Vanuatu. It’s a tropical island paradise that’s right on our doorstep – and it’s the perfect spot for a truly romantic, once-in-a-lifetime destination wedding (or, even, the ultimate honeymoon).
Located in the South Pacific, the island nation of Vanuatu comprises 83 islands that stretch over 1,300 kms, offering visitors, quite literally, hundreds of spectacular locations, in which to marry.
Efate, Vanuatu’s most populous island, is “incredibly picturesque and perfect for couples looking for a diverse range of accommodation choices and resorts,” says Naomi Wheeler, Vanuatu Tourism’s Australian representative. “Or you could head to Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu’s largest island, which is simply stunning and home to infinite white beaches peppered with countless remote spots you can enjoy on your own.”
For a truly memorable wedding location – and wedding photos to match, imagine marrying in the shadow of the volcano at Mount Yasur on Tanna Island, which, though active, is still approachable and one of Vanuatu’s top tourist destinations.
Here are six other reasons to should pack your bags – and wedding rings – and head to one of the most beautiful destination wedding spots on the planet:
It’s really close to home…
“With nine flights from Australia to Vanuatu weekly, it’s never been easier to access paradise. Guests can sit back and enjoy the all-inclusive services including WiFi entertainment and bar, before arriving in the “land of smiles” in under three and a half hours from Sydney or just two hours from Brisbane,” says Air Vanuatu’s Paul Forbes.
“Air Vanuatu also offers passengers the option to add on discounted domestic flights to the outer islands such as the stunning Espiritu Santo, where they can discover one of my favourite places, the stunning Champagne Beach,” he says.
Your wedding photos will be pretty spectacular!
Vanuatu’s lush, green landscape provides an incredible backdrop for your wedding photos, which will be unlike anything you’ll find in your friends’ wedding albums! Add to your wedding photos elements from the country’s ancient Melanesian culture and your destination wedding photos will truly be remarkable.
“Many couples like to have their wedding photos taken on the beautiful white sands of Champagne Beach with the aqua blue water lapping behind them,” says Naomi. “The coconut palms lining long stretches of road also offer a unique photo opportunity.”
It’s perfect for small, intimate affairs
“While it’s possible to book out an entire resort and throw a large, lavish wedding in Vanuatu (and may couples do), says Frederick Maclean, General Manager at The Havannah, Vanuatu, “it’s also a truly wonderful place to either elope to or to hold a small, intimate wedding.”
Located on Samoa Point at Havannah Harbour and overlooking the islands of Moso and Lelepa, The Havannah Vanuatu, which is where the winners of Easy Weddings Wedding of the Year competition will enjoy a second honeymoon, is peaceful and tranquil – perfect for a small, private ceremony with just 30 of your nearest and dearest. The acclaimed venue, which has garnered nearly 400 five-star reviews on TripAdvisor, is regularly referred to as ‘paradise,’ ‘Heaven on Earth’ and ‘bliss.’
Vanuatu knows how to throw a great wedding!
While the idea of organising an overseas destination wedding can be quite daunting for some, it needn’t be if you’re considering Vanuatu, which is home to a host of top-notch wedding service providers, all of whom have years (if not decades) of experience creating memorable events, especially weddings, for overseas clients.
“Our wedding packages include a dedicated co-ordinator who can take care of everything for you, such as booking your photographer, hair and make-up artists, local warriors – or even a helicopter ride for you to arrive at your wedding on the day,” says Frederick.
Your wedding co-ordinator will be able to help you with all the processes required to ensure your marriage is legal and, thankfully, the process of marrying in Vanuatu for Australians is a lot easier than in other overseas destination wedding locations.
There are some magnificent Melanesian touches to be enjoyed
From warrior dancers and string music to a festive, flower-laden Melanesian wedding arch and, even, a traditional wedding canoe in which the bride can arrive, Vanuatu’s kind and welcoming locals adore sharing their culture with guests.
“When we add Melanesian touches to our weddings, we will decorate the wedding spot with palm leaves, tropical flowers and bougainvillea,” explains Frederick. “And, if the couple requests it, we can even have local warriors sound a conch shell as the bride arrives.
“It’s a spine-tingling moment, one neither the bride, groom or their guests will ever forget.”
You (and your guests) will love what you can do after the wedding
“A helicopter ride to the volcano of Ambrym and a visits to the turtle sanctuary on Moso Island, is an absolute must,” says Frederik.
If you’re feeling adventurous, don’t miss a jungle trek on Espiritu Santo and, of course, Chief Roi Mata’s Domain, which is a UNESCO world heritage site which was home to one of Vanuatu’s legendary leaders and has remained largely untouched for 400 years.
Then there’s the zip lining, volcano climbing and scuba diving, all of which Vanuatu is famous for.
“Whether you and your guests love adventure and want to go bungee jumping or simply want to go island hopping and relax in the sun, you’ll never be bored in Vanuatu,” he adds, “so why leave after your wedding when you can stay for a honeymoon of a lifetime?”