Your Complete Guide To Planning A Destination Wedding

Where to go and what to do

We explore the how, what and where of planning your dream celebration — overseas or closer to home.

Cook Islands

Why choose Cook Islands for our Wedding?

Sitting half way between New Zealand and Hawaii, and scattered across miles of turquoise sea, are the 15 atols and volcanic islands that make up the Cook Islands. Think white sand beaches, blue skies, and palm-fringed lagoons and you’ve got the idea. The Cook Islands Tourism website is full of great information to help you and your guests plan the perfect trip,

Where can we get Married?

Best described as a lover’s paradise, there are abundant spots to say your vows. Marry on the sand with the sea as your backdrop, or in an historic limestone church, before celebrating at a luxury resort. You might choose to wed on the main island of Raratonga (it’s only 32k wide) or tranquil Aitutaki. The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa and The Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa ( both offer all-inclusive wedding packages and dedicated planners to ensure your big day runs like a dream.

How can we include the Local Culture?

Cook Islanders are natural performers, so song and dance can add an island touch to your ceremony. Consider a traditional – and magical – fire dance to wow your guests at the reception.

Destination: The Rarotongan Beach Resort

On the shores of Aroa Beach, this blissful hideaway epitomises tropical charm. Give your day a Polynesian flavour with the help of in-house planners who’ll help you choose a wedding package to suit. (

Local Suppliers:

Planners – Weddings Cook Islands (

Photography – Melanie Cooper ( & Angle Photography (

Hair & Make-Up – Bianca Whittaker (

Photobooth – Island Booth (

Film – Tiare Films (

Accommodation – Rumours Rarotonga (

Making it Legal:

You will need to submit an application for a marriage license, in person, to the Registrar of Marriages in Cook Islands at least three working days before the ceremony. Take original birth certificates and passports to submit with your application. For a Catholic ceremony, you need to provide baptism certificates and proof you’ve finished marriage preparation classes.

The Cost?

When using Weddings Cook Islands, the cost is covered in the package. If you cannot be in the Cook Islands three days prior to the wedding, you can apply for a wedding-license waiver at least 24 hours prior for an additional NZ$50.

Getting There:

Qantas, Air New Zealand and Virgin all operate flights to Rarotonga.

Rarotonga (Credit: Getty)


Why choose Thailand for our Wedding?

Thailand – which means ‘land of smiles’ – is a destination just too gorgeous to ignore. From bustling cities steeped in culture and history, to serene beaches alongside monolithic rocks jutting from the ocean, your choice of wedding locations is as varied as it is spectacular. You could marry in one idyllic location before heading off to honeymoon in another – such are the plentiful hotspots that Thailand has to offer. The rainy seasons vary with the region, though it’s generally acknowledged that the best time to visit is from November to February.

Where can we get Married?

Popular spots for tying the knot include Koh Samui, with its tropical views, or the larger island of Phuket. Say your vows on the beach, inside a villa or suite, beside an infinity pool, or in a lush tropical garden – the choices are endless. At most wedding-friendly resorts, planners will help you with the finer details, however there are plenty of suppliers to choose from if you want to plan the day yourself – such is the popularity of Thailand as a wedding destination.

How can we include the Local Culture?

Both western and traditional Thai wedding ceremonies can be performed, so why not incorporate elements of both? Most Thai people are Buddhist, so a traditional ceremony usually begins in the morning with the couple giving alms to the monks, for support during their married life. Lighting a candle and incense at a statue of Buddha signifies the beginning of the wedding ceremony, then the couple again make offerings to the monks, who bless them in return.

Destination: Sri Panwa Phuket

Say your vows in front of an infinity pool leading out to sea, with seasonal blooms and rose petals lining the aisle. Then celebrate under the stars. The experience, like the resort itself, is exceptional. (

Local Suppliers:

Planners – Dream Weddings Asia ( & Phuket Weddings & Events (

Venues – JW Marriot Phuket Resort ( & Shiva Samui ( & Rocky’s Boutique Resort (

Celebrant – Andrea Calodolce (

Hair & Make-Up – Lisa Allen (

Making it Legal:

First, complete a Statutory Declaration at the Australian Embassy in Bangkok (it can’t be done anywhere else or online), then have your documents translated into Thai at a private translation agency. The documents must be authenticated by Thai authorities (allow two days for this) and then you can register your marriage at any District Office (again, you may need an interpreter to help with this).

The Cost?

The Statutory Declarations cost $20 each. Further fees apply to have the document translated, and there may be other administration and interpreter fees.

Getting There:

Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin and Thai Airways all offer direct flights to various Thai cities.



Phuket (Credit: Getty)


Where can we get Married?

