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Born in the Southwest, raised in the Northwest, I have called the South Pacific home for nearly 30 years. I founded J2 Travels in the late 1990s to share our knowledge with other like minded travelers – remembering always, that the joy is in the journey. I currently live on Maui, I'm endorsed by IATA, and am a member of the Fiji, Tahiti and New Zealand Tourism Boards.


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Destination Weddings in Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora

Explore > Travel Planning Articles > Destination Weddings in Tahiti

Date published:
2021-11-29


Mount Otemanu, Bora Bora, French Polynesia is one of the most iconic backdrops in the world for your wedding photos.  Photo courtesy Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora.
View of Mount Otemanu, Bora Bora from the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora - photo courtesy Four Seasons.

Destination Weddings in French Polynesia

French Polynesia is arguably one of the most beautiful places in the world to get married. Certainly the stunning scenery lends itself to jaw-dropping photos for your wedding album. Exotic, luxurious accommodations, French and Polynesian food, and incredible opportunities (both underwater and on land) for you and your guests to explore the the beautiful islands of the South Pacific makes Tahiti one of the most desirable places for a destination wedding.

How to Get Married in Tahiti

Until recently, government restrictions made it very challenging to legally get married in French Polynesia, so most "Tahiti weddings" were really just the ceremony and celebration, with the legal marriage and all its paperwork happening back home.

Today, the marriage requirements in Tahiti are far less onerous, but still you can simplify your wedding planning a fair bit by getting the legal documentation for your marriage done at home, and just having the ceremony and celebration part in the islands.

Legal Requirements, Documents, Etc.

If you choose to have your legal wedding on Tahiti Nui, Bora Bora, Moorea, or one of the other islands in French Polynesia, here's a list of the documents you'll need:

These documents must be completed and sent to the City Hall in French Polynesia a minimum of 45 days prior to the legal wedding date.

Tahiti Tourisme has an excellent FAQs page on marriage requirements here.

Popular Wedding Locations in Tahiti

Certainly Mount Otemanu, on Bora Bora, makes a spectacular backdrop for your ceremony and your photos. But don't rule out the other islands, especially Moorea. Moorea's mountains are similar in size and appearance to Bora Bora's mountains.

Tahiti Nui

The big, main island of French Polynesia is technically "Tahiti" - the collection of islands there is officially called "French Polynesia". The island of Tahiti is split into two chunks, joined by a narrow isthmus: Tahiti Nui ("nui" means "big") is the larger, western-most part, where most of the population is, and where the main airport is, in Papeete. Tahiti Iti is the other part, and you can guess what "iti" means.

This island has some resorts, but they tend not to be as luxurious as the ones on the other islands. Most resorts are your typical multi-room hotel, although a few have overwater bungalows. Mostly people stay in these as a small part of their vacation, either to make the transit to the outer islands more do-able, or so that they can spend a day or so seeing Papeete, the market, and the famous Les Roulottes food carts.

See photos, maps, reviews etc. for all of the hotels on Tahiti Nui here.

Show Wedding Packages on Tahiti Nui

Mountains, lagoon, and sailing ship on the island of Moorea
Looking east over Opunohu Bay on the north shore of Moorea - photo copyright Michael Cottam.

Moorea

This is the closest island to Tahiti itself, can you can get there either by ferry (up to 8 times a day, takes about 30 minutes, and costs about $10 USD; schedule etc. is here), or by plane (Air Tahiti, about $100 USD round trip, about 10 flights a day; schedule etc. is here). That's a pretty minimal additional cost for you and your wedding guests either way, and a minimal extra bit of transit time, too.

On Moorea, like on the other islands, you'll find that most resorts' accommodations are individual units. You'll get your own separate bungalow--whether it's overwater, or beach or garden, you're going to find it's pretty private, romantic, and luxurious. Most beaches aren't public, which means mostly all you're going to see on the beach at your resort is guests of the same resort. And since most resorts are going to have between about 50 and 150 rooms, the beaches and pools never get crowded like they'd be if it was your typical hi-rise resort with 500 rooms.

