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Wedding formalities explained

Before your fairy tale destination Fiji wedding can come to fruition, there is of course forms to be completed, paperwork to be lodged and  requirements to abide by.  Here’s a snapshot of precisely what visitors to Fiji will need to know to ensure that when your partner finally  “puts a ring on it” your wedding is legal and binding.

For starters, yes, a Fiji wedding is recognised in Australia as being legitimate when you follow the correct procedures. By law, couples will need to apply for a Special Licence to tie the knot, obtained from Fiji’s Registrar of Births, Deaths & Marriages in Suva, or Registrar Offices in Lautoka or Labasa at least 28 days before their wedding date.

You and your partner will need to provide the following documentation to have your wedding formally recognised.

  • Original or certified copy of birth certificates
  • Passport
  • Decree Absolute document (if divorced)
  • Decree Certificate (is spouse is deceased)
  • Single Status certificate – ask me for details

Couples will require  a minimum of two witnesses to be present during their ceremony. In the event of an elopement or if your wedding day is just you and your partner, typically your chosen resort will provide you with two witnesses.

There are also a list of Marriage Fees to take into account if you are doing your wedding by yourself, but if you are tying the knot at a resort, it is most likely these costs have been built into your wedding package already. They include:

  • Special Licence – FJD20.70.
  • Marriage performed at the registry – FJD23.
  • Marriage performed by the Registrar outside normal working hours – FJD31.36.
  • Masi (tapa) designed marriage certificate – FJD15.69
  • Standard marriage certificate – FJD5.75

A common opinion in the industry is that brides-to-be and their partner should plan to arrive in Fiji a few days before their wedding day in order to submit papers to the Registry Office. There are also suggestions couples should spend a night in Denarau to give them time to pop into the Registry Office – which operates between 8am and 4pm, Monday to Friday – before venturing off to their wedding location on the Coral Coast or an island. However, having coordinated dozens of weddings in Fiji over the past 17 years, I can comfortably tell you that’s not necessary with most resorts these days. A large selection of popular hotels and resorts in Fiji will register your wedding on your behalf before you arrive, eliminating that step in the process. It’s another reason why I ask for a copy of your birth certificate and passport – to help get the ball rolling for you, meaning a more seamless experience for your wedding.


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