Many couples opt to marry in a church ceremony at one of the islands’ charming chapels. You may want to say your vows on the beach, like at beautiful Hulopoe Bay on Lanai with dolphins playing offshore, or on top of a 600-metre cliff on Molokai. Resort weddings are also a hit with out-of-towners, because they can dramatically reduce the stress of planning long-distance.

Why choose Hawaii for our Wedding?

Hawaii’s six tropical islands – Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Big Island, Lanai and Molokai – have long been Why choose Hawaii for our wedding?

favourite wedding destinations. It’s easy to understand why couples flock here to say their vows: volcanic mountains, colourful flowers and turquoise seas; locals who love to sing, dance the hula and play the ukulele; a warm, welcoming climate; and hundreds of amazing venues, with a variety of cultural styles that make it versatile and inviting. Plus the proximity to North America (closest airports to Hawaii are San Francisco and 
Los Angeles), where you might spend your honeymoon after saying ‘I do’. Choose the right timing if you plan to tie the knot in Hawaii – it is the summer months, from May to October, that offer the most favourable weather conditions.

Destination: Trump Hotel,Waikiki:

Hold your wedding on the hotel terrace with the Pacific Ocean and Honolulu skyline as backdrop, then enjoy a reception that suits your requirements with help from the hotel’s wedding experts. Trump Hotels know luxury. (

Royal Hawaiian, Waikiki:

This pink-fronted hotel on the shores of Waikiki is an icon of romance. Marry with an ocean view, or in the lush gardens to the sounds of traditional Hawaiian music; the hotel will arrange the perfect package to suit. (

Four Seasons, Hualalai:

Azure blue seas, towering palm trees and orange sunsets will star in your photos. Relax in the spa while a dedicated planner coordinates your day –from the ceremony location to the flowers, menu and cake. (

 How can we include the Local Culture?

Flower leis, each made from 40-50 fragrant blooms and symbolising love and respect, are placed around the necks of the bride and groom. Another sweet tradition is the bride dancing a hula for her groom – a couple of hula lessons will help you master the hip-shaking moves and make for a wedding dance you, your groom, and your guests will certainly remember!

Local Suppliers:

Planners – Best Day Ever Hawaii ( & Weddings Of Hawaii ( & Hawaii Weddings (

Photography – Kai Photo ( & Derek Wong Photography (

Film – Seeking Films

Making it Legal:

You’ll need to appear before a licence agent in Hawaii (there’s one on each main island) to apply for a marriage licence, but you don’t have to be in the country for any length of time before the ceremony takes place. For more information, see

The Cost?

It will cost US$60 to apply for a marriage licence (valid for 30 days).

Getting There:

Qantas, Hawaiian Airlines & Jetstar fly directly between Sydney & Honolulu.



The soft grass of Palm Grove Lawn acts as the perfect base for building magically beautiful scenes… with the accompaniment of palm trees swaying in the ocean breeze.. you can’t go wrong @fshualalaievents 📷: @callawaygable


Why choose Fiji for our Wedding?

This nation of 333 mountainous volcanic islands is one of the world’s friendliest. From the smiling ‘bula’ you receive when you arrive at Nadi airport, to the impeccable service on offer wherever you go, you’ll feel right at home. Add to this the white sand beaches and clear blue seas as far as the eye can see – as well as the appealing proximity to the shores of Australia – and you’ve got a (tropical) recipe for the perfect destination wedding. Plan your celebration between March and December to avoid the inclement weather of the rainy season.

How can we include the Local Culture?

Enquire about a procession of local flower girls and
a traditional Fijian choir at your ceremony, followed 
by a shower of tropical blooms. Wear a lei as you say your vows, or you could even wear traditional Fijian wedding attire.

Where can we get Married?

Marry on a pristine beach in a location of your choice and then celebrate your reception at one of Fiji’s luxurious resorts, and travel between the two by boat. Or, let your resort take care of the whole affair and marry right next to your reception space. Most properties will provide wedding planners to facilitate your special day exactly as you would like, who will also take care of the necessary wedding administration for you. Likuliku Lagoon Resort will even take you to and from Nadi Registry Office where you’ll need to appear three days before the wedding.


Malolo Island Resort:

This resort, set amid swaying palms and white sands, prides itself on hospitality and giving a local Fijian experience. The resort’s coordination service will help you plan the perfect wedding for you, your friends and family. (

Likuliku Lagoon Resort:

Arrive by boat and be greeted by smiling, guitar-playing staffers before heading along a stunning over-water walkway to your bure on stilts. Food is simply sensational and the spa to die for. Choose from two wedding packages. (

Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa:

Close to Nadi Airport, at Denarau Island, this family-friendly resort is perfect for large groups and families. With a range of options, and planners to help you finesse the details, there’s a dream wedding package to 
suit any style. (

Local Suppliers:

Planners – Rosie Holidays ( & Chelsea Jayne Weddings (

Receptions – Castaway Island ( & InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa (

Photography – Kama Catch Me (

Hair & Make-Up – Totoka Hair & Make-up (

Flowers – Tadra Flowers (

Making it Legal:

If you’re having a Catholic ceremony, you’ll need to send a Letter of Freedom to your Fijian priest, along with your baptism certificates, 2-3 months before your wedding day. To arrange your Marriage Licence application you’ll need to fax or email all the correct legal documentation to The Registrar 14 days prior to arrival, then present yourself in person at the registry office at least three days before the wedding. See (

The Cost?

