Saturday, May 27, 2017

Weddings in Samoa

Aggie-Greys-Resort-Samoa-WeddingWeddings in Samoa are wonderfully romantic and Samoa is a Pacific destination that more than live up to the photographs – white sand beaches, warm turquoise waters, and lush tropical rainforests. Couples can choose to marry in a church, on a beach or beside a waterfall in a stress-free atmosphere that is part of fa’a Samoa (the Samoan way).
Catholic, other denominational weddings and civil ceremonies can be arranged. We only recommend properties that we have personally experienced and wedding packages range from around $1000 to around $2500, depending on the location and the inclusions (some samples below). Following is an overview of some of the wedding locations.


Aggie’s is a terrific choice for couples who invite guests who have children (has a good Kids Club and lots of activities) and for those who would like a Catholic wedding as the 100-year-old chapel is now consecrated as a church (only Catholic weddings are allowed in the chapel).
There are other lovely wedding locations by the water or in the stunning rainforest Day Spa. There are 140 air-conditioned rooms looking out across the water to Savai’i island. The resort is five minutes from the International Airport and about half an hour from Apia.
Couples can choose to marry at sunrise or sunset and celebrate with a romantic dinner or party with guests under the stars. As well as a range of ceremony locations there are a number of celebration/reception options. Just email for more details.


Sinalei-Samoa-WeddingHaving undergone major renovations and refurbishment following the September 2009 tsunami, Sinalei is now even more ‘special’. The ‘catch phrase’ used by the resort is “Simply Sinalei” and Sinalei is simply stunning. Set in 33 acres of lush gardens on the south coast of Upolo (45 minutes from the airport and 30 minutes from Apia) there are just 27 fales with two restaurants, swimming pool, golf course, tennis and watersports (swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, fishing and diving). The beachfront fales are superb with an enclosed atrium with outdoor shower and large deck looking out to the ocean. Both the resort and manager, Sose Alexander, exude casual elegance. There are various wedding options to choose from – from a church wedding to canoe wedding to a sunset beach ceremony. Sinalei makes weddings special for couples by themselves or those who invite guests (adults only).


Coconuts Beach Club is located not far from Sinalei on the south coast of Upolu. Unlike Sinalei, it allows children but it also has Samoa’s only overwater fales (bungalows). There are also villas, suites and beach fales.
Coconuts is owned by Americans and prices wedding packages in US dollars. Wedding packages start at $1500 and you can step up to a package that includes photography and a Samoan string band to a package that includes spa pampering and a romantic dinner to the full-on ‘Samoan Experience’. Email us for more details. Religious ceremonies can also be arranged.
There is a minimum five-night stay at the resort for couples wanting to marry at Coconuts.


Seabreeze is along the coast from Sinalei and Coconuts, is owned by Wendy and Chris Booth who left Australia in 2005 to embark on the adventure of a lifetime and they are still living that adventure.
Seabreeze is adults only and all villas have ocean, lagoon or reef views. The Honeymoon Point House is particularly special.
A minimum five-night stay applies for Seabreeze wedding packages and ceremonies can be religious or non-religious. The packages can include a a champagne breakfast to start the day, a beach ceremony, local warrior escort and a local string band to serenade. At certain time of the year the resort may offer a free wedding (subject to seven nights accommodation being booked.


Saletoga Sands is also on the south coast of Upolu. Owned by Kiwis Lou and Gavin Brightwell the resort is a result of them following a dream to build a contemporary but casual tropical resort in a stunning location. Right on the beach with a swimming pool and a range of accommodation options to suit couples and families, Saletoga is ideal for wedding with family and friends attending.
There is a well-priced tropical wedding package for two, a deluxe package that includes a traditional Samoan Warrior escort and the Le Tiamane all-inclusive package that includes four nights’ accommodation for the couple, the ceremony, three course reception and three-hour beverage package for 20 guests for just NZD$6280.


Samoa Le Lagoto WeddingSome visitors to Samoa only go to the main island of Upolu, but there are lots of rewards not far away on the northern island of Savai’i. It’s a 10 minute flight or a 90 minute ferry ride. It is scenically beautiful and, believe it or not, it is even more laid back than Upolu! Le Lagoto is a lovely resort and, not surprisingly, Le Lagoto in Samoan means ‘sunset’ – it is a lovely spot for a wedding!

