New Zealand Maori heritage at The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Lagoonarium.Real Wedding - The Rarotongan - Chelsea & Jozza - newlywed portrait with all guests by the beach

When designing their day, the couple envisioned a stress-free and indulgent event for themselves and their loved ones. The resort’s all-inclusive Seventh Heaven package hit the brief with everything they needed for a carefree experience, including the expertise of a dedicated wedding planner. From beachfront accommodation to a toes-in-the sand ceremony and traditional island barbeque feast, it kept logistics to a minimum for maximum holiday vibes.

Blessed with tropical sunshine, the big day captured the spirit of relaxed island romance. The bride (known to friends and family as Gax) donned a traditional cloak and shared a Snickers shot with her dad Jack before gliding down the sandy aisle to the sounds of Eric Benét’s Spend My Life With You.Real Wedding - The Rarotongan - Chelsea & Jozza - bride and groom signing their contract

In the presence of their 12-year old daughter Aysha and almost 60 whanau (extended family) and friends, Gax and Jozza pledged their love beside the shimmering lagoon waters. A heartfelt moment in a sublime setting. After a sun-drenched photocall and pre-dinner drinks on the Lagoon Deck, guests could stroll over to the Treetops Verandah Room to continue the festivities. Naturally, the happy couple was given pride of place, seated in rattan Peacock Chairs at their own sweetheart table — the perfect perch to enjoy the evening’s powerful haka performance.Real Wedding - The Rarotongan - Chelsea & Jozza - bride and groom with their daughter

Another reception highlight? The Uma Buffet, featuring delectable pork, lamb, beef and chicken that had been slow-cooked all afternoon in the earth-oven firepit along with freshly prepared salads and local dishes. Later in the evening, a chocolate-buttercream wedding cake and spread of decadent desserts kept energy levels peaking as everyone danced the night away.

As couples often tell us, the beauty of a destination wedding is the chance to enjoy more than just one special day. For Gax and Jozza, their celebration was a wedding, family reunion, tropical island holiday, and honeymoon all rolled into one unforgettable experience. A treat for themselves and their favourite people.

After the excitement of ‘I do’, the newlyweds dialled right down to island time for a few more heavenly days in paradise at The Rarotongan. Kia Manuia (best wishes) you two!

Date: 20 October 2023 // Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Lagoonarium // Photography: William Tuiravakai // Bridal Gown: Hebeos // Rings: Prouds the Jewellers // Flowers: The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Lagoonarium

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