Today’s throwback is to when we got married back in 2014 – one of my favourite days of my life!
My husband and I were married in Samoa. We were engaged in July 2014 and married in December 2014. We had a really small wedding with only 15 guests, and decided to have our wedding overseas in Samoa at a beautiful resort Saletoga Sands. At the time the resort had only been open for 8 months, so it was lovely and new. The resort is located on the south east coast of the island of Upolu, Samoa and about a one hour drive away from the international airport. It is also owned by a kiwi couple Gavin and Lou who were really lovely and easy to deal with.
Toby and I had been to Samoa two years earlier and fallen in love with the country, so it was a no brainer that we would go back there to celebrate our special day. We had already been planning to go back there for my 30th birthday, so we decided to combine my birthday with our wedding and a honeymoon – so many celebrations in one!
We decided to have a small wedding overseas for numerous reasons. One being that neither of us wanted to have the huge big wedding with hundreds of guests. We wanted it stripped back and simple, stress free and more a day for us to become one unit with our baby girl, originally we had thought about eloping, but then both realised that we especially wanted my Mum & Sister and Toby’s family there to join in the celebration. Our close family friends also joined us, and in the end I am so glad we didn’t sneak off and do it on our own, it is so special to have these beautiful memories with our nearest and dearest. As we kept it so small, and in the end not all of Toby’s family could join us, we decided to throw a party back in Auckland a couple of months later and invite everyone that we couldn’t have there to the party to celebrate – so in effect we sort of had two weddings – the gift that kept on giving!
The resort was fabulous and perfect for kids. We actually got upgraded to a beachfront villa when we checked in which was a lovely surprise! The resort had a beautiful big pool with a swim up bar, a lovely restaurant with really nice food and breakfast that was included, and the resort was situated on a beautiful white sand beach.
There is so much to do in Samoa, we organised a day out for all our guests and went on a tour around some of the attractions on the island and were guided by some staff from the resort who were so much fun. We went to the To Sua Ocean Trench which is a hole 30 metres in the ground that you climb a ladder down in to a beautiful pool to swim in, went to the blowholes and jumped off rocks and swam through caves, and to the Togitogiga Waterfall for a swim (and the brave ones jumped off the waterfalls – not me)! We also hired a car which the resort have available. You can easily drive in to Apia and can go to the markets there as well as to all sorts of other attractions around the island.
I wasn’t sure how it would go organising a wedding via email from a different country… however it was all really easy. The resort was really helpful with suggesting services that we could use. We ended up using a guy called Tony – The Samoan Photographer and a lady Hellen from a place Nezian Hair Design in Apia. I sent her some photos of what I wanted with my hair and drove in a day before the wedding to meet with her at her salon in Apia then she came out to the resort on the day of the wedding and did my Mum, Sister and my hair and makeup. Tony the photographer also came to meet us at the resort before the wedding. The resort arranged the minister and marriage certificates and all the legalities and paper work which was great!
They also arranged all the flowers and table settings, and the wedding arch on the pier. My bouquet was made out of frangipani and some greenery and the wedding arch was made out of the same. It is one of my favourite flowers and reminds me of my Grandma so was lovely to have included on our special day. We also wore them in our hair.
I wanted to add some personal touches to the wedding. So I ordered some personalised beer coolers to be made for each guest (perfect for the hot weather), some little fans which were all in different colours for the guests, and some little miniature bubbles with heart lids. I made a little tag that I tied to these with on one side “fans to cool off” and on the other “blow us bubbles of good wishes as we exit together as Mr & Mrs”. These were all laid out on a table with glasses of champagne and beer for the guests to help themselves to before the ceremony.
I had also printed off some Wed-libs and stuck them all to some cardboard with each guests names on, and tied a pen to each one and had them placed at the guests table settings, it was a silly and fun way to entertain everyone while we were off getting photos taken. I had also printed off some little wedding colouring in prints for our mini guests to colour in and be entertained for a little while.
I had taken a risk and ordered my wedding gown online from a website Grace Loves Lace. This is an Australian website and they specialise in handmaking absolutely beautiful gowns from European laces and silks. By taken a risk, I mean this because they are an exclusively online business so I was not able to try the gown on beforehand. At the time of ordering I was just over 4 months post partum with my first baby and my body was ever changing with breastfeeding and losing weight, so I was very nervous about the measurements I had provided! The day my gown arrived it was packaged in a beautiful white box and I remember pulling the dress out and putting it on, and I was so pleased with how it fit and I absolutely loved it! The gown was elegant and casual, and the belt and veil I had ordered with it were beautiful. The most beautiful online order I have ever received! I have kept the gown packaged up with my veil and belt along with my wedding shoes. I hope one day my daughters might want to wear the veil or belt on their wedding day if they ever choose to marry.
My daughter was 8 months old at the time we married and I had chosen a little dress for her with matching detail to our flower girl who was our niece. It was also simple, and this too I have kept packaged up with my gown!
My Mum walked me down the aisle to Eva Cassidy singing At Last, my sister was my maid of honor and carried my daughter down the aisle with her, our niece was our flower girl and our close family friend Toby was our ring bearer. Warm Love by Van Morrison was playing while we signed the marriage certificates, and we walked back down the aisle to Dreamland by Bob Marley & The Wailers. Our first dance was to Harvest Moon by Neil Young which has long been a favourite song of mine!
I find posing for photos really uncomfortable and really dislike having my photo taken – something I am trying to get better at, otherwise I am going to be behind the lens of every photo my kids look back on and they will wonder where I was! So although I really wanted some lovely photos taken to remember the day with I was so glad when all the ‘formal’ photo taking was over! Our photographer stayed all through the reception as well so we got some really lovely candid shots from later in the evening.
We settled in to the restaurant for our dinner which was beautiful, we had choices for entree from seared sesame tuna, grilled chicken and beef satay, and mains of grilled local eye fillet, chicken prawn caramel, roasted pork belly or pan seared yellow fin tuna, and our dessert was wedding cake with chocolate ganache. We had also organised for a fiafia night which is Samoan entertainment with traditional song and dance routines and fire dancing. Then we all finished the night off with lots of dancing and drinking!
It was such a magical day, and one I will treasure forever. Samoa will forever hold a special place in my heart and I cannot wait to go back there one day soon – this time with two extra kids!