The Complete Guide to Getting Married in Samoa
You know who you want to spend the rest of your life with and you know you want to start it in beautiful Samoa, but how can you make this all work?! Relax and take a look at this guide on how to plan a wedding in Samoa.
From choosing an island to working out the legalities, planning a wedding in Samoa has a lot to think about. However, thanks to the array of wedding packages available, the guesswork is mostly taken out of organising a destination wedding. Let us guide you through the best time to get married, the best places, the best wedding packages, and more in this complete Samoa wedding guide.
5 Tips for Getting Married in Samoa
- Apply for your Marriage License at least 10 days before your wedding but no more than three months before (you don’t have to do this in person)
- Compare wedding packages thoroughly; they all have different inclusions that might make that slightly more expensive package actually a great deal
- If you’re bringing a wedding party, consider staying on Upolu to make the experience a lot easier (and more affordable) for everybody and to have the most access to wedding hire and services
- If you’re eloping, choose the picture-perfect paradise of Savai’i
- Or, for the best of both worlds, have your wedding on Upolu and your honeymoon on Savai’i!
When is the Best Time to Get Married in Samoa?
So, you know that you are ready to tie the knot, but the big question is when? For planning the best time to have your wedding in Samoa, you need to consider your ideal weather, the cost of accommodation, the peak tourist season and more.
The Best Time for a Samoa Wedding
Samoa has two distinct seasons known as the dry season and the wet season. The dry season is the most popular time for couples to get married in Samoa, with less chance of downpours to spoil your outside feet-in-the-sand wedding ceremony. However, that doesn’t mean that the wet season has constant rain, so some couples might be willing to take the chance in the wet season in exchange for hugely discounted wedding and honeymoon accommodation rates. We consider the best months for a wedding in Samoa to be September and November.
Jump into this subject in more detail in The Best Time to Visit Samoa: A Month-by-Month Guide.
When to Arrive in Samoa for Your Wedding
For most couples from overseas getting married in Samoa, arriving three days before your wedding day gives you enough time to settle into your accommodation, meet with your wedding coordinator, possibly do a rehearsal, and relax before your big day.
On the other hand, if you want to apply for the Marriage License in person, you may want to arrive in Samoa 10+ days before your wedding day. This gives you enough time to settle into your accommodation, visit the registry office in Apia, and finetune any other things before the big day. Note that the registry office is closed on weekends and public holidays, so you will need to take this into account when planning what day to arrive in Samoa.
Find out more in What are the Marriage Requirements in Samoa? or scroll down to “Making Your Marriage in Samoa Legal” to learn more about the Marriage License.
Where to Get Married in Samoa: Upolu
Upolu is the main island of Samoa. It is the island where you will arrive, as it is home to the nation’s only international airport. With that, Upolu is certainly the most cost-effective option for your island wedding, especially if you are coming with friends and family. Learn more about budgeting for a Samoa wedding in the “How Much Does it Cost to Get Married in Samoa?” section below.
Getting married on Upolu means that you have a good blend of gorgeous white sand beaches, tropical gardens, waterfalls, uninhabited islands and clifftops for your venue, as well as the convenience of shops, wedding services (like photographers, beauticians, etc.) and restaurants of the nation’s capital Apia. Compare the island with other islands further using our guide, The Best Islands to Visit in Samoa.
Wedding Resorts and Coordinators on Upolu
Upolu is home to the widest array of resorts offering wedding services, wedding planners and venues. Some of the best wedding resorts and wedding planners on Upolu include:
- Seabreeze Resort
- Return to Paradise Resort & Spa
- Saletoga Sands Resort & Spa
- Coconuts Beach Club Resort & Spa
- Le Vasa Resort
- Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa
- Sheraton Samoa Beach Resort
- Aga Reef Resort
- Taufua Beach Fales
Wedding Resorts and Coordinators in Apia
Including the capital, Apia, there are a lot more wedding resorts, hotels and coordinators to choose from, including:
- Taumeasina Island Resort
- Orator Hotel Samoa
- Tanoa Tusitala Hotel
- Le Manumea Hotel
- Samoa Tradition Resort
- Manumailagi Garden
- Robert Louis Stevenson Museum
- Travellers Point Hotel
- Moanalisa Hotel
- Lava Hotel
More details on each venue can be found in the 10 Best Wedding Venues in Apia.
Where to Get Married in Samoa: Savai’i
Savai’i is Samoa’s largest island but much less populated, providing a serene atmosphere and a slower pace of life. The island is only a 60-90-minute ferry journey from Upolu, with the wharf only moments from Samoa’s international airport. However, the island has far few options when it comes to wedding resorts, planners and services compared to Upolu, therefore, it’s not quite as easy to plan a bespoke wedding.
Nevertheless, Savai’i could provide the perfect setting for couples who want to elope or have a more intimate ceremony.
Venues on Savai’i could come in the form of waterfalls, white sand beaches, lava fields or resorts with their very own wedding aisle stretching across the lagoon. Resorts here take fewer guest numbers compared to Upolu, but the intimacy of the setting combined with an unspoiled and less-touristy vibe might be just what some couples are looking for.
