Ceremonies and Receptions
There are endless picturesque locations on either the main island of Rarotonga or the smaller island of Aitutaki. You can marry barefoot on a secluded beach at sunset, standing in a heart-shape of shells, in a whitewashed coral church with a spine-tingling gospel choir, on a private islet under a tropical flower arch, or beside the infinity pool of a luxury resort. Whatever your style or budget, there are dozens of different options in this tropical paradise and it truly is the island paradise of your dreams.
Whether an intimate secluded setting or arriving in a warrior outrigger canoe to your own private islet, our little paradise caters for all wishes.
Have your wedding reception casual and carefree, or in style with a gourmet meal at an elegant resort. Or enjoy a simply exquisite wedding breakfast of tropical fruit and champagne at the beach or garden.
Whatever your dream wedding, it can be a reality. There are specialist wedding planners, celebrants, florists, stylists, photographers, beauticians and hairdressers to make you and your day perfectly beautiful. Nothing here is hurried, but everything happens when you need it to.
Most resorts offer all inclusive wedding packages including a variety of ceremony venues and options. Many have dedicated wedding planners, and there are also independent wedding planners and celebrants if you want to do your own thing.
Getting married in the Cook Islands is so simple.
5 ways to get married in the Cook Islands
- Beach: Surrounded by beautiful coastline and crystal blue lagoons, finding the perfect stretch of beach for your special day is so simple. Coconut palms, white sands and a backdrop of Jurassic mountains with a tangle of green trees are sure to make your day nothing short of picture-perfect! For something truly unique, why not charter a boat to your very own private island?
- Garden: Tropical flowers surrounded by endless greenery make garden weddings a popular option for weddings in the Cook Islands. From immaculately groomed resort grounds to the Cook Islands very own botanical gardens, there is the perfect patch of green for every bride and groom. At some locations, it’s possible to say ‘I do’ in the gardens, with views of the gorgeous lagoon, combining the best of both worlds.
- Poolside: For the perfect laidback wedding, why not choose a poolside location at one of the beautiful resorts? With these intimate ceremonies, the beauty and simplicity lie in the detail. Have your first dance against a breathtaking orange sunset, before dancing the night away with your guests under a starry, starry sky to the seductive rhythms of the islands’ sensational drummers and phenomenal dancers.
- Adventure: Escape to a secret motu (island) on a cruise across the lagoon with flower petals scattered across the sand – where you take your vows. If the ancient Polynesian culture is the allure, marry on a sacred marae or historical site overlooking the whole of the Pacific.
- Church: There are so many charming chapels and churches dotted around the island, which are perfect for brides and grooms who dream of walking down the aisle of a whitewashed stone church to a melodic choir of Polynesian voices. Set amongst gardens and metres from the beach, each and every church has a unique look and feel, ideal for couples desiring rustic, seaside vibes.
Churches on the Islands
The Cook Islands host a number of religious denominations. The main ones are: Cook Islands Christian Church (Protestant), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon), Seventh Day Adventist, Apostolic Church, Jehovah’s Witness, Assembly of God, Cornerstone Friends Mission Church, Holy Spirit Revival, and Roman Catholic. Check with your local minister regarding the requirements to marry in the Church, as they will also apply to the Cook Islands.
Making it legal
You need to apply for your licence in person to the Registrar of Marriages in the Cook Islands at least 3 days prior to the marriage. You will need your passport and birth certificate when filing the Notice of Intended Marriage at the Registrar’s Office in Avarua. For further details visit the Ministry of Justice site – oh and you have to be 21 years of age or over, otherwise written approval by your parents is required. Cook Island marriages are legally binding worldwide.
A Cook Islands wedding can be your own tropical festival.
There’s so much for your group to do together, from mud-soaked buggy jungle day tours to fancy island nights, lagoon sunrise SUP yoga to twilight disco-light paddleboarding cruises, from lounging on your own beach to dancing the night away to string bands in open-air bars with the locals.
After the big day, relax, chill out and set your clock to island time as you let its natural beauty work its magic. The dictionary definition of a romantic setting, experience a honeymoon beyond your wildest dreams, on islands amongst the most beautiful and breathtaking on earth.
Whatever your budget, your dreams or your expectations, a honeymoon on Rarotonga or Aitutaki is everything you could wish for and more. From ultra-luxurious and secluded, to natural and simple, or something in between, there’s a world of amazing places to stay and things to do, that will delight and satisfy you both.
Rarotonga and Aitutaki are easy, relaxing and fun destinations. With fantastic weather rarely below 24°C, the water is warm and crystal clear, the beaches have soft white sand, the fragrance of frangipani is everywhere - and your accommodation (some of it award-winning and adults only) is probably just a few steps away from the water’s edge. From romance and relaxation, to action and adventure, gourmet dining, arts and culture, there is something here for every couple and every budget.