Those of you who have been following me on the blog know that I am from a hotel background. I went to hotel school at age 14 and studied hotel management, catering, cooking (yeah, if you know me on a personal level you can hardly believe that but yes, I could have become a Chef!), accounting and marketing all the way to a Master’s degree in Hotel Management & Marketing.
While I specialized in hotel management early on in my career, I worked pretty much every hotel & restaurant department including the front desk, reservations, accounting, bar, restaurant service & management and, in the kitchen as well.
I have now been in the Islands of Tahiti for almost 15 years and in those years I worked executive positions in a Bora Bora resort, then in a resort in Huahine and life eventually led me to Moorea where I was the General Manager & the Director of Sales & Marketing of a resort for 5 years. That is almost a decade working management positions in Tahiti resorts so it is safe to say that I know my craft when it comes to planning a destination wedding in Tahiti, and understanding the ins and outs of a wedding reception.
On the hotel side, I booked a number of destination weddings in the resort I managed in Moorea (not so much in Bora Bora as Bora Bora resorts were not popular for weddings back when I was living there, too expensive to consider bringing family and friends along, and there was not such a thing as eloping to Tahiti just yet) and today I ran across this 2014 article on The Huffington Post that lists the “10 Hotel Booking Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making” which made me think of what it takes to book room blocks and plan a destination wedding in Tahiti and also took me back to my time at the front desk in London. I’ve got to say that this list is super accurate. Did you ever experience any of these?
From booking on the wrong sites to forgetting to check some vital information, these mistakes could easily make or break your trip. Read on to find out what you must avoid when booking that hotel room.
But now that I’ve specialized as a Destination Wedding Planner in Tahiti and seeing more and more couples reaching out to me super frustrated after they’ve booked their Bora Bora resort only to find out they cannot have the wedding they want, I would like to add a little bit to The Huff’s article:
Bora Bora Resort Top 3 Mistakes
You Didn’t Know You Are Making
Resorts in Bora Bora are gorgeous. Most of them offer excellent service and are totally great in what they do… but when it comes to planning the wedding of your dreams, not all offer equal service so, read on and consider those mistakes others did before you book your Bora Bora resort:
Mistake #1: Assuming A 5* Bora Bora Resort Can Provide ANY Wedding Service.
I want to get legally married in Bora Bora but the resort said that this is not their area of concern.
When we booked we had hoped that we could get everything done through the Bora Bora resort * wedding co-ordinator. Getting the legal ceremony done possibly in the morning and then having the proper ceremony at the resort in the late afternoon. The hope was that the Bora Bora resort * wedding co-ordinator would help us with the legal side (we see it as a formality in the morning with the real wedding being in the afternoon – ideally we could have done this all at once but it’s not possible as you can’t legally marry at the resort). We’ve now been informed that the Bora Bora resort * is unable to help us with any aspect of the legal wedding arrangements (disappointing for a 5 star resort) so we really need help with this.
The thing is, most resorts in Bora Bora (actually anywhere) have a great turnover and their so-called “Wedding Coordinators” or “Wedding Planners” do not necessarily have any experience in planning weddings, they’re simply trained to sell whatever services are listed on the wedding menu, that is a ceremony A, B or C, a romantic dinner at the resort’s restaurant, flowers on your bed… anyone can do that.
But when it comes to the legalities they simply have no clue and will either tell you that it is extremely complicated to discourage you to legally marry in Tahiti (and to get them into doing something they have no experience with) or they will say the service is not available. Disappointing, huh?
Trust me on this one, you better not do this with your resort if they don’t know better than you do, it will indeed feel complicated for everyone involved so save you the headache and either forego the entire legal part or go with an experienced Tahiti Wedding Planner instead, so you are sure that your wedding certificates will really be valid back home. I’ve planned plenty of legal weddings in Tahiti, in Moorea, in Bora Bora, in Taha’a and in Rangiroa to date and can get you legally married anywhere in French Polynesia.
Mistake #2: Assuming A 5* Bora Bora Resort Will Produce The Wedding Of Your Dreams.
I have been going back and forth with the hotel. Now, they aren’t even allowing us to use the photographer of our choice. I’m outraged and still in the process of trying to work this out with them. I wish I would had known prior to booking with them. This is really ruining our special occasion.
The Bora Bora Resort * was absolutely no help and just kept sending generic form letters back to answer my questions. Ultimately they just kicked me over to the concierge since we won’t have any food/guests.
The above were two clients who considered bringing me into their resort to officiate the ceremony they wanted, a personalized, sincere, unique ceremony. But they weren’t allowed to do so, like they weren’t allowed to bring any other wedding vendors of their choice and they had to stick with the resort’s wedding menu and contracted vendors. They were left disappointed to say the least and eventually did not have the wedding ceremony and experience they envisioned.
Mistake #3: Not Considering The Cost Of Wedding Services In A Bora Bora Resort.
Bora Bora is gorgeous, and isolated, too. This one’s not really your fault as this is probably your first time planning a wedding (and we hope the last!) but wedding services come at a cost, anywhere. In Bora Bora wedding services come at an even higher cost because there’s very little readily available on the island. Think beautiful flowers are blooming all around? I’m sorry to break the news but this is not the case, and most flowers you’ll want in your bouquet or bouts are imported from New-Zealand to Tahiti, and then they need to be flown to Bora Bora.
On top of that, because we’re talking luxury resorts, big names, there will be a price tag attached to pretty much anything… and most things you would not even think about at the time you book your resort: there’s a cost for holding your ceremony at a specific location in the resort, a cost for spreading flower petals in the sand, a cost for taking you to the ceremony in an outrigger canoe, a cost for adding chairs if you want to seat your witnesses or guests… this adds up quickly so it is important that you review the wedding service list to get an idea of approximate costs you should budget for the wedding day before you book your resort in Bora Bora.
I wrote an article on this very subject that lists how much a wedding should cost in Tahiti when you have the flexibility to choose your vendors.
I was getting very frustrated and disheartened planning our wedding with the big resorts before I found you. You helped us come up with a plan that was best for us in so many ways and I truly appreciate it.
In Conclusion, Choose Your Bora Bora Resort Wisely!
* resort names not disclosed intentionally