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What a Wedding Planner Won’t Tell You!

Do you need a wedding planner? What even is a wedding planner? What will a wedding planner do for you, and what will a wedding planner definitely not tell you?
I have never been to a wedding where the bride and groom used a wedding planner – nor did I have one, so I had to do a lot of research to determine exactly what a wedding planner actually does, and why you might need one.
What is a professional wedding planner?
If you’re engaged (and if you’re reading this blog) you’re already a wedding planner, right? So why would you hire a professional wedding planner? I consulted the website of one of Christchurch’s top wedding planners, Emma Newman Weddings. Full disclosure, I have met Emma, and she’s absolutely lovely, but this is not written in association with her, or even to her knowledge.
Emma’s website states that she can provide assistance with:

  • Advice on one-off issues, or the entire process
  • Independent recommendations on the best suppliers
  • Advice on theming and styling
  • Help with wedding etiquette and hosting your special day, including help with children and other guests.
  • Sensitive and discreet support during the preparation and behind the scenes on the day including the organisation and tidying up the day after.
  • Advice and planning on how to avoid stress.
  • Assistance in setting a realistic budget.
  • Post wedding services such as organizing photo delivery, wedding albums, DVD’s, freeze dry and boxing of bouquets, return of any equipment etc.

So, a wedding planner can hold your hand through the process, right down to the coordination of the big day (which where I can see the most value).
Why use a wedding planner?
If the thought of finding and contacting wedding vendors throws you into a panic, or if you’re planning a overseas wedding, maybe a wedding planner is for you. Wedding planners generally know a lot of other wedding vendors, so they’re in a good position to make contact with them on your behalf, which can save you time.
In a way, the difference between having and not having a wedding planner during your engagement is how many decisions you make yourselves, and how much admin you do. Of course, your wedding planner can’t actually make decisions for you (unless you truly want no input into your wedding), so once they’ve chosen a vendor for you, you’ll still have to make the ultimate decisions.
For some brides, the ability to leave the stress of the details and admin tasks to a professional is worth setting aside 10% of their wedding budget. Then again, some brides thrive on the planning process, and the thousands of dollars they’d pay a planner could be spent on the honeymoon.
Signs you might need a wedding planner:

  • You can’t envision your wedding at all;
  • You’re already feeling behind on wedding planning;
  • You’re not big on/a natural at organisation;
  • You don’t enjoy the administration of wedding planning;
  • You’re having an overseas wedding;
  • You both work very demanding, full-time jobs and you don’t want to take on extra ‘work’;
  • You don’t have any friends or family to assist you; or
  • You’re having a very short engagement.

Alternative solutions to hiring a wedding planner

  • If you can’t envision your wedding at all, start a Pinterest board and go through a couple of generic ‘wedding’ searches until something catches your eye. Try to identify styles or themes that resonate with you. One of the pages to the planning pack works in a similar way – with hundreds of words for you to quickly scan through, encouraging you to circle those that appeal, and cross out ones that don’t.
  • If you feel behind on wedding planning, consider the little white book as a wedding organiser and diary. With everything set out into simple checklists as part of your daily diary, you can take one task at a time, get organised and stay on track through your engagement, without getting overwhelmed.
  • You’re not a natural at/enjoy organisation? How about your bridesmaids? Parent? Flatmate? Newlywed friend/colleague? You’ll be pleasantly surprised how much other people want to help with your wedding planning, especially those who are newly married and wish they were still organising their big day.
  • Don’t have any friends or family to assist you? Sounds like you’re having a very small wedding then, which ought to make planning a breeze! If you truly have noone to help, contact me on hello@shesaidyes.co.nz and I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction, for free of course.
  • You don’t want to take on extra work? Don’t make it feel like ‘work’ – attend wedding fairs and connect with vendors who’ll make the entire process fun.
  • Having a short engagement? Wedding planning can be time-consuming, so squeezing it into a short timeframe can be demanding, but don’t feel like you have to have absolutely everything, or follow every wedding custom. Keep it simple, stick to the elements you really want to have, and sans the rest.

