Wedding Planner New Caledonia

  • Destination weddings in New Caledonia

    Can’t decide between a honeymoon in tropical paradise, or in the beautiful sun of the French Riviera? Why not have both – just a short flight from Australia?

    With its tropical vibe and French sophistication, New Caledonia is paradise just over 3 hours flight time from Melbourne in the South Pacific. With white sand beaches, the world’s largest lagoon and second longest coral reef teeming with sea life, this idyllic destination is fast becoming a popular choice for wedding locations and honeymoon destinations out of Australia.

    Many visitors from Australia make their first visit to the capital Noumea on a brief visit via cruise ship and assume that’s all there is, but there is so much more to discover about New Caledonia that simply cannot be packed in to such a short pit stop of only a few hours.

    In 1999 I worked for P&O on board the Fair Princess cruise ship (in the perfume shop!) and enjoyed regular weekly trips to Noumea, Lifou, Isle of Pines and Mare. During this time I developed a passion for New Cal, so much so that I ended up honeymooning there myself, treating my husband to island tours, snorkelling and too many French culinary delights, but also learning much more about about the local culture and economy. Away from the cruise port, be prepared to experience a spectacular, busy, bustling town in Noumea that is not reliant on tourism for survival as New Caledonia sits on one of the biggest Nickel deposits in the world. So the locals work hard, and know how to wind down in style…

    The first thing you notice when flying in – apart from the brilliant turquoise blue lagoons – is that when you get to La Tontouta Airport, you have landed – in France. The tricolor flag is ubiquitous, signs are in French, and Customs officials are chatting away in French. Don’t be daunted though! All you need to do is attempt “Bon jour” in an Australian accent and they will soon switch to English.

    If heading south to Noumea, be prepared to soak in some spectacular scenery as the road cuts through stunning hills (a little disconcerting driving on the other side of the road), before widening out to a decent sized freeway as you approach the city. It might seem large for a city of about 100,000 people, but many locals choose to live in the countryside and commute to work.

    Baie de Citron courtesy of Expedia

    On settling in to the hotel during our honeymoon, we decided to explore the nearby Baie de Citron (Lemon Bay); after a short wander, we quickly plumped for La Barca where we were blown away by the tapas style bar and live music! French/Mediterranean bar style food abounds – pizza, pasta etc, and plenty of dishes with a Pacific twist, such as nachos with a tuna and tomato salsa. Another favourite in this strip is nearby Lemon Bay Cafe but there is plenty to choose from and it’s hard to go wrong.

    We also took advantage of the dining close to the major hotels in the Anse Vata Beach area, which ranges from fine French cuisine (Le Roof – where the dolphins might also put on a show!) to Japanese to hotel restaurants, and a great gelati bar to finish off. There are also nice boutiques worth looking at all along the strip and under the Hilton Hotel complex, and the booking office for the Amedee Isle Lighthouse boat trip aboard the Mary D is located here.


    The centre of town also has great bars and street food, where you can pick up crepes or a baguette on the go – we don’t realise in Australia just how good REAL French baguettes are! Because New Caledonia is still a protectorate of France, many varieties of food and wine are sourced from there and while you have an overwhelming feeling of being immersed in French culture, there is a strong indigenous Melanesian culture and Pacific influence too.

    Service and hospitality is much more relaxed and friendly than in France, with English widely spoken in tourist areas and a strong Melanesian island vibe, and most venues have a casual outdoorsy feel; accommodation options run from self-contained five star resorts that in theory you never have to leave, right through to fully furnished apartment-style living where you can design your own independent holiday.

    Some of the best things to see and do are:

    Car tour of Noumea – especially if you are planning to explore the sights and sounds of the capital, a driving tour with a local guide is a good way to get your bearings. Noumea is surprisingly large and there are many different pockets and precincts where you’ll want to spend more time, including Anse Vata, Bay de Citron, the Latin Quarter, and more.

    Amedee Lighthouse

    Day trip to Amedee Lighthouse – take a pleasant morning boat ride on the Mary D to Amedee Island, with a local Melanesian inspired lunch and cultural show included in the fare, as well as a glass bottomed boat ride over the coral reef; then doze off in a deck chair on the beach or go snorkelling on the reef, all in the shadow of the spectacular lighthouse – one of the tallest in the world, shipped out from France in pieces and assembled in 1865.

    Isle of Pines © Marine Reveilhac / NCTPS

    Day trip or stay at Ile de Pins (Isle of Pines) – take a domestic flight or high speed catamaran ferry and stay at one of several resorts, enjoy rambling walks seeing remains of the French penal colony, and swim at one of the world’s most spectacular beaches – Oro Bay. Hire a car and drive into the country – just remember to stay on the right! The mountainous interior of the main island moves from tropical jungle to beef farms, with many quaint villages along the way full of authentic creperies and restaurants; work your way up to the brilliant golf course at the Sheraton Deva Spa and Golf Resort, or venture further to the east coast and take in a local rodeo.

