Imagine a tropical island wedding, you and your partner wearing handmade flower garlands, entering the marriage ceremony arena under a fragrant floral archway set on the sunny sandy shores of Rarotonga, and exchanging vows on the edge of one of the world’s most beautiful blue lagoons. Then you pop a bottle of celebratory bubbles. For around $1125.
Your special day goes off without a hitch because this and more has been organised by your dedicated wedding planner. The marriage is officially recognised: your planner coordinates formalities through the local court house, arranges the celebrant, witnesses if you want, and your wedding licence and certificate.
This and other packages are offered and arranged by Muri Beach Club Hotel, just announced as winners of the Cook Islands’ best wedding planners award. (If you wish, you don’t need to stay at the hotel for this basic package).
As another example, about $5625 covers the ceremony plus a catered reception for 30 guests including your wedding cake and drinks, plus five nights honeymoon stay for the bride and groom in a deluxe beachfront guest room. There’s the choice of three reception venues: in a marquee on the beach, in the elevated scenic lounge overlooking the lagoon, motus (tiny offshore islets) and ocean, or under cover in the hotel’s Silver Sands restaurant, set between the luxury bougainvillea-decked swimming pool on one side, looking through to the beach and lagoon on the other. The wedding cake is made to order: single, dual or triple layers, or cupcakes, in a delicious range of flavours.
Already married? Muri Beach Club’s wedding coordinator will organise a renewal of vows ceremony for around $937. In fact, dozens of combinations of ceremonies are possible, tailor-made to individual requirements.
A glance through the hotel’s weddings brochure reveals options including everything from a shell horn welcome, a floral heart written on the sand, drummers and a string band, performing dancers, a DJ, or simply a portable iPod dock for your own special compilation, plus speakers and microphone. If you want, fairy lights or tiki torches can be supplied.
Other choices include the bride arriving in a flower-decked dugout canoe, a “vaka”, paddled by a warrior in traditional Polynesian dress, or holding the ceremony on a motu. Bouquets, photography, cinematography, photo booth and a projector and screen are all additional options. Hair and makeup services are offered, and there’s a beauty spa on site.
A wide range of catering options includes buffet, carvery, vegetarian and gluten-free, set-menu prices, beverage packages and hot or cold canapés selections.
Note that the prices given here are approximate, converted to Australian dollars at today’s rate. The actual charges are given in New Zealand dollars, the main currency of the Cook Islands.
For more information, see;
www.muribeachclubhotel.com – Weddings tab – and there you can chat direct with the hotel and order an emailed copy of its 18-page full colour weddings brochure and conditions.
Contact: Wedding & Events Manager, Claire; email: operations @ muribeachclubhotel .com
Susie Boswell, Travel Editor