If you possibly can afford to, I do recommend you begin wedding planning with the wedding planning bundle I offer. At $99 it’s a lot less than any wedding planner, but I guarantee it’ll get you off to a great start and keep you organised. I promise that worksheets like the ‘key contacts’ page and ‘on-the-day timeline’ will help you plan your perfect day.
Wedding planners often claim they will save you money, but here’s what they may not be telling you.
The reasons wedding planners can help you save, or stick to your budget, is because they’re likely to know which vendors are at the cheaper end of the market, and because vendors will often give wedding planners a discount in return for their referral. This works in a couple of ways – for some vendors, their life is made easier by you having a planner so they provide a discount, and they may also refer clients to the planner as a thank you. Sometimes vendors will pass discounts onto their clients, while other times they will retain discounts as a commission.
While secret commissions or kickbacks are illegal in some industries, that doesn’t appear to be the case in the New Zealand wedding industry. IMHO if you’re already paying your wedding planner a sizeable sum, it’s not fair that they’re also making money from your bookings, so it’s important to talk to them about this and  know how your wedding planner works. If your wedding planner is taking commissions, just be aware that vendors may be increasing their fees to cover that.
A good planner should have quality/preferred vendors at different price levels to be tailored to your budget.
Tips on working with a wedding planner:

  • Don’t be afraid to shop around for a planner, just as you would any other wedding vendor.
  • Know what to ask your wedding vendor. The little white planning pack has lists of questions to work through, including pricing structure, experience, and for photos and testimonials from weddings they’ve planned. As an example:
    • How long they have been in business?
    • How many weddings they have organised? Can they provide references and a portfolio?
    • How do they charge, hourly, fixed fee or % of your wedding budget?
    • Do they accept commission or are all discounts passed onto the client?
    • Do they operate on a full time basis or do they have another job?
    • Do they have insurance?
  • Meet for coffee and see if you’d want to be friends with her(/him) – if you don’t feel good rapport, will you really be able to work closely together for the following year?
  • Ensure your fiance agrees with your decision to hire a planner, and that he gets on with them too – you don’t want a third party creating any friction.
  • Before you sign on the dotted line, examine the contract. Does it include being there on the day in person (or will an assistant attend), and what post-wedding services are included?

If you’re looking for a New Zealand wedding planner, I truly have heard the best things about Emma Newman going above and beyond for her clients, so she comes highly recommended. Do you have any experience working with a wedding planner, that you’d be happy to share? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear your feedback.

HOW TO AVOID BECOMING BRIDEZILLA

Once he (or she) has popped the question, it’s all love, laughter, and happily ever after – right?! A time to celebrate, to party, to have fun planning the wedding day you’ve always dreamed of!
So what if it’s not actually as amazing as you imagined… and you’re not having as much fun wedding planning as you feel like you’re supposed to? Everyone says this is the happiest time of your life, yet you are feeling so overwhelmed by the stress of the whole wedding planning process that you:

  • Can’t sleep and feel exhausted all the time!
  • Are constantly worried and concerned about forgetting everything that needs to get done.
  • Can’t seem to find the motivation to even try to do it, let alone the time.
  • Find yourself getting angry with everyone over the smallest things.

Let us take a load off. She Said Yes is your virtual bridesmaid – here to help you through all of that. Though women are practically born multi-taskers, when it comes to planning our wedding day there are all sorts of hidden stresses and expectations and – often without realising – we are gradually sucked into an emotional vortex, attempting more daily tasks than any human could or should fit into a day. Given the social pressures around wedding planning, and the personal pressures we impose ourselves, it’s no wonder many of us really turn into the feared Bridezilla.
We’re here to change all that. In fact, that’s exactly how She Said Yes got started. Newly engaged, it all seemed sooooo complicated, soooooo time-consuming, sooooooo shrouded in complexity, SOOOOOOO damn hard. I’ll let you in on a little secret right now. It’s not. Wedding planning is only as difficult and stressful as you let it be.
Armed with your virtual bridesmaid by your side, and perhaps a little white book in your hands, you’re set to survive the stress and plan your perfect day without a cost to your mental health.

