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  Cruising to your wedding with P&O

A huge thank you to Tonia at Bon Voyage Cruises & Travel for all of the time and effort spent helping to make our big day perfect.

Tonia organised the cruise bookings for us and our 45 wedding guests. She liaised with P&O for me and, using her already extensive knowledge and expertise, answered the many questions we had regarding food and drinks, entertainment and a cake onboard...

 

The day went as follows:


We had a bus pick up me and the bridal party, plus a couple of extras (photographer and hairdresser who were friends and wedding guests) and parents etc at 9am from the boat. We used Melanesian tours and they were wonderful. The driver loaded all of our luggage on for us and arrived with the bus decorated as a wedding vehicle!  We then spent the morning getting ready. The staff bought us room service lunch and drinks. The photographer had a great look around and took some snaps before everyone arrived. They had staff preparing the grounds and decorationg the arches and chapel etc as well. I felt really spoiled.  
At about 12pm two buses picked up the groomsmen and the rest of the guests. When the guests arrived they had a beautifully decorated welcome cocktail available for those who wanted one and then everyone proceeded to the chapel area. 
Nola (wedding coordinator) stood by and kept a close eye on things to make sure everything ran smoothly. She gave me a floral lei after the formalities were completed and had a glass of champagne ready for me and Tarek as well. We then proceeded back to the deck where guests were served drinks and beautiful nibbles while being entertained by the cultural band while we took photos. When the photos were done we all assembled on the deck where the cultural group showed us some of their traditional dances and let us join in. They then let us all have turns at taking photos with them.

As it drew close to departure time (4 o'clock) we headed to the three buses and made our way back to the Pacific Pearl, smiling and waving happily to the locals on our way who seemed to quickly pick up there was a wedding party coming through town. At the gangway to the ship the crowd cheered loudly as Security kindly let Tarek carry me aboard! 


Once onboard we had about an hour to regather. The boys decided to have a quick swim while I met up with guests on the top deck. It was quite surreal being gasped and ooohed and aaahed over as I navigated my way around the ship. I can't tell you how many 'congratulations' and 'you look beautiful' comments I got. I spied numerous guests on my way raving to strangers about the day and they were all asking where I was. I felt like a celebrity!  We had drinks about 6pm at the dome, where we also gave our speeches. The dome was reserved for us and our guests. The bar staff bought round a selection of drinks for us. The nice thing was we didn't actually consume too many bevereges, so instead of charging us per head they just charged us the amount for the drinks consumed. After speeches we had our first dance on the beautiful dance floor at the dome all by ourselves!! They organised a DJ to play our song and the background music at no extra cost to us. After the dome the bridal party snuck away again to take some pics around the boat and then we headed to the waterfront for tea. Earlier in the cruise I had spoken with the maitre'd and chosen an area to reserve. They kindly made my cake as requested and put out all the place names in the order and places I had asked for. When we arrived at the waterfront they had the whole staff out the front to applaud us in and all of the other diners also stood and cheered as we walked through. Later on before dessert was served the staff approached mine and Tarek's table and sang 'You are my sunshine 'for us.  It was truly special - we felt like the only people on the ship that day. After dinner we got the remainder of the cake (which was divine) sent to our room while we all proceeded to have a huge party on the top deck!!  It was an amazing party (of which I didn't have to organise a thing) and a great end to our night.


We have had so many comments about how great the whole day was. The nice thing was everything was pre-organised so us and the bridal party and our guests had nothing to worry about on the day. There was no running about and worrying about driving or drinking or parking. And there was no long boring wait between the ceremony and the reception. The kids had fun running amuck wherever they were and even getting to boogie later in the night.

  Everything came together so perfectly and with the help of the suggestions from all of the professionals we dealt with.

I wanted a wedding that was very personal to me. I wanted the beach wedding with the perfect weather, without it looking like the standard beach wedding. I chose the cruise because I saw friends and family put all this effort into one day only to feel stressed the day before their wedding and have to host and feed everyone again the next day. The day before our wedding we were on the beautiful island of Lifou learning about what the locals do and sitting on the picturesque beach watching friends and family playing in the sea. The day after... the exact same thing! It was 'just perfect'!

A huge thank you to Tonia at Bon Voyage Cruises & Travel for all of the time and effort spent helping to make our big day perfect. Tonia organised the cruise bookings for us and our 45 wedding guests. She liaised with P&O for me and, using her already extensive knowledge and expertise, answered the many questions we had regarding food and drinks, entertainment and a cake onboard. Tonia was always prompt at answering my emails and always had a friendly manner. She was a very relaxed and easy person to deal with. I would have no reservations whatsoever recommending Tonia to anyone planning an overseas wedding or holiday.

The decision to go on a cruise and getting married on one of the island stopovers was an easy one once our families confirmed they would be able to make it. It turned out to be the best decision we made. We have friends and family all over New Zealand so no matter where we chose to get married at least 50% of our guests would have to travel, so we decided to make a holiday of it as well. I'm not overly keen on all the build up to one big day so sharing an 8 night cruise with our guests meant we had more time to catch up with everyone both before, during and after our big day. A hens night onboard meant the ladies all got to meet each other prior to the wedding day. Not many people can say the days before and after their wedding was spent on beautiful Pacific islands soaking up the sun or sipping cocktails on the top deck of the ship. Apart from arranging a couple of things once we boarded the ship, the rest of the wedding was left to very reliable staff both on the ship and the island. We felt like royalty on our big day; we had balloons delivered to our room plus a beautiful heart shaped towel arrangement on our bed. The staff applauded us to our table at dinner and even came and sang to us. We had exclusive use of the dome (bar staff, dj and dance floor included) at no extra cost. And what's more we had the biggest after party on the top deck with 1600 other guests and staff.

The best part for us both though was allowing our friends and families to meet and get to know each other properly as they both mean a lot to us. It was amazing to see all the new friendships that were formed between them during our time together.

Nicola and Tarek, June 2011