FJD20.25 for your application, as well as other small fees associated. All up you’re looking at about FJD63.72 ($35-$55).

Getting There:

Fiji Airways and Virgin fly direct to Nadi from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

A different view. Unique. Private. Authentic. Luxury. 
#likuliku #likulikulagoonresort#likulikulagoon #realluxury#fijisonlyauthenticoverwaters#overwaterbungalow #realfijiluxury#fijihappy #fijinow


Why choose Tahiti for our Wedding?

Tahiti is the largest of the 118 islands that make up French Polynesia. The island itself is located in the cluster of Society Islands, an archipelago that includes the smaller French Polynesian islands of Bora Bora, Huahine, Moorea, Raiatea and Taha’a – the former a renowned wedding hotspot. It’s the colourful reefs, beaches and mountains that draw you to Tahiti and its surrounds, as do the locals who celebrate life through music, dance and flowers.

Where can we get Married?

Many couples choose to wed on the sand, with a backdrop of turquoise lagoons. Most resorts have their own beach, where you can say your vows before heading to the garden to begin your celebration. InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa ( has a chapel so you can say your vows and party in one spot.

How can we include the Local Culture?

A Tahitian wedding ceremony usually begins with the bride being treated to a monoi oil massage by her Tahitian ‘bridesmaid’, while being sung to and adorned with fragrant flowers. Meanwhile, her groom is taken to an island in a canoe, painted with tattoos and given a crown of tropical leaves. Too much? Perhaps just incorporate native flora on your big day, with traditional flower crowns and leis.


St Regis, Bora Bora:

Wear a flower leis to say your vows on the white sands at this idyllic property. The resort’s team of planners can cater for large or small affairs and help you organise every last detail of your big day. (

Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort:

The hotel is known as ‘magical island’ and, from above, is the shape of a heart – very fitting for a wedding. Marry by the shore in a romantic ceremony that incorporates local Polynesian traditions. (

Local Suppliers:

Planner – We do Tahiti ( & Wedding Bora Bora (

Receptions – Le Meridien Tahiti ( & Hilton Moorea Resort (

Photography – Helene Havard ( & Wilson Weddings (

Making it Legal:

To have a Tahitian ceremony you must first have a civil ceremony at a local city hall (Mairie). You need to submit an application and legal paperwork to a commune at least 45 days before the ceremony. Certified birth certificates must be authenticated with an “Apostille” translated into French by an approved translator and legalised by the French Consulate. You must be in Vanuatu at least three days prior to saying your vows at the town hall.

The Cost?

Aside from the paperwork, you may be charged for a translator and the delivery of the French Family Record Book as your proof of marriage.

Getting There:

Air Tahiti Nui flies direct to Tahiti, plus to and from Sydney via Auckland, New Zealand.

YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE 🌞 Summer Destination Wedding Exclusive 🌺 


Why choose New Zealand for our Wedding?

From the unspoiled beaches and volcanic landscape of the North Island, to the snow-capped mountain tops and alpine lakes of the South Island, there’s no shortage of incredible backdrops for your wedding. Renowned for its rich culinary culture, with an emphasis on seafood, lamb and award-winning cheeses, New Zealand is also famous for its signature wine regions: Hawkes Bay, Martinborough and Marlborough.

Where can we get Married?

Whether you want to say your vows somewhere remote, or in a more traditional function space, the possibilities are endless. In the north, The Bay of Islands offer vineyards and water views; the Kauri Cliffs boast 180 degree views of the Pacific Ocean; or say ‘I do’ in a geothermal mud bath at Hell’s Gate in Rotorua. In the south, the Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo offers miles of mountain scenery, and Queenstown offers snowy charm, skiing in winter, and lake views.

How can we include the Local Culture?

Add a traditional Maori touch by engraving infinity loops on your rings – a romantic and spiritual symbol of never-ending love.


