Destination wedding location: The Cook Islands

Anna Watt
Photography By
Cook Islands Tourism Corporation

The Cook Islands; a jewel in crown of the South Pacific, offering a wide range of hugely romantic settings within which to exchange your wedding vows

How about saying "I do" on a sun-drenched beach with sand between your toes, under an archway of jasmine and frangipani with a turquoise lagoon backdrop? This may sound like a dream, but in the Cook Islands it can be a reality. Make a dramatic entrance arriving on a traditional outrigger canoe paddled by a warrior, add some local tradition with flower garlands and a ukulele serenading you and your guests, and you have a simply unforgettable experience.


The climate in the Cook Islands is warm and sunny all year round, with only approximately four degrees difference between the warmer and cooler months. The ‘wet season’ from late November to April brings just occasional rain in the late afternoon, meaning an outdoor ceremony is doable all year round.

Choice of service

Cook Islanders have a strong Christian (Protestant) faith and if you wish to have a church wedding in one of the picturesque white limestone churches then that is a possibility. Bring local sounds to your nuptials with a performance from a Polynesian choir, while the sunshine streams through the stain glass windows. Ceremonies for other religious denominations can also be arranged.

When people think of the paradise of the Cook Islands they predominantly think of the beaches, however an alternative wedding location is available, and one that is hard to beat. Rarotonga is the largest of the Cook Islands and is dominated by spectacular extinct volcanic peaks, cloaked in dense vegetation. You can exchange vows on the mountains, with a view of the reef-encircled lagoon below. For a unique spiritual experience, it’s possible to marry on a traditional marae at a sacred wedding altar. Your guests will be welcomed by a mountain warrior who will perform the customary lifting of the tapu to respect the sacred nature of the site where many ancestral weddings have taken place. Or pledge your love in a romantic forest glade, tropical garden or even cooled by the mist of an inland waterfall.

If you would like to do something completely different, some couples have even taken the plunge quite literally by diving beneath the sea to wed amid the dazzling aquatic environment.


By choosing the Cook Islands as the location of your wedding you also don’t have to travel far to get to your honeymoon. With a fantastic choice of hotels throughout the Cook Islands to base yourself while you explore the islands, or just to shut yourselves away from the outside world and enjoy the surroundings, the Cook Islands are the perfect place to begin your life as husband and wife.

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