  • Ask yourself what’s really important to you – Don’t feel obliged to go along with every wedding obligation, expectation and expense just because it’s the ‘done thing’. Write down all the things which are most important to you – set your priorities – and the reflect not just on what’s on the list, but what’s nowhere near the list. If you didn’t write down lazer-cut lace stationery, overflowing vases of peonies, hand-carved wedding favours or even something so common as ‘wedding cake’, ask yourself whether you really want any of those things at your wedding. Start with what you really want, find the cost for and/or organise all of those things, and then, and only then (and if wedding budget allows) consider all the other things.
  • Just breathe – it may seem like the most obvious thing but sometimes with everything else going on, we forget to take a moment and really breathe. Take deep, full-body breaths, every day – and every time you begin to feel anxious. Consider enrolling into a yoga or pilates class where you can learn how to breathe into the tummy. If that seems like another chore and doesn’t appeal, try this breathing technique at home: ‘Pranayama’ – the ancient yoga breathing technique that teaches you the art of extending your breath and allows you to maximise inhaling fresh oxygen while helping to calm the mind and increase concentration. This technique is effective even during a busy schedule by practicing for just 10 minutes each day in the comfort of your own home.
  • Write it down: The little white book is the perfect place to ‘get it all out’ – worries, frustrations, ideas, deadlines, appointments and constant distractions can crowd our minds with endless thoughts and never ending mental to-do lists. Even if it’s as simple as the thought of changing your lipstick colour for your big day, write it all down and free up your mind. This will help you get through it all, while reminding you to enjoy the little things. Having the  little white book on hand will also ensure you can’t forget to organise anything, because it’s all right there in front of you, with checklists reminding you at regular intervals throughout your countdown diary – so you can stop worrying about forgetting!

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  • Nourish your body – you won’t have the energy to complete all of these tasks if you aren’t fuelling your body with the right nutrients and staying hydrated. Start your morning with a nutritious, healthy breakfast every day, and keep it up during the day. Even if you sit down at your desk with some tea and fruit while you continue your planning. If you’re under any kind of stress or pressure with wedding planning, it’s not the best time to go on a restrictive diet – not that there’s ever a good time to do so. You will look just as beautiful in your wedding dress at your current weight than you would a few kilos lighter (with bags under your eyes and dry, colourless skin and brittle hair and nails from poor nutrition).
  • Remember to dream – and I’m not talking about dreaming about the expensive dress you saw in that magazine, but real beauty sleep. Running on too many sleepless nights will eventually take it’s toll not just physically but mentally too. Adults should be sleeping at least 7-8 hours a night for optimal energy, so write down your thoughts, have a warm shower or try some lavender oil and breathe deep to really help your body switch off.
  • Remember why you’re on this journey, it’s not just to ‘get married’, it’s to celebrate the bond you and your partner have and to commit to a life together. Enjoy the process, appreciate the journey as well as the destination, embrace the moments of challenge as preparing you for many other challenges you’ll face in your very long lives together, and learn to laugh at yourself and the mistakes along the way.

Image Credit: Brides Love Yoga

Now that you know wedding planning will be a cinch, head over to the wedding planning index, and if you haven’t already, get your hands on the little white book.

7 Mistakes Brides Make Wedding Dress Shopping

 Mistakes Brides Make When Wedding Dress Shopping

It’s one of the most exciting aspects of wedding planning, and an experience most brides-to-be are looking forward to… Yes it’s time to go wedding dress shopping!

Hold on though, there’s a whole lot of hope riding on this one outfit (or two should you choose to have an outfit change!), and you might be feeling a little nervous in the lead up to wedding dress shopping. SO, before you set off to Say Yes to The Dress… here are the wedding dress shopping mistakes to avoid!

1. Not giving any thought to your Wedding Dress in advance

You will have a much better and more enjoyable experience wedding dress shopping if you do a little forethought before you hit the shops. It pays to have a general idea of what wedding dress shape suits your body, how much you want to spend, and what style of wedding – i.e. beach wedding may not suit a ‘meringue’ style wedding gown. Gather your thoughts and inspiration, consider your venue, the time of year, and both your personal style and the venue’s style.

Once you have an idea of your favourite designs, or designers, work out what you can spend on your wedding dress, so that you can be upfront with the sales assistants when you make a booking and avoid sticker-shock or overspending when you’re out shopping.

2. Bringing an Entourage

Searching for your wedding dress is a once in a life-time opportunity, it’s probably the most important dress you’ll ever wear (unless you’re going to the Met Gala!) The emphasis here is you – and having 10 different opinions makes it much harder to come to a consensus.

 Mistakes Brides Make When Dress Shopping

Choose your bride-tribe carefully. More than a handful of trusted family members or friends and you may find it more difficult to think for yourself and separate your own decision from everyone else’s input. Choose those you know will give you the most honest feedback while encouraging you to choose the one that you love the most.

Many bridal stores encourage the bride to bring just one or two friends – a couple of bridesmaids or a Mum and sister, those that you know have your best intentions at heart, and someone who’s willing to say “that’s one’s pretty, but it might not be quite right for you.”

3. Shopping Too Early… or Too Late.

Only fools rush in… I’m not just trying to make your life difficult, but the best time to shop for your dress is 9-12 months out from your wedding day. If you’re planning a long engagement (of over a year), don’t rush yourself to buy the dress now – you’ll be giving yourself way too much time to change your mind according to styles, trends and taste – or even your body – changing.