For more Upolu and Savai’i comparisons, check out Which is Better, Upolu or Savai’i?
Wedding Resorts and Coordinators on Savai’i
Savai’i has a handful of resorts with wedding planners to help coordinate an idyllic wedding across resort and beach venues. Some of the best wedding resorts and wedding planners on Savai’i include:
Find out more about Savai’i’s best wedding resorts and planners in the 5 Best Wedding Venues on Savai’i.
About Wedding Packages in Samoa
Samoa’s resorts and wedding planners make planning a wedding extremely easy thanks to their wedding packages. Around a third of the resorts in Samoa offer some sort of wedding package, from structured packages, should you want the wedding experts to give you inspiration, to bespoke packages, so you can pick and choose the features you want to make the wedding right for you.
What Do Wedding Packages Include?
While resort venues all have their unique charms, most wedding packages offer very similar things. Typical features to expect in a Samoa wedding package include:
- A wedding coordinator
- Help with the Marriage License
- A decorated wedding ceremony venue
- A celebrant or minister with witnesses
- Bouquet or garland for the bride
- Buttonhole or garland for the groom
- A bottle of sparkling wine for the ceremony toast.
The following features are additions you can usually add to your wedding package:
- Wedding cake
- Canapés to accompany the wedding toast
- Traditional paopao (canoe) entrance with a warrior escort
- String band
- Siva dance troupe
- Floral turndown in your room
- A private candlelit dinner for two
- Couples massage
- A decorated wedding reception venue
- Wedding reception food and beverage
- Beauticians and hair stylists.
And the list goes on and on! Check out some examples of the wedding packages featured in the 10 Best Wedding Packages in Samoa.
Making Your Marriage in Samoa Legal
To legally get married in Samoa, you need to get a Marriage License, called the “Intent to Marry“. Couples can either apply for this in person at the registry office, which is at the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration building in Apia or this can be arranged with your wedding coordinator or by contacting the Justice Department from overseas. Either way, you must file for your Marriage License at least 10 days before your wedding day (but no more than three months). You’ll both need your original or certified passport, birth certificate, and any other relevant papers, such as divorce papers or a death certificate of a spouse. You’ll also need a “Certificate of No Impediment to Get Married” from your country of origin.
If you are having your wedding in Samoa with a wedding package, then your wedding coordinator will also organise for you to get an Apostille Certificate to legalise your Marriage Certificate so it is internationally recognised once solemnised.
Learn more about the legalities of getting married in Samoa in our complete guide, What are the Marriage Requirements in Samoa?
How Much Does it Cost to Get Married in Samoa?
Weddings in Samoa vary in cost depending on whether you’re eloping or bringing the whole tribe for a wedding reception. As weddings abroad tend to involve only your nearest and dearest, we usually find that weddings in Samoa are a little more affordable than having extravagant weddings at home.
Here are some typical wedding costs in Samoa. Note that prices are approximate and that different wedding packages include different things, like accommodation for the bride and groom, while some don’t. Therefore, we highly recommend taking the time to compare packages.
- Elopement wedding package (wedding with just the bride and groom) – ST$2,500-$4,000
- Wedding & reception package for up to 25 guests – ST$11,400-$18,400
- Wedding & reception package for up to 100 guests – ST$25,500-$29,500
Of course, if your wedding package doesn’t include the couples’ accommodation and other activities you might like to do, then you’ll need to factor these costs into your budget. Take a look at The Cost of Renting a Car in Samoa: Full Car Rental Cost Breakdown for other typical costs associated with a trip to Samoa.
Remember that you’ll also want to factor in costs like the wedding dress, rings, etc. which you’ll usually want to bring with you to Samoa.
What to Do on Your Honeymoon
The great thing about getting married in Samoa is that you’re already at your honeymoon destination! With that, there’s a spectacular range of romantic activities, accommodations and eateries for couples to enjoy. Discover honeymoon experiences in the 20 Most Romantic Things to Do in Samoa for Couples. Luckily, we have entire guides on how to enjoy a honeymoon in each of Samoa’s most romantic destinations, so take a look at the guides below for inspiration:
- The Wedding, Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to Upolu
- The Wedding, Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to Apia
- The Wedding, Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to Savai’i
Finally, plan your whole trip to Samoa from what to pack to getting around and more using The Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to Samoa.
More About Planning a Wedding in Samoa
That’s it for our complete guide to planning a wedding in Samoa. For more wedding tips, be sure to check out How to Pick the Best Wedding & Honeymoon Accommodation in Samoa and the 20 Most Romantic Honeymoon Accommodations in Samoa. Otherwise, here are some itineraries to inspire your honeymoon:
- Samoa Honeymoon & Romance Itinerary: 3 Days
- Samoa Honeymoon & Romance Itinerary: 5 Days
- Samoa Honeymoon & Romance Itinerary: 7 Days
- Samoa Honeymoon & Romance Itinerary: 10 Days
- Samoa Honeymoon & Romance Itinerary: 14 Days
Finally, if there’s anything that we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to Samoa.