Peter and Natasha’s wedding on Erakor Island Resort & Spa was everything they wanted: a relaxed, stress free, “just us” experience!
The couple and their decision to elope on Erakor Island in Vanuatu
Both Australians based in Perth, Peter and Natasha met as they were on their way to a special training before being dispatched on one of the Australian scientific basis in Antarctica, she as a doctor, he as a mechanic engineer. These high achievers, bold romantics, outdoors and adventure lovers knew they wanted to elope overseas and make this special day all about them! This decision was also made bearing in mind that their family and loved ones were all scattered across various countries and places, and having them all gathered in one place would simply be impossible.
The thing is, they could only take a short break off work, so they needed to find an elopement destination that would sound both exciting and practical! A quick search on Google for wedding destinations near Australia led them to finding Erakor Island resort, in Vanuatu.
The vibe of this little island conquered them right away. Located just a 5 minutes ferry ride from the main land of Efate and Vanuatu’s capital city, Port Vila, Erakor Island is a tropical dream come true! With crystal clear blue lagoon waters, starfishes and colorful fishes all around, soft white sand beaches, palm trees and even its own little rainforest, it was easy for Peter and Natasha to picture themselves walking the sand paths from their plunge pool villa to the resort’s restaurant.
With just a few more clicks, it appeared that Erakor island resort offers all inclusive wedding packages for couples looking to have a destination wedding, as well as for couples eloping. With this information, it took only little time for Peter and Natasha to make a decision to call the resort and inquire about booking.
Booking and planning their Erakor Island wedding
Once they agreed on a date and made a booking, the wedding team on Erakor Island handled everything for them, from the putting in the paper work at the Wedding Registry to booking a celebrant, and from organizing flowers to making appointment with a hair dresser and makeup artist team.
They arrived two days before the wedding, sat down with Laurel and Litia, who both oversee weddings on the island, and went together through the last details to organize, including where to have the ceremony as the resort offers at least three different locations to set up ceremonies: sunset beach, the most private one, coconut beach, which allows a canoe entrance, and the open chapel surrounded with majestic banyan trees and beautiful greenery.
All the while, Peter, Natasha and I would keep in touch regularly via Whatsapp, so I could help them with decisions in terms of timeline and light scenarios. For example, sunset beach is a very popular choice to hold a wedding ceremony on the island of Erakor, however, for those planning an afternoon ceremony, it is worth noting and bearing in mind that the sun will be in their back, and heavily reflecting on the ocean, which in terms of photos, means that the marrying couple will be backlit all along, and chances are the background in their ceremony photos will turn out all white and blown out.
Peter, Natasha and I spoke a lot about the rest of their day, past the ceremony. I was happy to provide them with a list of activities they could do on their special day to add to the magic and we chose a few of them together, based on what they liked and felt excited about, and what was realistic in terms of timeline.
A stress-free, adventurous elopement day on Erakor Island and Efate
In the end, they decided for a mid-morning ceremony at coconut beach, so as to leave us ample time to hop on the ferry back across Efate and off to adventure around. So on a cool, sunny “winter” August morning, it all came together. Natasha and Peter got ready in separate bungalows to keep some tradition on their wedding day, they met under a beautiful tropical flower arch, held hands, shed tears, couldn’t stop smiling, exchanged personal vows and even had two of the Erakor resort staff members as their witnesses! It was light, joyful, intentional and I felt so honored to be there to capture it for the two of them.
After the ceremony, the wedding team from Erakor Island made sure chilled champagne was served to the newlyweds, and that they had everything they needed. With a typical Vanuatu warmth, all of them wanted to give Peter and Natasha a hug and wish them a lifetime of happiness. This moment, just like the rest of their day, was totally relaxed and filled with good vibes.
Adventuring around Efate on their elopement day
To kick start the adventure part of their special day, Natasha, Peter and I left Erakor Island, hopped in my car and drove all the way to Mélé after a quick stop by the local super market where we stocked up some of the newlyweds favorite vino and snacks. Once we got to the cascades, we took the quick and easy 20 minutes hike up the waterfall, which we had all to ourselves and were able to enjoy thoroughly. Then we headed to a different part of the island, to a secret gem spot that happened to be one of the absolute best locations to view sunset on Efate. There, they couldn’t resist throwing themselves in the water and celebrate their first sunset as husband and wife in the wildest, most glamorous and romantic, invigorating and free spirited way.