It’s best to have most of your big decisions made before you buy too – many influences such as season, venue, and the colour palette for the rest of the wedding may guide your decision as to the dress. For many gowns you need to allow at least six months before the wedding, and you’ll also want to allow a little time for alterations if necessary. If you begin shopping around the nine month mark, you’re allowing yourself ample time.

Kishana Highgate Photography

4. Thinking you have to Wear a (White) Dress

For most, the opportunity to finally wear the big white wedding dress is one to be grabbed by the tulle. If the thought of layers of chantilly and charmeuse makes you gag more than gasp, do your own thing girlfriend!

It doesn’t need to be a dress – wear a two piece, a pantsuit, a jumpsuit, or a hot canary yellow gown with a wild floral headdress, a la Elizabeth Taylor (to Richard Burton) (in 1964), if that’s what makes you feel beautiful on the big day. It doesn’t need to be as formal as the dresses you see in wedding magazines, it needs to be a reflection of your personality, at a cost that you feel comfortable with, and that you’ll be happy looking back on in years to come. Oh, and wearing white… why limit yourself?! I wore blush, which is still pretty bridal, but there’s thousands of colours in the rainbow that are open to you.

P.S. Solange Knowles’ nuptials to Alan Ferguson in an off-white caped pantsuit is one of my favourite wedding looks ever.

5. Going way over budget

If you’ve done your homework and told the sales assistant of your budget in advance, you shouldn’t be put in the position of risking your budget. Whatever you do, stick to your guns – blowing your wedding budget on the dress means making cutbacks elsewhere, and at 9-12 months out from the wedding you don’t want to be put in a difficult financial position (like I was – read here). Do not try on a dress you can’t afford “just for fun.”

Include the cost of alterations in your budget, and consider the costs of accessories too: veil or headpiece, shoes undergarments, sash, belt, wedding day jewellery, the list goes on…

6. Trying On Too Many Dresses

If you’ve seen at least one episode of Say Yes to the Dress, you know why you shouldn’t try on more than 5-10 wedding dresses, especially in various different styles. If you try on more than 10 different styles of dress, it’s very tricky to narrow them down to make a decision. Of course, if you don’t actually like any of them, you’ll have to keep going, but if you’ve done your research you should have a fairly good idea of what you like before rushing in.

Don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed, forgetting what you set out for, and doubting your own style and taste. When you find a dress that makes you feel happy, beautiful and confident, stop. Don’t try another 5 just to make sure, especially if you’re prone to second-guessing your decisions.

The experience of choosing your wedding dress won’t be any more enjoyable just because you make it last all day – once you find one, get into the Champers.

7. Bargain-hunting

There’s nothing wrong with wanting a good price, and I’m all for checking out the sample sales and off-the-rack specials, but instead of hunting for a hugely reduced dress, try to find a designer or bridal salon that caters to your price point. Seriously, Asos has amazing wedding dresses.

If you’re hunting for a bargain basement “deal” you might end up convincing yourself to take the one that’s 70% off and ill-fitting, or not really what you wanted, then regretting your decision (and you know that’s gonna be on ‘no returns’). Some brides end up spending hundreds in alterations to fix what’s wrong with the sample when they could’ve found a similar brand new dress for the same money.

Don’t feel rushed to buy a sale dress either, I’ve had more than one friend buy on the spot at a sample sale only to regret the decision and end up buying a second dress! Before buying a “sample” do ensure to check for any damage, as it may have been tried on by lots and lots of brides before being put in the sale.

7. Ordering (or Buying) a Wedding Dress smaller than you are! #shreddingforthewedding

Planning on getting in shape for the big day? Great, join the queue. However, if you really think you’re going to drastically change size between now and then, hold off on buying your wedding dress. I ordered a US size 2 wedding dress in March 2015, based on my current size, and by December 2015 I was more like a 4. Being in a panic to fit my dress two months out from my wedding was not an experience I’d wish on any bride.

While you may end up losing a lot of weight, you may also actually change shape and your choice of dress might not be suitable any longer. It’s also much easier to alter a dress smaller rather than have to let it out because you didn’t lose as much as you were hoping.

While I’m at it, can we all stop thinking we need to lose weight for our wedding day..? Instead, choose your wedding dress in a shape that is the most flattering, stay healthy and active, and enjoy the celebrations before your big day (most involve Champagne and cake, in my experience).

