The island nation is rich with traditions and customs, and regardless of your religion or culture, there are some beautiful Fijian elements that can be incorporated into your Fiji wedding, fitting with the location, theme and atmosphere.
For Fijians, weddings are a favourite and very important event, filled with spectacle, celebration and flavor. The wonderful thing is that no wedding is the same, so there’s a lot of room for individuality and creativity.
So how can you encompass rich Fijian traditions into your own wedding? Here are some ideas!
Serve kava to your guests
Also known as a Yaqona Ceremony, Kava is a social Fijian drink presented when you visit a village. Previously, the drink was used for ceremonial purposes. Kava, made from the dried roots of a pepper tree, is generally presented by visitors to the elders of a village, in a practice called sevusevu. If serving to guests, just be aware that the drink is quite spicy, and can definitely be an acquired taste. Participating in a Yaqona Ceremony is be a lovely way to welcome your guests to your wedding. Have all guests take a ceremonial cup of brew, but remember, the contents must be drunk all at once. In some cases, a clap once before or after drinking is required.
Have a ‘tevutevu’ ceremony
Literally meaning ‘to spread’, the ‘spreading of the mats’ is an ancient Fijian wedding tradition. Traditionally, each person (usually in order of their social standing in their families) places a mat on the floor to symbolise where the couple will sleep. Each mat is placed on top of the other. Usually, the bride’s mother is the last person to spread a mat. These days, bedding including pillows, blankets, sheets and mosquito nets are given to the happy couple. It’s possible that Tevutevu symbolises the mother making her child’s bed for the final time before he or she weds, passing the duty on to the adults in marriage to make their own symbolic beds, as the heads of their own new family. Tevutevu is a beautiful tradition filled with so much significance and emotion, and is sure to interest and delight your guests as they place a mat or piece of bedding for you and your loved one.
Treat your guests to a ‘meke’ performance
This is when Fijians share their stories, histories and legends through music and dance. It’s a lovely way to pay tribute to the island nation and is very easy to incorporate into a wedding, simply by giving local musicians and dancers a chance to perform. The musicians will usually sit on the ground, sing and play traditional instruments, including hardwood gongs and bamboo pipes, while dancers wearing flower garlands, skirts made of grass or traditional warrior garb interpret the music. What’s so beautiful about this is that while the traditional stories do cover violent battles, they also include love stories – the perfect addition to any wedding ceremony.
Wear masi garments
Even though most Fijians wear western clothes these days, the masi, or tapa cloth, is generally worn for ceremonial occasions, especially weddings. The cloth is made from the bark of a mulberry tree which is native to Fiji, and then decorated with hand-drawn traditional Fijian designs. In some families, each member has a new outfit sewn for them out of the same fabric – a touching way to bring (and keep!) everyone together. Captain Cook Cruises wedding options provide the opportunity for you to hire traditional wedding dress.
Eat delicious traditional Fijian food
For so many cultures, it’s all about the food, and Fiji really is no exception. In fact, feasting on special occasions is common practice in Fiji. The traditional way of cooking in Fiji is called ‘lovo’, and is a lovely way to honour the island nation in your wedding. Here, dry coconut husks are stacked and burnt in a pit. Stones are put onto the fire, and when most of the husks are burnt away, foods such as taro, pork and potato are wrapped in banana leaves and placed on the stones. Fish and meat should be placed first, with the vegetables on top. The traditional Fijian feast, as per tradition, can then be enjoyed picnic-style by your family and friends. Captain Cook Cruises offer this amazing culinary experience once every week on their Reef Endeavour itineraries and can also offer as an option on Tivua Island for Weddings.
Be escorted to your groom
For many brides, the tradition of warriors, or the ‘Bili Bili’, is a festive and eye-catching way to enter their ceremony. This is when native Fijians wearing traditional garb carry the bride on a wedding throne that is gorgeously adorned with flowers. Definitely a walk down the aisle no one will forget! Captain Cook Cruises will decorate their small boat and the bride will be flanked by warriors!
Bringing the beauty of Fiji to your wedding
Filled with a wealth of traditions and customs, there are so many ways you can incorporate the rich and diverse culture of Fiji into your wedding. Captain Cook Cruises Fiji have a range of amazing Wedding Packages that take the stress and hassle out of organising your dream day in Fiji. And after having your wedding in such a beautiful location, it makes sense to continue the love-fest by exploring Fiji even further. Captain Cook Cruises Fiji have Honeymoon Packages that are a magical way to experience the relaxing and tranquil nature of Fiji with your new bride or groom. Contact us today to chat about organising a wedding and honeymoon you, your family, and your friends will never forget.