As destination weddings continue to thrive in Fiji, there’s been an increasing number of people obtaining qualifications to act as celebrants to legally bring together couples.
A celebrant can give you plenty of advice for your ‘big day’. How long should your wedding vows be? Where and when will you meet your celebrant on your wedding day? Usaia Draunimasi (#celebrantfiji) gives I Do Fiji Holidays some important advice.
For many couples who choose to tie the knot in Fiji, they’ll book a resort wedding package and be assigned a celebrant or a Minister. A person who will conduct the proceedings around what is likely to be the most important day of their lives. Given the significance of that task, don’t you think it’s worth taking the time to get to know the celebrant? After all, this is someone you are likely going to laugh and cry with…it’s important to have a bond.
One of Fiji’s most sought after celebrants is Usaia Draunimasi.
The Civil Celebrant has been officiating couples’ weddings in Fiji for the past three years and is the regular ‘go to’ celebrant at Sheraton Fiji Resort, Radisson Blu Resort & Spa and Hilton Fiji Beach Resort & Spa. On a busy weekend, Usaia could be uniting four loved-up couples.
Usaia told I Do Fiji Holidays that when choosing a celebrant it’s important that a couple ‘click’ early on in their correspondence. “Make sure your celebrant gets your vision for the day. Choose someone who is flexible, who understands and is able to communicate with your guests.”
Here’s a short Q&A we had with Usaia.
IDFH: What do your services include for couples getting married in Fiji?
Usaia: Apart from being a celebrant I also assist couples with their legal documentation. If there be the need, I can be available for a rehearsal with the couple before their wedding day, and I help coordinate their day.
IDFH: How do couples communicate with you about their plans, and how often?
Usaia: When it is a direct booking with a client then they normally find me on Google, Facebook or Twitter. As soon as they decide to proceed with my services, I send them a copy of a contract. They will be required to pay a deposit and from there, we have continuous communication.
IDFH: How long do you believe is the ideal wedding ceremony? And do you assist couples with their vows? And/or, do you like to view a copy of a couples vows before their wedding day?
Usaia: Most couples ask for a short ceremony. They want a ceremony of 10-15 minutes. But with me, I cannot do that . You can never have a 15 minute ceremony. My preference is for them to live in the moment. Every part of the ceremony matters. The aisle , the vows, the rings, the signing and the exit.
IDFH: How many sentences should a couples’ vows be?
Usaia: Your vows are important, but that doesn’t mean they should drag on. When someone says something in a very meaningful way, they don’t need to say it over and over.
Pick the most important points and focus on them. If your wedding vows run longer than two minutes, makes some edits.
But I am very flexible…
“I totally believe your vows be tailor-made to be from your heart and not anyone elses.”
IDFH: Do you meet with couples before their wedding day, or the morning of the wedding?
Usaia: Both times work for me, depending on my availability and the availability of the client. I love to have this meetings because it helps me to connect with them physically before the wedding day.
IDFH: On a couples’ wedding day, where will the groom meet you? At the altar?
Usaia: If the Resort has done their briefing prior to the wedding day with the groom then, yes 30 minutes before the ceremony begins we will meet at the altar .
IDFH: Will you travel anywhere in Fiji to wed a couple?
Usaia: I am a Celebrant who travels. I am travelling all around Fiji. You name a venue, Usaia will be there!
IDFH: How long does it take for a couple to receive their Fiji Wedding Licence, and do you process this for them and post it to them in Australia?
Usaia: If I am handling a couple’s documentation, I get their license ready within two weeks. My team will also try our very best to hand over their certificate before the couple fly out of Fiji, but in cases where they are not able to take it with them ,we courier it to an address they provide.
IDFH: Do you have any particular funny story/ies you could share about a couples vows for a destination wedding?
Usaia: Recently I conducted a ceremony at a resort for a couple who had been together for 18 years. They included their seven year old daughter in the ceremony, but she had a preconceived idea of what the ceremony would be like. While they were reading their vows, the bride said, “I will let you win fights, sometimes”, to which their daughter reacted saying, “No you don’t. No you don’t”! And while they were signing their documentation in front of everyone the daughter sings out, “When will they kiss!!” and “Dad make sure you carry your wife. It’s romantic that way!”
IDFH: What’s the most unusual location in Fiji that you’ve held a ceremony?
Usaia: The most unusual location was on a farm with cattle, goats and dogs as an audience!!!
IDFH: Is there a flat fee for your services?
Usaia: I tailor a quote specifically for the ceremony a couple seek. If they want to get married on the highland, with 100 guests or 10, at 6am, all of this can be accommodated and priced accordingly.
(This article first featured in the July 2017 copy of the I Do Fiji Holidays’ newsletter).
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