Tuesday January 18th, 2005
Now, I was not a fussy bride. I didn't even have my 'wedding dress' until 10 days before the wedding. But I have to admit that I was nervous when we got to Taveuni. I had tried to contact Pita and Lo the managers of Matei Point before arriving to try to arrange dinner, flowers and entertainment for the wedding night. Unfortunatly, their computer had been broken, so they didn't have an internet connection. So, upon arriving, I spoke to them about what we wanted and they assured me that they would take care of it. We met with the priest (Fr. Kiade) the day before the wedding and asked if we could get flowers in the church, and if we could get a couple of people to sing for the ceremony...he said that he'd do his best.
The morning of the wedding, we got up early and Lo was already up, sitting out on the lawn with TONS of beautiful flowers surrounding her, she and her daughter were making me a boquet and a head-piece, as well as arranging flowers to decorate the area that we would be having dinner in. They went ALL out, they wound palms throughout the porch and had flowers all over. The boquet was absolutely beautiful!!
We had decided to have the wedding in a little chapel on the grounds of a monastary up on the side of a mountain instead of in the large church, since we had a total of 9 guests, and the chapel was much more cozy.
I headed up to the chapel early with a couple of the ladies to get ready. Jim wasn't far behind with everyone else.
The ceremony was meant to start at 3:00 but ended up starting a little late...it's Fiji! As soon as I walked into the chapel with my dad, I was surprised, there were beautiful boquets of flowers all over the place and they smelled wonderful!! And, not only had the priest found a couple of people to sing, there was an entire band playing and singing (more people were in the band than there were guests!!)! The ceremony was beautiful (I admit, I am a little biased), I messed up my vows and put Jim's ring on his right hand (oops!!). Everyone there was an integral part of the ceremony, everyone participated and Fr. Kiade's talk was beautiful! The music alone made a huge difference in the service, everyone was so energetic and giving! (Did I mention that we were all barefoot!! It is a custom in Fiji to take off your shoes before entering a building...how perfect!) Fr. Kiade had even printed out a program including the words of the songs that the band would be singing and his talk!
We took some pictures with them at the chapel, then headed off to a little beach that's hidden away off of the main road and took a zillion more. Lindsay and Laura were the photographers and they did an amazing job!
After our photo session we headed back to Matei Point. There were 4 or 5 women cooking in the kitchen, the patio was beautifully decorated, and Pita's band was tuning up with their huge bowl of kava in front of them.
We were very excited to present everyone with little gifts from our travels, and we had also decided that since all of these people had made such a long journey to share in this ceremony with us, that we would get them something to remember it by. So, our friend Lindsay (Bloom) who has a jewelry making company (www.bellabloomdesign.com) worked for hours upon hours with us designing something unique for everyone, with a common theme...
The food was INCREDIBLE. They had prepared a traditional Fijian Lovo for us. A lovo entails digging a hole in the ground and cooking the food underground all day on hot coals. Just before sunset we dug up the food (don't worry, it was all wrapped in foil). There were all kinds of meat (which I heard were savory), and vegies, Lo had also prepared papaya soup, vegie curry, and she had ordered a coconut crab for us from the island that she is from, it was SO good!! We also had a delicious chocolate cake....not to mention tons of champagne, and wine! YUM!
Throughout the evening Pita and his band played fijian music and after we had all stuffed ourselves we joined them for kava (a slightly narcotic tea made from the kava plant that makes you all tingly).
So, nervous as we might have been before arriving in Fiji everything came together, and it was MUCH more that we ever could have hoped for. The generosity and kindness of our hosts Lo and Pita and their family, and the community at the Wairiki mission will forever be appreciated.
We did miss, and think of often, the rest of our friends and families. Our marriage will not be complete until we have a proper celebration (party) and ceremony with everyone when we return home!!
Josh, Lindsay, Deborah, Laura, Bill, Terri, Lisa, Jim, Mary, Barbara, John
Lo preparing Lisa's flowers
The head piece
Tying the knot
Lisa dancing at the reception with Lo's daughter Pa
Those loving eyes
Posted by Jim & Lisa
on January 28, 2005 08:55 PM