We started off in a long-distance relationship after I visited Manasa’s hometown of New Plymouth for a netball tournament. I was living in Christchurch then. We were both teenagers and didn’t know what the future held, but we kept in contact daily. A few months later, Manasa was offered a full-time rugby contract with The Crusaders, which meant a move for him to Christchurch! That was five years ago.
I planned a weekend away to Lake Tekapo and Manasa decided this would be the perfect time to propose as I would suspect nothing! I was on the balcony of our hotel looking at the view and when I turned around, he was down on one knee.
We were engaged for 11 months. We chose to marry in winter as it was the best time for both of us. We had one week between the super rugby, international test matches and provincial championship games! I play with the Canterbury women’s rugby team.
We loved the idea of getting married in a church and chose the beautiful Rose Historic Chapel in Christchurch, which was the perfect size to host our 90 guests followed by our reception at Omarino Estate.
We wanted a warm, classy and elegant feel for our wedding. We added traditional touches such as Fijian mats to stand on for the ceremony. These were made and sent from Fiji by Manasa’s parents, who couldn’t attend. We had originally planned to marry in Fiji, but this wasn’t possible due to Covid so instead, we played lots of Fijian island music to give our wedding an island vibe.
For our flowers, I requested pink proteas as it’s my favourite flower and pink complemented the bridesmaids’ dresses. I had a king Protea in my bouquet. We also created a flower arch for the reception.
Our dinner was a buffet with a mix of food, from slow-cooked lamb shanks to coconut fish curry and vegan salads and for dessert, chocolate self-saucing pudding with our two-tier coconut and lime cake.
The most memorable part of the speeches was when Manasa’s best friend sang a song that he had written especially for us.
I tried on lots of different gowns. The mermaid fit was my favourite, and the added wings gave it an elegant finish. The style was bohemian with a fishtail silhouette and a plunging neckline. The low illusion lace back combined a geometric floral lace pattern with a circle train. I loved it as I felt it signified my transition to womanhood, as Manasa and I met when we were still teenagers. I added wings to my shoulders instead of wearing a traditional veil and wore diamond teardrop earrings. I wore platform shoes for comfort! I also pinned my late grandmother’s pendant to the inside of my dress.
My four bridesmaids were all my sisters, and they wore custom-made satin dresses that suited their individual shapes, in a subtle chrome pink colour. Manasa and his groomsmen wore navy blue suits with pink rose buttonholes to match the bridesmaids. My niece was my flower girl.
Manasa wrote me a personal note to read the morning before our wedding and my whole family came to our accommodation to make us breakfast. They also gifted me with a pendant that belonged to my late grandmother, so she was with me on the day.
My favourite moment of the day was celebrating at the reception as we got to relax and spend time with our family and friends. We hope that through witnessing our marriage, our guests were inspired by our journey of obedience to God.
We’re grateful that we kept our numbers small so that everyone could interact with each other, and we could speak to everyone who attended. The whole day had a cozy, family feel to it. It was the best day of my life; it was simple and so satisfying.
Two days after the wedding, Manasa had to assemble with the Fijian men’s rugby team, so we had our honeymoon two weeks later, after the final test match against the All Blacks. We travelled north to Whangarei for a couple of nights before flying to Gisborne to see some family friends. We then travelled back to Auckland for another mini-break.
My advice would be to not try to impress people with a large, grand marriage and with lots of finishing touches that don’t really matter. There’s nothing wrong with having a simple wedding as all that matters is having all the people you love in attendance.
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