WANT A CHRISTMAS TO REMEMBER? Forget tinsel and bon bons. Try getting hitched on a South Pacific beach And be sure to invite 150 friends and family along for the ride. Maria and Thomas embraced the festive spirit of their wedding date and their shared heritage, throwing a joyful party at the Return to Paradise Resort in Samoa. “We thought it would be a great way to have our family travel back home,” says Maria.
At first daunted by the prospect of coordinating multiple vendors from afar, Maria quickly discovered she could leave it all to wedding planner Mel from Return to Paradise Resort. “She was an absolute godsend,” says Maria. “Once she made it clear she would help us contact and organise additional vendors, everything was smooth sailing.”
The breathtaking beachfront and pristine lagoons surrounding the resort provided a dazzling backdrop for the couple’s emotional ceremony and stunning photoshoot. Then the revelry commenced. “The funniest moment was our bridal party entrance,” recalls Maria. “The bridesmaids and groomsmen really let loose with their dance moves. When it came to our turn we barely made it to the table!”
Delicious dining was a highlight, featuring local seafood and produce, and a mix of traditional and modern flavours. Spectacular fire dancers kept the tropical vibes flowing, while the couple name their own traditional Samoan dance as a precious memory. “It was amazing to see both our families dancing alongside us, so full of joy and smiles.” The newlyweds cherish the fact that so many friends and family could join them for the event, “and enjoyed themselves just as much as we did.” A friend who travelled from New Zealand summed up the experience. “He said it was the most relaxed and enjoyable wedding he has been to.”
Dreaming of planning your own destination wedding? “Do it!” Maria urges. “As long as you have an amazing wedding planner like mine,” she adds. “I can honestly say that it was the most memorable day for us, as well as our guests. I loved everything about it!”
Wedding date: 24 December 2016 // Number of guests: 150 // Wedding location: Return to Paradise Resort, Samoa, returntoparadise resort.com // Wedding planner: Mel Toailoa, Return to Paradise Resort // Photography: Jordan Kwan // Dress: Wedding Dress Express (backless gown) and Vision in White (second dress) // Honeymoon: Return to Paradise Resort and Le Lagoto Resort, Savai’i, Samoa