Matakauri Lodge:

An easy ten-minute drive from Queenstown, on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, this luxury property can cater for intimate weddings, as well as offering an idyllic honeymoon getaway. With breathtaking views of the snow-capped Remarkables, your wedding photos will tell a spectacular story. (

Local Suppliers:

Receptions – Woodlands ( & The Tasting Shed (

Planners – Mint Wedding Planning ( & Emma Newman (

Guest Accommodation – Adina Apartment Hotel (

Photography – Magnolia Rouge ( & Heather & Doug (

Making it Legal:

To wed in New Zealand you must complete a Notice of Intended Marriage form at least three days before the wedding date, stating when and where you will wed and who will marry you. You must also complete a formal statutory declaration and have it witnessed by a Commonwealth representative in Australia, or by a Registrar of Marriages in New Zealand.

The Cost?

Between NZ$122.60-NZ$173.70 depending on who presides over your wedding. This cost covers the fee for the marriage licence and marriage officiant.

Getting There:

Air Zealand, Emirates, Virgin and Qantas fly direct from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Auckland.

How perfect is this?! 💕



Greece is a picture-perfect wedding destination, with ancient ruins, vivid blue Mediterranean backdrops and bright-white architecture, plus a high-end hotel scene.

Where can we get Married?

City, beach, amid ancient ruins – there’s plenty of scope for a small, or a big fat Greek wedding. The islands are numerous: Ithaca, Rhodes, Corfu, Santorini, Kos, Hydra – the list goes on. Each is different (some, like Crete, are busier, and others, like Kefalonia, are quiet) but all posess their own charm and character. Though islands are undoubtedly the most popular spots to marry, mainland options like the beautiful Porto Heli in the Peloponnese, or cosmopolitan Athens with its hotels and bustling nightlife, shouldn’t be ruled out.

How can we include the Local Culture?

Add a typical Greek touch to the ceremony by carrying a lump of sugar to guarantee a sweet life, or a piece of ivy to signify endless love. A quintessential Greek reception tradition is the circle dance, and the smashing of plates for luck.

Making it Legal:

No earlier than three weeks before you leave Australia, you will need to get a Certificate of No Impediment from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. To be legal and valid it must be translated at the Greek Embassy in your country and stamped with the Apostille. You will also need to supply original birth certificates.

The Cost?

The Certificate of No Impediment costs $90. There may also be fees associated with translating documents.

Getting There:

Emirates, Virgin and Qantas all fly to Greece.


Whilst it’s not legal to marry in France – unless you hold residency or were born in the country – there’s nothing stopping you from donning your white dress and gathering your nearest and dearest for
a romantic celebration after you’ve said ‘I do’ at home. France has it all when it comes to reception opportunities: culture, beautiful architecture, history, delicious food and fine wine.

Where can we get Married?

Whether you’re a city slicker or a sucker for a vineyard, you’ll find a spot for your post-vows celebration. Party on the water down south in celebrity-filled St Tropez or Cannes; hold a grand city affair in Paris;
or eat, drink and be merry among the vines of the Loire Valley.

How can we include the Local Culture?

French culture is all about food and wine. Hold your reception in one of the country’s renowned regions such as the storybook Chateau Neuf du Pape, or Champagne. Or, create a heavenly menu of French fare such as the south-west tradition of spit roast wild boar. Too much? Try Boeuf Bourgignon or Coq Au Vin, and finish off with the popular French spin on the wedding cake, the Croquembouche. End with a cheese station brimming with locals such as brie, roquefort and camembert – deliciously authentic.

Making it Legal:

As stated above, you can’t physically marry in France unless you are a French resident or citizen, or were born there.

The Cost?

No ceremony costs.

Getting There:

Air France, Etihad, Emirates Air Malaysia and Qantas all fly to France.


Rich in culture and history, Italy is as famous for art and architecture as it is for it’s world-famous cuisine. Whether you’re after a wedding with water views, a vineyard setting, or a town hall in a pretty piazza, Italy has what you’re after.

Where can we get Married?

Tuscany is an age-old favourite, with castles and vineyards as your backdrop. The picturesque clifftops of Positano and Capri, on the Amalfi Coast, prove a lure for lovers everywhere, as do the winding canals and historic buildings of Venice. On the Ligurian coastline sits the Cinque Terre and its character-filled villages, or make like George Clooney and turn the magnificent Lake Como into your home away from home. Sicily, Puglia
and Sardinia are other options for your ultimate Italian affair.

How can we include the Local Culture?

Sunday is considered the luckiest day of the week to get married and tying a ribbon in front of the church is a popular custom which symbolises a couple’s bond.

Making it Legal:

Getting married in Italy involves a fair bit of groundwork beforehand. Two documents are required before you can legally wed there – the Atto Notorio (which can be obtained from the Italian Embassy in Australia) and the Nulla Osta, which is a sworn declaration to be made at the Australian Embassy in Rome or the Australian Consulate-General in Milan.

The Cost?

The Atto Notorio costs $3218 and the Nulla Osta a further $50.

Getting There:

Emirates, Qantas, and Cathay Pacific all fly there.

Greece (Credit: Getty)

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