Our Fiji Wedding on a budget
Updated: May 25, 2020
When Sam proposed in September 2017 during our world trip (on a deserted island in the Maldives - just a little bit romantic hey!) we had no idea when a wedding would take place, or even where we would be the following year. Our plans were up in the air, we might be living in New Zealand, we might be travelling still, or even back home in the UK. We never really made a plan for a wedding and the only logistics we discussed and agreed, was that it would be intimate and budget friendly!
As a girl I never imagined my wedding and what it would look like - that is the honest truth. After attending big, elaborate weddings I did know that those types of weddings were personally not for me! Obviously for us (budget spenders) the biggest turn off is the cost - the average wedding in the UK costs £30,000. That amount would last Sam and I three years travelling! I know, I know money isn't everything and the value of the wedding day isn't just about the cost - but come on!
Anyway if I stop judging and ranting (sorry!) I'll actually explain why eloping was right for us! So yes we got engaged and carried on travelling for well over the time we thought we would. We added more countries into our plans, stayed longer in places and honestly we were not ready to get back into the grind again. I can't even remember whose idea it was to elope, I'm going to say it was Sam's! At some point at the end of our Australia trip in September we got the idea of eloping in Fiji (after we visited Vanuatu). It would be our last country travelled before living in New Zealand and would see out our travels with a bang. It was a no brainer after doing our research too - Fiji weddings are recognised worldwide, it was super cheap and the destination, well it speaks for itself!
So once we were set on the idea we told our immediate family about our proposed decision (whether or not it happened once we arrived was never guaranteed). Everyone was over the moon and actually expected it from us. Plus, our parents were relieved to not have that £30,000 expense I bet!
A wedding day is something that is insignificant to us. That is because we were engaged to be married, not engaged to have a wedding day that happened once. It would have been lovely to celebrate our marriage with family, however we can celebrate whenever we want, for however many days we want. Our marriage isn't for anyone but us and our money is well spent in other ways. We would like to buy our own land, build our own house, retire early and enjoy our marriage without financial strain or worry.
So with those thoughts we bought some wedding attire in Sydney...
Megan's dress from Glassons (AUS$30), Sam's shirt from Target (AUS$20), Megan's wedding band from Pandora (AUS$40) and Sam's wedding band from Myers (AUS$14).
For those of you contemplating eloping we can't give you the break down on every country but we can explain how we eloped in Fiji!
You can find a checklist here but you simply need a copy of:
- Birth Certificate
- Single status declaration letter
We took our birth certificate and passport copies to the Registry office (we went to Suva) and had the Justice of Peace certify them - all for free! He's a lovely man who has probably worked there for decades. We couldn't believe how easy it was to get an approved stamp on our tatty old copies.
We then asked how we get a single status declaration letter. We were first asked to see our embassy, and after a few hours at the British embassy on the phone to england we were no step closer to getting one. We returned to the Justice of Peace man who told us to simply handwrite him a letter that declared we were single and he would stamp it! He left us speechless, if that was England we would have been told 'sorry, come back when you have figured out how to get one...'
After we had all three items stamped we booked our marriage for the 8th October - just three days from then! On the day we signed in and paid FJ$22 for the marriage ceremony (£7), we asked the two receptionists to be our witnesses and sign our marriage forms that were handed to us. We had a simple registry ceremony with the celebrant who rejoiced lovely words for us and made us feel very warm. We paid FJ$15 for five certificates (including one Fijian decorated) and so our total cost of the marriage that day was £12.50. And absolute total would be around £300 (including flights from Vanuatu) - cheers to that!
After our ceremony we ate our favourite cuisine, sushi and got ready to travel to our next destination where we would capture some wedding photographs. We chose Sigatoka because of it's natural beauty; valleys, rivers, beaches, sand dunes...
We stayed in a guesthouse with a welcoming family - nothing flash, just everything we were used to! For two days we scouted out our photographing locations and set up our camera on our makeshift tripod (tent poles and mini tripod taped to the top) and awkwardly posed!
Our wedding day was the epitome of simple and we wouldn't want it any other way. Our friends and family were pleasantly surprised and said it suited us well. They appreciate and respect our wishes, they would have loved to be there with us, however they understand the rational thinking behind it all too. If it makes us happy, it makes them happy too!
Sam and I are all about enjoying the little things in life together, we don't need fancy things, big brands and over the top weddings to show how much we enjoy being together. Life is about adventure and our wedding day(s) was bursting just that!
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