BY CHARLES CHAMBERS
Fiji is fast becoming a popular place for visitors to tie the knot.
The beautiful backdrops and reasonable charges make it the place to finally say ?yes? to the person of your dreams.
For the renowned Sofitel? Hotel in Nadi the demand is growing by the year with already 105 weddings already taken place ? and the year has not yet ended.
The wedding arrangements are also offered to locals who want to marry with lavishly prepared scenery and world class reception details to the end.
Sofitel?s Business Development Executive ? Inspired Weddings, Selai Lewaqere said the hotel had received 45 bookings already for 2016.
Mrs Lewaqere said the wedding arrangements also opened doors to local businesses involved in decorations and beautifying of brides.
?All this for very reasonable charges,? Mrs Lewaqere said.
She said one such local company Grace Creations is heavily involved with the wedding decorations at Sofitel and this included special themes requested by those getting married.
?I have been at Sofitel for the past six years and the ever increasing demand shows from where we started off with just 45 weddings in 2009,? she said.
For Sofitel, the importance of the ?the big day? is kept special for couples in that the hotel only allows one wedding a day.
?We have done this because Sofitel feels is that those getting married would like to have that special day to be theirs alone,? she said.
?What we have read from feedbacks of two or more weddings being held at the same resort or hotel in one day is not good,? she said.
?It?s your special and you do not want to share it at the same venue and around the same time with others also getting married,? she said.
Sofitel?s popularity in as far as wedding venues goes is highlighted by the fact that different nationalities have come to wed there.
Mrs Lewaqere said they have already catered for weddings from Egypt and Sudan and there is a growing interest from China.
?We have already staged a mock wedding for Chinese suppliers and this included them being educated on local products and attire used during the weddings,? she said.
?We also arranged for pastors or priests for the couples depending on their religions,? she said.
She said the hotel received certain requests by couples included the bride arriving via sky diving or the groom attending his wedding on a jet ski.
Sofitel also ensures that weddings cater for families attending and thus their rooms are suited to cater for such needs.
For the food at the reception, the hotel makes the wedding cakes to ones specifications but they also provide couples the opportunity to pick from wedding cakes baked by local suppliers.
?However we provide all the food so no food is allowed to be brought into the hotel for weddings as we are strict on contamination,? she said.