The wedding having commenced with a Civil Marriage at the Town Hall would be celebrated in a spectacular & emotion charged Traditional Tahitan Wedding in a truly stunning location.
In a seamless transition we glided from the Town Hall by catamaran over the turquoise blue waters of every hue for which Bora Bora is world famous – Moana meaning ocean or sea in Tahitian & appropriately the name of the bride. Our destination an indescibably beautiful setting on the coral fringe that surrounds Bora Bora overlooked by Mt Otemanu, where legend holds god descended atop a rainbow on the land of the gods – Bora Bora.
More than seventy guests, a twenty strong dance group & traditional orchestra & the tahua (priest) with his assistants awaited the bride & groom as well as the sixty odd other guests arriving by catamaran. All were here to celebrate what would be Bora Bora’s biggest ever wedding, to participate in the Traditional Tahitian Wedding & feast. A private motu (atoll) with powder white sands fronting the world’s most beautiful lagoon awaited those who had come from every corner of the globe.
Just check it out ……………. & this was a cloudy day!:
Words can’t describe an event such as this; I’ll let the photos try:
The bride & groom will descend from the catamaran, a vessel significantly invented by Polynesians thousands of years before. The tahua, clad in red & yellow – the sacred colours of royalty – uses the pu (conch shell) in a tradition that dates back several thousands of years to call upon the divine, to call down the ancestors & to welcome the bride & groom:
The flower girls are first to descend followed by other members of the bridal party before the bride & groom make their entry:
To one side musicians played traditional drums, ukuleles & guitars singing traditional songs celebrating the story of eternal love.
The tahua leads the couple to where the ceremony will take place. There’s a sacred protocol followed in the blowing of the pu; here blown in the 4 directions of the earth & as a call to the elements of earth, sea, air & fire:
No stress or panic here:
There are 3 essential elements in a Tahitian Traditional Wedding: The auti, the plant sacred to Tahitians. Water – taken from the ocean (moana), the greatest temple on earth. Tiare Tahiti – the wonderfully perfumed flower which symbolises harmony & the sharing of all things.
In recognition of the marriage being sacred, the wedding is first blessed using auti:
The sacred bond, the union of the two, is recognised by the tying of a strip taken from the back of the auti leaf which will call in good & protect the couple against evil. In ancient times Tahitians would tie the strips to the entrance to their fares (homes) to protect their privacy:
The water marks the purification of the wedding:
The exchange of Tiare Tahiti – the leis have been given to the groom by the parents of the bride as a sign of his having been welcomed into the family as one with other family members. The Tiare Tahiti is the symbol of the love for one another:
The exchange of vows – a moment charged with emotion “off the Richter Scale” for all present but particularly, as the photos show, for those making the commitment. That the man was still ‘head of the household’ brought a grin to the face of some:
A very, very deep breath……..for all!
Married as Tahitian tradition would have it:
The exchange of rings flows from western traditions:
The couple are then wrapped in a tifaifai; red signifying royalty & love, being wrapped together to signify their union; the union given the benediction of the tahua:
Members of the family would then wrap the couple in a second tifaifai, blue to signify moana – the ocean, the sea. Another moment of great emotion:
It is a tradition in such marriages to be given wedding names. Finding the names is a complex issue involving copious research into the fundamental genealogies of those to be married from which the origins of maraes (temples) & the rights to carry certain titles flow. In tracing to Taaroa Tahi Tumu de Vaearai, Ofai Honu & Marotetini – the 3 founding lineages – the couple were given the names Tane & Vahine Te Moana Rau Tehea Nohomarae O Marotetini.
The names are recorded on tapa & the document given to the couple during the ceremony:
The ceremony over it’s time to celebrate, to take a photo with tahua, & one big ‘family’ photo:
Mrs Moana Torr:
Mr & Mrs Daniel Torr:
Nothing short of sensational!
Maa Tahiti – the Traditional Tahitian Feast – would follow together with much tamure – traditional Tahitian dancing to celebrate a major, notable event. (Report of the feast can be found separately on this site).