Those are my top 7 tips for wedding dress shopping, but if I could extend it just a little further and also suggest:

  • If you’re buying a wedding dress from overseas, buy the currency as soon as you order the dress to hedge your bets against it changing (personal experience);
  • Buy your wedding dress before your bridesmaids‘ dresses – I wish I’d bought mine before theirs, and I’d have put them in white instead of blush.
  • Double and triple check your measurements against the designers, and if need be, go bigger rather than smaller. I almost ordered a size smaller than I was, not realising that the Couture line by this designer ran a size smaller. I’d have never fit that dress.
  • Don’t think that you need to A) Spend a fortune or B) Lose weight to look amazing. You will look amazing. Hair, make-up, wedding day glow, the most expensive dress you’ve ever bought (even if it’s a cheap and cheerful one!), a smile from ear to ear (oh, and a pair of spanx) guarantees you’ll be a beautiful bride.

Next, head to the wedding planning index, and if you haven’t already, get your hands on the little white book wedding organiser and diary!

Plan your Dream Destination Wedding in Rarotonga!

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I’ve just returned from the beautiful Cook Islands, where I discovered the ease and appeal of an island-style destination wedding in Rarotonga or Aitutaki. Only a four escape from Auckland, getting married in Rarotonga offers an unforgettable experience. Picture-perfect, and often economical, it’s straightforward alternative to getting married in New Zealand, and the means to having a summer or beach wedding all year round.
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Say Kia Orana to the Beautiful Cook Islands

If you haven’t had the pleasure of a visit to Rarotonga, let me introduce you. The group of 15 nearby South Pacific islands known as the Cook Islands used to be part of New Zealand, and while self-governing since 1965, still share the same currency, making travel to the spectacular destination another step easier. Rarotonga is the largest of the 15, populated by around 8-10,000 Cook Island Maori and welcoming around 150,000 visitors per year, many being marrying and honeymooning couples. Travel is easy, Air New Zealand fly here at least once a day from Auckland.
Staying at Muri Beach Club Hotel in Rarotonga’s most idyllic aquamarine lagoon, it was all too easy to forget it was Autumn at home – the tropical South Pacific island’s appeal doesn’t fade like New Zealand’s summer.
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Cook Islands Destination Wedding Planners 2016

With the sweet smell of frangipani in the air, I spoke to the hotel’s wedding planning team of experts to discover first-hand why they’ve recently been named Cook Islands Destination Wedding Planners of the year.
If ‘destination wedding’ conjures a fear of arduous international organisation, Liana and her team are the ones to talk to, as their expertise is taking all admin and stress off your hands, whether you’re organising an intimate wedding for 30 or one for up to 120.

destination wedding in rarotongadestination wedding in rarotongaScroll to bottom for more beautiful wedding photos from Muri Beach Club Hotel

If your second fear is the cost, you may be as surprised as I was to find that an all inclusive wedding for 30 costs as little as $6999 NZD. This covers a beachside ceremony below a floral or bamboo archway (celebrant included), choice of the resort’s 3 reception venues (lagoon lounge, restaurant or beachside marquee), Polynesian buffet feast, three hours alcoholic beverage service, wedding cake, sound system, his and hers massage and five nights accommodation for the couple! They’ll even apply for and file your marriage licence and organise your internationally recognised marriage certificates.
Of course, you can add to this depending on how many guests you’re inviting, and the style of wedding you’d like to have, but however you do so, it works out as a very affordable option. Muri Beach Club’s wedding planners are able to organise every element of your wedding, from the coconut-lined aisle to a full photography package, fire-dancers and full Polynesian dance troupe show.

Getting Married in Rarotonga is not one-size fits all

A Cook Island Wedding doesn’t necessarily mean a barefoot ceremony on Muri Beach’s shores, as the Island is home to many churches, tropical gardens or even poolside – there’s plenty of ways to personalise your celebration in paradise.
You probably hadn’t considered being brought ashore on a vaka (waka) and then literally carried off it by a Polynesian warrior, right!? Whether a ‘Vaka and Warrior’ or dance show is for you, or you want a simple and low-key ceremony, you’re really spoiled in every way possible here.
destination wedding in rarotonga

