Weddings of the World: Fiji

Weddings of the World: Fiji

Getting married on the Fijian islands is a girl’s dream – clear blue water, white sand, and beautiful traditions can make for an unforgettable wedding.

Though modern Fijians rarely participate in arranged marriages, brides were traditionally chosen by the groom’s parents based on her tribal background. For them, the partnership was more than two people getting married, it was two families being bonded economically and socially, forever. The traditional Fijian wedding ceremony is called tevutevu. “Tevu” means to spread, and describes how Fijian families shower the new couple and in-laws with a spread of gifts like mats, cloth, pigs, whale’s teeth, and root crops.

The bride is dressed and prepared in traditional costume by her new in-laws to enter her husband’s family home for the first time on the wedding day. Her kuta, or handwoven decorated mat garment, is kept by the women dressing her to be shared with the extended family for years to come. Guests might wear masi garments, which are made of cloth from the bark of a mulberry tree hand-decorated with Fijian designs.

Like so many wedding traditions across the world, the bride makes a dramatic entrance. She can float in on a Fijian bili bili, which is a beautifully decorated raft paddled by men dressed in warrior attire. Once she’s entered her new husband’s home for the first time, the bride is given away in the Fijian nai soli tradition. This is where it gets emotional! Similarly to when a western father gives away his daughter, the Fijian bride’s uncles present a whale tooth, or tabua, and give their blessings to give her over to her new family. The groom’s uncles thank the bride’s parents and extended family for raising her and welcome her.

Afterward, the two families feast together as one. They will most certainly drink Fiji’s national drink, kava. It’s a spicy, mouth-numbing drink made from the dried roots of a pepper tree that is present at all important social gatherings. It’s painstakingly prepared by hand, and guests are expected to drink it all in one sip without spilling any. Food might be cooked by lovo, where it’s wrapped in banana leaves and heated over and pit of burning coconut husks. At their feast, it’s common to have meke entertainment. Meke is the custom where people sing and dance with traditional instruments like gongs or bamboo pipes. They tell stories of love, warriors, and tradition as a tribute to their beautiful islands. Meke is also a beautiful way to add a touch of early Fijian tradition to your otherwise modern wedding.

Photo Credit: Chloe Jackman Photography –

Stay tuned once a month for our Weddings of the World blog. Where we will take a deeper look into the cultures and wedding traditions of countries around the world!




Mahaffey Ever After

Mahaffey Ever After

As a wedding planner we normally work for 6 months to a year, but sometimes due to special circumstances, planning a wedding can take two years. We take every element of the wedding and handle the details to bring it all together seamlessly.

The stationery has to be JUST right since because your wedding invitations are a reflection of your personalities and a visual representation of your love. Thus, they not only provide your guests with the first glimpse of this special day but they also set the expectations. Yes, we’re selecting colors, fabrics, and making sure this day will be the most beautiful day of your life. However, the team at J. Ladson Weddings does much more. We spend countless hours each day ensuring that nothing falls between the cracks and no detail is left unaccounted for.

We conduct vendor reviews to make sure that you have reputable people on your team. We review and negotiate contracts to ensure that you are completely covered and are getting everything promised to you.  Once we have a solid team, we can begin the steps of building your timeline and putting all these tiny and meticulous pieces together. Your wedding is like a very large jigsaw puzzle, it’s elegant and beautiful in design, with very hundreds of pieces from each vendor and a several custom specialty pieces that are unique to the couple.  Each day my team spends several hours making sure that all these tiny shapes and pieces fit intricately together.

Now, imagine that it’s been 623 days and you’re just about to put the final two pieces together and complete your masterpiece. However, right before you can insert that final piece, in walks an angry toddler having the biggest temper tantrum and she flips the entire puzzle on the floor….  Well that’s what COVID-19 did to our April and May brides this year and now we’ve gotta pick up the pieces and finish this puzzle again but with a few new pieces being introduced and shorter time frame.

Luckily, Paul and Breana will still get to celebrate their nuptials on the original planned date with a little help from technology. The family will broadcast the wedding through Zoom and share on Facebook Live. Please join us in congratulating this lucky couple on their special day.



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