Couple have traditional wedding service on the beach at Sinalei Reef Resort and Spa on Upolu in Samoa
Sinalei Reef Resort and Spa, Upolu

Getting married in Samoa

wherever you choose to say “I do” in tropical Samoa, it's guaranteed to be magical.

Saying your vows on a white sand beach under waving palm trees, eloping together to wed at a dramatic waterfall or doing it traditional in a church – the choice is yours.

So how difficult is it to plan your dream wedding from afar without leaving a single thing to chance?

Not difficult at all, if you follow these simple suggestions.

Resort wedding

Many Samoan resorts and venues are well-versed in hosting beautiful tropical island weddings for visitors, so why not plug into their extensive knowledge, facilities and services to make it all easy and relaxed?

Not only do these venues offer a full wedding planner service, which will cater to every detail, from the flowers to the marriage licence, but it means you have the option of including accommodation for you and your guests.

Research which location you most like and find out if the corresponding resort has the services that suit you and your wedding plans best. Don’t fear that you’ll be tied to a “one size fits all” wedding: Most resorts offer personalised, bespoke packages to perfectly match what you envision of your special day.

Who knows, you may like it so much that you stay there for your honeymoon too.

Hire a wedding planner

Do you fancy a wedding on a beach or by a waterfall away from a resort, but still want someone with local knowledge to help plan your wedding?

The best idea is to find a local wedding planner and work together to create a bespoke event that perfectly matches what you had in mind. If you’re short on time or inspiration, a local wedding coordinator can gather all the information you need to make easy decisions, or you can leave it entirely up to them.

If you can’t locate a local, a number of New Zealand and Australia-based tour companies also offer wedding coordination as part of their services.

Plan your own

There is nothing stopping you from planning the entire wedding yourself, as long as you don’t mind doing a bit of research.

The easiest place to start is online, which can help locate the local services that you’ll need for your special day.

Once you’ve done that, perhaps you’ll need a research trip to Samoa to settle all the details – there’s certainly worse things than spending a few days on a tropical island planning the day of your dreams.

Keeping it small, or eloping?

What’s more romantic than eloping to a tropical island together to say your vows on a dramatic cliff top overlooking the Pacific Ocean, at the beach, or next to a beautiful waterfall? Not much, surely.

While traditional Samoan weddings are grand, day-long events that people love to attend, your wedding can be as small or large as you like.

Are you planning a private ceremony with only close family, or even just yourselves? All you need to do is find a celebrant and ensure the paperwork for your marriage licence is in order, pack your bags and plan an exquisite honeymoon.

Remember, Samoans love a wedding

Injecting a touch of Samoan tradition into your wedding makes perfect sense when you are holding the ceremony in this beautiful Pacific island. After all, the Samoan people know how to do a wedding, and do it well.

What touches of culture and tradition could you add to your day?
  • A traditional lavalava for the groom and groomsmen (and any guests who wish to join in).
  • Heaps and heaps of food. Samoans are all about family, and that means there’s likely to be more than one cake at every wedding to ensure everyone gets a slice.
  • A traditional umu meal. An umu is an above-ground stone oven.
  • Traditional songs or drumming.
  • A customary pale or headdress for the bride or a floral necklace (ula) for the groom.
  • Samoan dance.
  • The beach - for part or all over your ceremony.
Yes, there's paperwork

Marriages in Samoa are recognised legally worldwide.

Application forms for a marriage licence must be filed 10 days (but no more than 3 months) before the wedding day with the Justice Department in Apia. 

You will be required to provide a photocopy of your passport, birth certificates, death certificate (of past spouses) or a copy of the Decree Absolute if divorced, and a Certificate of No Impediment to Get Married (from your country of origin).

Obtaining a wedding certificate

For a wedding certificate in Samoa, apply directly to the Ministry of Justice in Apia:

Phone: + 685 22671

Email

To obtain all necessary documents, such as your Certificate of No Impediment to Get Married, contact the relevant government agency in your home country.

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