Your Instant Rarotonga Honeymoon

Once married, you’ll be totally charmed by the ever-hospitable locals and the heavenly place, and absolutely won’t want to leave. Nor should you, at least before having a few extra days to explore.
destination wedding in rarotonga
You’ll be forgiven for staying put on the whitewashed shores, just venturing into the clear aqua and emerald waters to cool off every now and then to cool off, but if you tempt yourself further inland and around the island, rewards are bountiful.
destination wedding in rarotonga
Adventure seekers, I don’t have nearly enough words to describe the fun we had on Raro Buggy Tours, but if a picture paints a thousand words, you’ll get the gist from this happy couple!
destination wedding in rarotonga

Having completed the aptly named cross-Island walk just a day earlier, I’d been fascinated by the derelict buildings of what was going to become a Sheraton resort – the history of which is worth an article of its own, so I was thrilled when we took the buggys off-road and into the grounds of the hotel.
destination wedding in rarotonga
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Staying Fit on Holiday

To return briefly to the cross-island walk, if you need to work off a few cocktails, this 15km hike across Rarotonga, through an intense green and tropical jungle and up to the island’s central ‘needle’ is just what the doctor ordered – just be sure that it’s not immediately after a big night (it’s hard work even without a hangover).

Massage in Rarotonga

The following day, rewarding your efforts and book into at Te Manava Spa. There’s no way better to unwind tired muscles than a massage or a day-spa package, popular with honeymooners. I didn’t take any convincing to relax into a foot scrub and full body massage at Te Manava, luxuriating in the capable hands of my Balinese therapist.
Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa is 5-star luxury accommodation, set on Rarotonga’s stunning south-east coast, offering an exciting new choice for the discerning traveller.
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Beyond walks and buggy-trips, the main way to get around the island is by hiring a scooter or car, or on one of two buses. Or so I’m told: as they only rotate the 32km circumference of island once an hour, I found the easiest way was to hitch-hike, and get to know many of the locals as I did so. Whether in the tray of a truck, the back of a scooter, or more conventionally in a car, if you’re up for sticking your thumb out on the main road, it probably won’t be long til you’re picked up by one of the chatty Cook Islanders.
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Rarotonga Must Do’s

However you get around, visit one of our must-see and must-eat spots, and don’t hesitate to leave me a comment with others of your favourite Cook Island spots.

Best Coffee in Rarotonga

We revisited our favourite café from our last trip to Rarotonga, and the lattes at ‘The Café’ in Avarua are still reliably good. Come for coffee, stay for lunch and browse the art gallery and surrounding shops while you’re there too.

For Beach Cocktails

The Silver Sands restaurant at Muri Beach Club Hotel sits between the hotel’s unparallelled beach and the best swimming pool we’ve found on the island. Even if you’re staying elsewere, it’s worth a visit for a cocktail (and grab the wedding planning pack!)

For local Rarotonga fare

Part of Raro Buggy Tours’ service is a lunch trip to The Mooring, billed as the freshest sandwiches and salads on the rock. The size doesn’t disappoint either, I recommend the ‘FOB’ (Fresh-off-the-Boat) sandwich. For dinner you can’t miss the vibrant night-markets either.

Something a little Smarter

Rarotonga isn’t a ‘fine dining’ destination, but the food is concistently good at Sails in Muri Beach and Trader Jacks in Avarua. Both have appealing happy-hour specials.

For the competitive

Hit up one of the island’s two mini-golf courses. Blair and I returned to Coco Putt this time, grabbing a burger, a drink and contentious game for $20.

International Kai

Since we last visited, food options appear to have increased ten-fold on Rarotonga, and there’s plenty of international kai (food). While old fav ‘Stefano’s’ Italian didn’t seem to be in business, La Casita and Rickshaw in Muri Beach offer quality Mexican and Vietnamese respectively.

Aitutaki

Described as one of the most beautiful lagoons in the world, nearby island Aitutaki boasts unreivalled snorkelling and diving, and a beautiful playground for kayak, SUP, kiteboarding or just sunbathing. There are fewer options on Aitutaki but still something for everyone. At the lagoon you’ll find the Boat Shed’s simple all day menu of local seafood and Asain flavours, the more casual Koru café, or the smarter Aitutaki Village Blue Lagoon Restaurant & Bar all nearby each other.

N.B. Final notes on getting married in Rarotonga!

Remember to pack: Hiking (or running) shoes for the cross-island walk, insect repellent, sunscreen, solar protector for your hair, and plenty of books and magazines… Raro has almost no wifi! While that’s the perfect excuse to tune our for a week, advise your wedding guests in advance and ensure to book accommodation and organise transfers before you arrive – you won’t find an uber awaiting at the airport!
To get organised with the remainder of your wedding plans, head to the index and get your hands on the little white book – the best wedding planner book!