The Globetrotting Diaries: Getting Married in the Cook Islands

Australia & South Pacific

The Globetrotting Diaries: Getting Married in the Cook Islands

Getting married on the island of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands is one of my favourite South Pacific travel memories.

We spent a lovely day enjoying “his and hers” day at the spa ahead of the big day. I carried a bouquet of gardenias picked from a friend’s garden shortly before the ceremony. We made our way to the motu across from Muri Beach for the ceremony. We were barefooted from the vaka landing onto the beach, where our dear friend gave us a Maori warrior greeting and welcome while another serenaded, singing and playing his ukulele for us before and after the ceremony.

Once married, we planted a coconut tree and enjoyed looking over the turquoise lagoon watching our kids chase local chickens, crabs, and waves.

The wedding party. (Credit: Vanessa Lloyd)

We left the next day to stunning Aitutaki for our honeymoon. We cycled around the island, keeping clear of the goats and pigs that wandered about. We snorkelled in the clear blue lagoon and enjoyed One Foot Island, where we had our passports stamped. The stars at night looked like someone had thrown diamonds across a piece of black velvet. 

Next stop was Atiu. We were met at the airport and transported to our villa and were given a history of the island enroute. We put our runners on and our guide led us through the Makatea Jungle to Anatakitaki Cave, where we were able to see the very rare Kopeka birds that nest between the stalactites of the cavern. There was a cold water natural pool within the cave we swam in by lamp light. It was island night at the villas and a local dance group sung and danced while we enjoyed the local foods. We were greeted by warm and friendly Cook Islanders everywhere, all celebrating the special occasion with us.

I was thrilled to bring my husband and my stepchildren to the place my daughter and I had lived and continue to love. It was an amazing experience.