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When you marry a teacher in the middle of a school term, a long honeymoon is never on the cards. Our 8-day honeymoon needed to be somewhere close, but far enough away not to feel like ‘home’. After getting engaged in Koh Samui 18 months earlier, we knew we wanted somewhere different but still needed that tropical feel. Enter a 4 hour flight to Vanuatu!

We stayed at Iririki Island Resort, which is a short ferry ride from the mainland in Port Vila. On the way to our resort, we discovered a few things; Vanuatuans’ drive on the other side of the road, there was no time difference between Vanuatu and home, they speak French (most signs and newspapers are in French and English) and all the rumours that I’d heard about Vanuatu being the friendliest country on earth were true.

The first three days of our honeymoon were spent doing a whole lot of nothing. Eating a lot, drinking cocktails, reading, swimming and napping (mainly napping)! I felt bad about doing nothing after months of checklists and thought that we should be making the most of the trip by exploring the country. My new husband spoke some sense into me and reminded me that we deserved it.

We had a traditional Melanesian dinner on our first night and tried Kava, which is Vanuatu’s favourite drink. It’s made from the root of a plant and has a narcotic affect. In fact, the people of Vanuatu prefer kava over alcohol and it only takes 4 drinks for the average male to feel like a zombie!

I spent one day of our holiday getting pampering for four hours; a hot stone massage, full body scrub, one hour facial and a pedicure. Bliss! We also went on a tour of the island, where we went to one of the local villages and saw how they lived. We were the only two on the tour which meant we were able to ask as many questions as we liked.

We found out that pigs are very important to the country and that in the old days if a man wanted to marry a women he would have to consult the father and the father would request a ‘price’ for his daughter – usually 15 pig tusks which would take about 15 years to grow to full size. The villages still have chiefs and a policeman but mod-cons make communication across villages a lot easier these days.

We learned the background of the Vanuatu flag, where the colour red signifies the blood lost in gaining independence from Britain and France. The colour yellow signifies Christianity and the colour green represents the land in which they live and grow their food. The Y shape on the flag represents the shape of the Vanuatu islands.

Traveling to the Cascade Falls, was a definite highlight! They were the most amazing waterfalls I have ever seen. Breathtaking and so tranquil at the same time. A definite must-do of Vanuatu. The trek only took about 15 minutes and we were very surprised to see the number of older travellers from the cruise ship making the journey.

A disappointment of the trip was the fact that we only discovered the Port Villa casino two days before leaving. Not because we like casinos, but because the bar was on level 9 and had amazing views of the ocean and was a really classy place to have a drink.

The food and culture of Vanuatu is heavily influenced by Australia. Breakfasts were the traditional buffet of hot food and cereals. For lunch, we tended to make our own from supplies bought at the supermarket. Dinners were similar to what we’d have out at home (burgers, pizzas, etc.), and about the same price as well.

The rest of our honeymoon was spent watching the cricket in the air-conditioned room (of course), swimming, eating and drinking!

 Photographs from Katie and Tim’s collection.

Swirl divider2 Katie and Tims One Day   Our Way

Ms Gingham says: Beautiful honeymoon to wrap up a beautiful story! Thank you to Katie and Tim for sharing their journey with us!

Katie says: “During the week, I work in HR for a fun and fantastic IT company. On the weekends, I’m exercising, baking, crafting, DIYing and home decorating. My husband makes me smile and I lose track of time when I’m reading a good book! I value loyalty, non-judgement and love and believe that the purpose of life is to live happy!”

Katie wrote about her wedding to Tim on Polka Dot Weddings recently. Read about it here.

Photograph by Laura Manariti via Katie and Tim’s One Day – Our Way

Polka Dot Honeymoons Directory Mid Banner

This week on Polka Dot Honeymoons we saw Gabbi and Julio’s Fiji Destination Wedding which inspired us to compile this six things to love about Fiji! Ta da!

1. The Meke – A traditional Fijian dance. Image via FijiMe

2. The Fragrant Franjipani Flower. Image via Gardentropics

3. Fiji Water … of course! Image via Fiji Water

4. Fijian Kokoda is a refreshing coconut and lime fish soup served  regularly in Fiji. Image from MindFood

5. The beaches! Image via Vatulele Island Resort

6. The Cocktails! These ones are Evening Delight and Midori sunset… just keep them coming I say! Image via Lonely Planet

Gabby & Julio

While I am completely freezing, a good dose of destination wedding bliss is the perfect tonic. Gabby and Julio decided they would wed in Fiji, not only embracing the local culture as much as they could, but celebrating their love within it.

Gabby tells their story. “We met one fateful night at Alumbra (bar located in Docklands, Melbourne). Julio was working behind the bar one night when I happened to accompany my friends on a lady’s night out. His eye was caught and the rest is history!”

Photographs today are by Katie of Love, Katie & Sarah– Katie’s clean, classic style is so beautiful for this Fijian celebration. Troy from Encore Media shot a film of the day.

Gabby and Julio chose Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji for their wedding and used the resort’s wedding planner Moreen Manjita to coordinate the day.

Gabby’a bridesmaids wore floor length red gowns from Forcast. Gabby’s hair & makeup was done by a friend Christopher Ngo from Glitz Hairworkz Singapore and hair and makeup for the bridal party by Gabby’s best man Aaren Hafidz Shaffi . Gabby wore three gowns for the day all custom made. Julio also wore a custom made suit.

Gabby came down the aisle accompanied by a traditional choir and eight Fijian warriors carrying her on a traditional bridal sedan raft. Gabby recalls “As I got onto the raft, one of the warriors sneezed and stained my dress. It sent the bridesmaids into a frenzy but I kept calm. The 1 minute delay it caused turned out to be a blessing in disguise because the my 2 year old nephew fell and hurt his head and was wailing about a minute before the bridal entrance.”

Gabby advises “It’s not easy planning a destination wedding, especially when you don’t get to view the venue beforehand. A lot of research is required beforehand, but on your wedding day, just enjoy yourself even though not everything goes to plan.”

Gabby remarks ” Having a small & intimate wedding, meant that we shared our most special day thoroughly, without the need to create ‘small talk’ with acquaintances.” The cake and flowers were both arranged by the resort.

Gabby and Julio incorporated as many traditional Fijian elements as possible into their day. Gabby remarks “We wanted to have the wedding as authentically Fijian as possible, embracing their culture and living the experience.”

Gabby and Julio performed a traditional Fijian dance they learned just one day before the wedding. They both wore traditional Fijian dress for the reception performance.

Troy from Encore Media shot this stunning wedding film for the couple.

[vimeo width=”550″ height=”450″]http://www.vimeo.com/36522171[/vimeo]

Congratulations Gabby and Julio! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us! Thank you also to Love, Katie & Sarah for sharing today’s images and  Encore Media for today’s film!

Credits

This post features the following wedding vendors. If you've been featured below, we'd love to get to know you. Click here to join Polka Dot Bride.

  • Bride's Dress
  • Custom made
  • Groom's Attire
  • Custom made
  • Hair & Makeup Artist
  • Glitz Hairworkz Singapore
  • Hair & Makeup Artist
  • Aaren Hafidz Shaffi