There's also a lot to do on Moorea: besides the watersports (snorkeling, diving, jet skis, swimming with sharks and sting rays), there's great hiking with fabulous views, ATV tours (our kids' favorite thing we did there) through the mountains and plantations, ziplining (a new attraction--another favorite of our kids), plus a number of cool local restaurants to try. And since the resorts are all on the main island itself, it's easy to drive (or bicycle) around the island--unlike many other parts of French Polynesia, where resorts are each perched on their own separate motu. This also means that it's easier for your wedding guests to stay at other resorts, and get to your resort for the wedding and other events.

See photos, maps, reviews etc. for all of the hotels on Moorea here.

Show Wedding Packages on Moorea

Overwater wedding chapel at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa
Overwater Wedding Chapel at InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa - photo copyright Stephen Debelle.

Bora Bora

Here, the major resorts are nearly all on the motus surrounding the main island. On the western motus, you'll get sunsets over the open ocean, and sunrise views with Mount Otemanu in the background. On the eastern motus, you'll get those classic sunset views with Otemanu in the background; the resorts are mostly on the western side of that motu, partly for that reason. The overwater wedding chapel at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa (pictured above and at right) is perhaps one of the more spectacular places to get married.

Then, on the southern tip of the main island, around Matira Beach, you've got two Sofitel resorts (one on a little motu just offshore) and the InterContinental Le Moana - all of these are an easy swim to the fantastic coral garden that lies between them...and, close enough to visit the famous Bloody Mary's restaurant/bar.

On Bora Bora, there are excursions you can take on the main island, but you'll need to take a short boat ride from the resort to get there. Your guests don't all have to stay at the same resort--you can get shuttle boats to take you to/from Vaitape (the little town on the main island) from any of the resorts.

Getting there is a bit more expensive and time-consuming than getting to Moorea--you're going to have to take about an hour flight from Papeete, which costs about $400 per person. Schedules, booking, etc. is here.

See photos, maps, reviews etc. for all of the hotels on Bora Bora here.

  Inside the overwater wedding chapel at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa
Inside the overwater wedding chapel at the
InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa.
Photo copyright Helene Havard.


Show Wedding Packages on Bora Bora

Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort, Tuamoto Atolls, French Polynesia
Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort in the Tuamotu Atolls - photo copyright Loic Lagarde.

Tuamotu Atolls

This is a bucket-list destination for scuba divers--famous for sharks, amazing reefs, etc. The resorts are focused less on luxury and weddings and honeymoons, and more on the location and the undersea life. You'll take about an hour flight from Papeete to get here, at a cost of about $450 per person, round-trip.

See photos, maps, reviews etc. for the hotels on the Tuamotu Atolls here.

Show Wedding Packages on the Tuamotu Atolls


Other islands

Huahine and Le Taha'a are not quite as far out as Bora Bora, but you'll still need to fly there from Papeete. Huahine is more laid-back, and has a number of resorts; Taha'a is super-private and luxurious (Bill Gates apparently likes to play tennis with the gardener there). The Brando is one of the newest ultra-luxury resorts in French Polynesia, and is located about 50 miles north of Tahiti Nui--you'll need to take a plane from Papeete for this resort as well.

See photos, maps, reviews etc. for the hotels on the other islands here.

Show Wedding Packages on Other Islands




How we work with you to plan the perfect trip:

  • We'll talk with you to find out what you're looking for, what you like/don't like, etc.
  • We'll use our first-hand knowledge of the destination to pick out a handful of resorts we think you'd like
  • We'll create a custom mini website for you, with photos, videos, maps, etc. of the resorts we are recommending
  • We'll follow up with you to help you make your decision
  • We'll go to work with our suppliers to get you the best deal available on what you've decided on.


 

Map of all Resorts in French Polynesia



Michael  

About the author, Michael Cottam



Founder of Visual Itineraries, Michael lives in Bend, Oregon. He's an avid traveler, scuba diver, photographer, and a private pilot. He's on Pinterest and Twitter.

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