And finally, for now…



  • Sinalei Samoa JettyDecoration of Canoes
  • Registration
  • Celebrant/Minister
  • Photographer
  • Brides Bouquet
  • Brides Head-dress (Pale)
  • Ula (Floral necklace – Groom)
  • Village Serenaders
  • Champagne Meal for two
Optional Extras
  • Wedding Cake
  • CD ROM (photography/compilation)
  • Video Taping


  • Namale Fiji WeddingPersonal Wedding Coordinator
  • String Band Greeting on arrival with leis at the Resort
  • Private Return Airport Transfers
  • VIP Express Check In at the Resort
  • Champagne and Fresh Fruits in your Deluxe Ocean View Room on arrival
  • Traditional Samoan Kava Ceremony on your Chosen day
Ceremonial Arrangements
  • Traditional Samoan Garments for Bride and Groom
  • Fresh Leis for Bride and Groom
  • Tropical Flower gown for the Bride and Groom
  • Flame Torches for Sunset or Sunrise Wedding
  • A beautiful archway of flowers
  • Sarong for Bride and Groom
  • Planting of tree of love or Niu on the Romantic Island getaway
  • Photographer with 40 photos in a beautiful tapa cloth wedding album
  • Champagne Breakfast for Sunrise Wedding or Champagne Dinner for Sunset Wedding by the beach
  • Marriage Celebrant or Pastor
Le Lagoto Sunset


  • Special ceremony venue with floral arch
  • Pastor or Celebrant to conduct the ceremony
  • All marriage licence and registration requirements
  • Bouquet for bride & 1 bridesmaid (if any)
  • Buttonhole for groom & best man (if any)
  • Ulas- floral necklaces for bride & groom
  • 2 witnesses
  • Special setting for dinner
  • Romantic dinner for 2 – from A la carte menu ( entrée, main course & dessert each)
  • Wedding coordination
  • 1 Bottle champagne

There are special packages for couples inviting guests.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Wedding Drinks - Groom

Most wedding receptions involve liquid refreshment. If your reception is in a venue which takes care of everything for you (such as a hotel) then all you really need to do is decide which drinks to serve, and whether you want to have a pay bar later in the evening or continue to provide free drinks all night.
If your reception is somewhere else, like a marquee, then a bit more planning is required:
  • You may need to purchase all the wedding drinks yourself and transport them to the venue (see “Booze Cruise” below).
  • You will also need serving staff, although if you are using outside caterers then they will usually be able to arrange this for you.
  • Also you will need a “bar” at the end of the evening. Again, most wedding caterers will be able to set up and run a small bar, even if it’s just a table in the corner of a room.

What to offer your guests on arrival

It’s a good idea to welcome people to your reception with a drink. The traditional choice is champagne, but sparkling wine is an alternative. For summer weddings, Pimms and lemonade in long glasses works very well. Make sure you have a non-alcoholic option. Orange juice is a safe bet.

During the meal

If you are providing a meal at your reception – and most couples do – then you’ll probably want to serve wine at the same time.
Choose the wine to match the food. If you have caterers involved they should be able to advise you. When you’re choosing wine for a large gathering it pays not to be too adventurous. You might be a big fan of sweet German Rieslings, but plenty of your guests won’t be.
Again, make sure you have a non-alcoholic option. Water is generally fine (put it on the table either in jugs with ice, or bottled). Elderflower pressé is also a classic wedding soft drink.
If you are having speeches at any point in the day then it is traditional to provide champagne for toasts. Again, sparkling wine is an alternative if you are working to a limited budget for your wedding drinks.

After the meal – on site bar?

If your reception venue has a bar already on site, you don’t have to worry too much about this. You will, however, need to decide whether to have a free bar all evening, or to ask your guests to pay for their own drinks at some point.
Providing a free bar can leave a hefty bill at the end of the evening, but many couples feel uncomfortable about asking people to buy their own drinks. One option is to put a certain amount of money behind the bar and ask guests to pay once it runs out. This one boils down to personal choice.

