The Resort Beach, which offers a picturesque view of Mount Otemanu, is one of seven wedding locations at the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora. // © 2011 Four Seasons Bora Bora
For years, couples have flocked to Tahiti to celebrate their weddings with a symbolic ceremony but were unable to legally wed there. As of last year, however, the laws have changed in French Polynesia, and foreigners can legally tie the knot in this idyllic South Pacific destination.
The Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora celebrated its first legal wedding in May of last year and has since enhanced its bridal offerings with a total of seven wedding locations and three wedding packages.
“We work directly with the couple to ensure that the wedding is exactly how they want it to be,” said Don Schreifels, director of marketing for the resort. “When the couple arrives, they can choose their wedding location, so they have a chance to experience each setting for themselves.”
Location, Location, Location
New this year, couples can say “I do” on the resort’s custom-crafted catamaran, the Navigator. The 48-passenger, bi-level ship is equipped with a rooftop sundeck that is ideal for ceremonies. The catamaran also features a full bar, dining tables and a lavatory. As of press time, Four Seasons is the only Bora Bora resort to offer a wedding ceremony on a ship. A supplement fee of approximately $660 and an advanced reservation are required, and the reservation is based on availability. The catamaran can be decorated with traditional palm leaves for an additional fee.
Other locations include the Resort Beach, which offers a picturesque view of Bora Bora’s main island and Mount Otemanu. The site is in close proximity to restrooms and the Sunset Restaurant and Bar, which can be particularly convenient for older guests and young children. However, the Resort Beach is one of the least secluded wedding locations on site, so there is always a chance that onlookers might want to linger as the ceremony takes place.
Perhaps the most secluded of Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora’s wedding locations is Coral Beach, which faces the Pacific Ocean. The sound of waves crashing against the coral reef help enhance the ceremony, and miki-miki plants add color to the tropical setting. An approximate $240 supplement fee is required to reserve this location due to the logistics involved.
The white-sand Otemanu Beach is located along the resort’s inner lagoon, close to the on-site meeting and conference facilities. Due to the resort’s event schedule, Otemanu Beach is not available for wedding ceremonies on Mondays.
The Sunset Motu, a tiny island that can be seen from the Resort Beach, is reachable by canoe. As the name suggests, the location offers ideal views of the sunset, and many ceremonies tend to take place around that time. While the setting is romantic to say the least, it may not be the most practical due to its size and lack of amenities. A supplement of approximately $420 and a 24-hour advance notice are required to reserve the location.
For a more lush setting, Pandanus Grove offers a secluded coconut cove surrounded by tropical plants. The location sits on a white-sand beach and overlooks the resort’s inner lagoon.
More traditional wedding ceremonies are held in the Aherenoa Chapel. Brides and grooms who prefer to wear gowns and tuxedos will appreciate the air conditioning as well as the preparation rooms located in the back of the chapel. Wedding guests will love the expansive view of Mount Otemanu from the floor-to-ceiling windows behind the altar.
A Packaged Deal
The Aparima Himene (Romantic Dance) package includes the assistance of a wedding coordinator, a non-denominational officiant to perform the ceremony and traditional decorations at a choice of seven wedding locations. During the ceremony, the bride and groom will be dressed in Polynesian wedding outfits and wear flower crowns and leis, while locals entertain them with Tahitian songs and dances. Also included are a bridal bouquet, canoe transportation to and from the ceremony, a tropical drink for two served in a coconut, a wedding certificate printed on tapa cloth, a wedding cake, a bottle of champagne and a CD of 50 wedding photographs. The package is priced at approximately $2,650.
The Moemoea O Te Huru Tini (Colorful Dreams) package includes the aforementioned amenities and services in addition to a wedding dinner for two on the beach, make up and hair arrangement at The Spa and 50 extra wedding photographs, for a total of 100 images. The package is priced at approximately $3,600.
The Poe Here (Pearl of Love) package takes the Colorful Dreams package a step further. The bride and groom will also enjoy an hour-long spa treatment and an hour post-treatment relaxation in a Kahaia Spa Suite. A videographer will be on hand to document the big event, and an additional 50 photographs, for a total of 150 images, are also included. The package is priced at approximately $4,930.
The base cost for a wedding ceremony at the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora is approximately $1,925, and most wedding services and amenities are available a la carte. On top of the base wedding price, there is also an approximate $960 fee for legal weddings, which includes roundtrip transportation to the city hall via yacht, a translator and a bottle of bubbly.