After the meal – DIY bar

If you or your caterers are arranging a bar, then you shouldn’t really need to ask guests to pay. Compared to the other costs of a wedding, it is surprisingly cheap to provide enough wedding drinks for a large group of guests, particularly if you do a run to Calais 
For white wine, a dry Sauvignon Blanc is a good choice, and it goes with most food. New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs are generally good quality and not too expensive. For red wine, most people will enjoy a medium-bodied Spanish Rioja, and you can match it with pretty much any meal.
The golden rule here is to keep it simple. Obviously there should be plenty of soft drinks. Coke, lemonade and one or two types of juice is fine. Orange juice is pretty compulsory. Cranberry juice also goes down well. Make sure you continue to provide water too.
Spirits can be tricky if you are setting up your own bar. Buying enough spirits to give your guests a decent choice is expensive, and it is hard to judge how much and what quantity and type of mixers you will need. Wine and beer are fine for most wedding bars.
You can use up any leftover wine from the meal, assuming you have eaten beforehand. You might then want to give people a change by having different wines for the rest of the evening. Remember that the best wines should be served with the meal, and not wheeled out at 10pm when many of your guests will not be in the best state to appreciate them!
For beer, a one type of lager and one type of ale is plenty. Ale should be served in a glass – for lager it’s easiest to hand them out in the bar in bottles.

How much?

There are a few rules of thumb that will help you decide how much to buy:
  • For wine to accompany a meal, half a bottle per person is a good guide.
  • For the split between red and white wine, fifty percent white and fifty percent red is a safe bet, although in summer people will drink slightly more white than red so it’s better to aim for 60/40.
  • For champagne, one bottle will serve 6 people, or 7 at a push. For toasts you will only need one glass per person.
For everything else, and in particular for the bar afterwards, you need to estimate based on your knowledge of your guests and how much they like to drink! It’s always better to buy too much than too little, as you can always keep what‘s left over, or give it to friends or relatives. Leftover wine will obviously last for years. Most beer is good for 6-12 months, but check the use-by dates when you buy the beer to make sure it is not too close to expiry.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Wedding Flower Trends 2017

Wedding planning is in high gear for floral designers and newly engaged couples. While flower farmers plan for four distinct seasons, many floral designers observe just two: wedding season and wedding planning season. This is the time of year when Instagram feeds and Pinterest boards are flooded with ideas and inspiration for incorporating flowers into life’s biggest celebrations.
Will blush pink continue to dominate color palettes?  What new hues will see in centerpieces? Will bouquets be big and bold, or simple and elegant?  Will we see any new floral statement pieces gracing the aisles this wedding season?  While trends vary slightly from region to region, here are some of the hottest styles we see on the horizon:
Fresh from the garden, seasonal flowers. For brides, there is nothing quite like clutching a bouquet filled with fresh, fragrant flowers grown with love and harvested by hand by a local farmer or designer with whom they have a personal connection. Thankfully, this trend is becoming more and more common, as awareness and interest in local, seasonal flowers continues to grow, especially among studio florists and style- and eco-conscious couples. A recent Slow Flowers survey and Industry Insights Report also confirmed the uptick in consumers’ and designers’ use of U.S.-grown and locally-grown flowers.
Dahlias, dahlias, dahlias. If the extremely high demand for Floret dahlias is any indication, we’ll be seeing dahlias dominate late summer and fall wedding designs. ‘Café au lait’ is still the queen, but other big beauties such as ‘Labyrinth’ and ‘Peaches N’ Cream’ are increasingly being sought out by discerning designers.
ryan1Old-fashioned flowers as “new” favorites. The thought of using common zinnias, carnations or mums for wedding flowers used to make some floral designers and style-conscious brides shutter. But heirloom varieties and new flower cultivars with uncommon forms and colors have turned heads and helped to change minds and attitudes. Heirloom chrysanthemums, frilly scented heirloom carnations, and ruffly scabiosa-flowered zinnias have become in fashion. Farmer-florists across the country are fighting to get their hands on limited seed and plant stock to meet the increased interest and demand.
Flowers by special request. Armed with beautiful images curated from Pinterest and Instagram, brides increasingly are asking for specific and sometimes more obscure flowers for their bouquets. Perennial favorites include: garden roses and peonies, but more recent requests include ranunculus, dahlias, lisianthus, chocolate queen Anne’s lace, seeded eucalyptus and dusty miller. These specific requests can be a challenge—and an opportunity—to explain the seasonal nature and availability of certain flowers.
Muted, muddy & moody hues. This year, we’ll see more subdued and muted monochromatic bouquets and far fewer multicolored bouquets in bright or contrasting colors. Shades such as dusty rose, milky coffee, champagne, buttercream, apricot and moonstone will challenge floral designers and flower farmers to source blooms in these complex colors.
Another glass of red wine, please.  Whether you prefer cabernet, merlot or pinot noir, these delicious deep wine tones pair beautifully with a variety of color palettes, from bold jewel tones to soft blush pinks as well as many of the muddier hues mentioned above.  An outgrowth of the popular 2015 Pantone color of the year, Marsala, look for lots of dahlias, chocolate Queen Anne’s lace and other seasonal flowers in these more saturated hues to continue to appear in late summer and fall weddings this year.
Gray on gray. Considered the “new neutral” within the home décor world for the past few years, gray has become a staple in floral design as well. Gray pairs well with most colors and is often combined with perennial popular blush pink. Gray will continue to hold court as a popular accent color, but could move towards center stage alongside crisp white. Look for bouquets with dusty miller, seeded eucalyptus, succulents, olive branches and other gray foliage to fill your Instagram feeds this year.

Greenery as a theme. Pantone’s 2017 color of the year, Greenery, will be reflected in weddings, but in subtle, and less literal and overtly obvious ways. We predict we’ll see less focus of this specific hue of green, and more of the concept of using nontraditional greenery and foliage as a more prominent focal point in wedding decor. Greenery can be incorporated in creative ways, such as garlands of foliage stretching down the middle of Kings tables, sprigs of greens adorning place settings, greenery wreaths, chair decor and foliage backdrops for ceremony sites or photo booths.
Wild, ‘gathered from the garden’ bouquet shapes. Traditional tight, round balls of blooms are a trend of the distant past. Stylish brides are opting for large, lush, loose bouquets with more organic forms that tend to be bigger and wider than years past. The continued popularity of boho and gypset-inspired wedding décor also support this this organic aesthetic and design style.
Luxe ribbons & unique finishing touches. A bouquet just isn’t a bouquet without a ribbon finish. Brides are looking for ways to make their bouquet more meaningful or stand out in a special way by requesting unique elements such as antique lace, a charm or cameo of a loved one, vintage handkerchiefs and multiple layers of long, ultra-luxe hand-died silk ribbon streamers.
Stylish floral wearables. Subtle, delicate floral hair accessories, have virtually replaced the big, bold floral crowns from years past. We’ll see more half halos, pretty floral hair “combs” and simple sprigs of foliage woven artfully into hairstyles this year. Another big trend will be elegant cuff wrist corsages that look and feel more like jewelry. These bangle-type bracelets will hopefully permanently replace the often reviled elastic wristlets popular at high school proms. Keep an eye out for other creative interpretations of traditional floral wearables on mothers, grandmothers and other wedding party attendants.  For the guys, this will mean mixing moreinteresting textural elements, including pods, berries & grasses alongside traditional focal flowers.
yilin2Bold and beautiful arches, chuppahs & hanging installations. More couples are choosing to say “I do” framed by foliage and flowers. Last year, we said foliage-focused backdrops would take center stage. They did. But so did arches & chuppahs. Look for a continuation of this trend for ceremony site décor. For reception site décor, we’re seeing lots of delicate foliage wreaths, floral chandeliers and other creative floral installations hung above head tables.
Less rustic and more modern décor aesthetic. We’re witnessing an evolution in wedding décor that is greatly simplified, with clean lines and a more contemporary feel. This is part of an overall movement away from country chic (think: less barnwood and burlap) and more toward an urban, industrial look (more gunmetal, mercury glass and galvanized steel).
A mix of high and low. Rather than a sea of carbon copy centerpieces, more couples are opting to mix and match their table décor. This entails alternating elevated bouquets, with long, low centerpieces, sprawling low profile compotes, or clusters of small bottles of single blooms. By choosing just a few larger statement pieces, the mix of elevated and low designs provide vertical interest without busting the budget.

Sweet treats: cake flowers.  The trend away from oversized wedding cakes and more toward sweets tables has allowed for more opportunities to creatively incorporate flowers into cake designs and table decor. Look for live flowers serving as cake toppers and more flowers and foliage used to style cakes, donut and dessert tables.  Sounds good to us!