    Just visit the supermarket! In all seriousness – the French take their food, cheese and wine very seriously. Buy a baguette, basics, and a selection of cheese and wine, and live like a local. We have nothing like this in Australia, and it is spectacular. My personal favourite is Geant Casino hypermarche.

    Le Roof, Noumea

    No trip to Noumea is complete without feasting on fine Pacific-inspired French cuisine at Le Roof – including those dolphins from time to time, chasing flying fish under the balcony! Duck into Bodega as you leave for a nightcap and if you’re lucky, one of Noumea’s top DJ’s Janice will be on the decks.


  • Getting married in New Caledonia

    Baie d’Oro

    Where else could it be more romantic to be on married on a idyllic Pacific island ?

    Darling Don’t Panic now offers the possibility to organise your civil wedding ceremony in the City Hall of Nouméa and be legally married in New Caledonia. In addition to our regular planning inclusions, we can also handle all the paperwork required for the legalisation of your marriage performed in New Caledonia

    Jac Bowie (owner of Darling Don’t Panic and our Head Wedding Planner) is a certified travel specialist from the Nouvelle Caledonie Tourism board and is at your disposal to inform and customise with you your wedding in New Caledonia, not only able to guide you on decisions for your ceremony & reception, but also where to stay, activities and all other travel arrangements.

    Jac Works closely with our preferred travel agent to co-ordinate your travel itinerary and plans so your destination wedding is a seamless experience not only for you and your fiancé, but any other guests making the journey to attend.

    Jac has a wealth of local knowledge when it comes to choosing the right suppliers, locations and styles for your event.


    Compulsory conditions to be met by both spouses for the organisation of the civil marriage

    • Be single, widowed, or divorced
    • Be of opposite sex (transsexual excluded)
    • Be 18 years of age or more on the wedding day
    • Not be related
    • Show proof of Citizenship: a copy of the valid passport is requested (dual nationality is acceptable except in the case of French citizenship of one of the two spouses. In this situation, the requirement of a minimum 1 month residency in New Caledonia  prior to the wedding remains applicable)
    • Witnesses accompanying the spouses can be either of French or other nationality. To be legally married in New Caledonia it will be necessary for the bride & the groom to reserve at the latest 180 days prior to their weeding day and to submit the following documents at the latest 90 days prior their weeding day

    Requested Documents:

    • A Certificate of Birth
    • A Custom Certificate and Certificate of Celibacy
    • If divorced: Final Decree of Divorce
    • If widower/widow: Death Certificate
    • If the future spouses wish to have a marriage contract, they will have to establish a Pre-Nuptial Agreement

    All these documents must be fully translated into French by a sworn translator.

    As your Wedding Planner, we shall assist and guide you in collecting the above legal documents.

    For more information, you can contact Jac on 

    Photos by @ayance NCTC

  • Destination Honeymoon: A Planning Cheat-Sheet

    Are you overwhelmed with wedding preparations? Follow these easy steps and planning your honeymoon will be a breeze!

    Scouting locations, purchasing décor, contacting vendors, working on your design scheme, making a seating plan, writing your vows, sending out invitations, buying gifts for the bridal party… The list of wedding planning tasks goes on and on and you barely have time to even think about your honeymoon. Don’t worry, if you start with the preparations early enough and take one step at a time, it will be an easy job!

    Honeymoon Planning Timeline

    To take the stress out of planning, you need to be organised. It is never too early to start thinking about your trip, especially if you don’t have a clear idea where you want to go. Begin by creating a planning timeline and make sure you stick to it. The key is to have everything booked and all the documents sorted well before the most hectic period of wedding preparations commences.
    6 Months Prior

    • Do your research and gather information on various destinations
    • Decide on the budget
    • Find a travel agent

    3 Months Prior

    • Have all your documents ready
    • Book a flight
    • Book accommodation
    • Arrange transfers

    1 Month Prior

    • Buy everything you need for the journey
    • Create your honeymoon itinerary
    • Purchase travel insurance

    1 Week Prior

    • Exchange cash if you are travelling to another country
    • Get informed on the weather at your destination
    • Make final purchases
    • Pack your bags
    • Prepare your documents

    How to Set the Budget?

    Divide your honeymoon costs into different categories as this will make your job much easier. You will need to cover the transport, accommodation, meals, sightseeing, local transfers and shopping. Find out if you can get any discounts if you are travelling as a newly-wed couple and ask which documents you need to show to prove that. Then calculate all the costs to get the idea of how much money you will have to spend.
    If you are on a limited budget, then make sure to get the most of it. You can considerably cut your costs if you look for good all-inclusive deals or consider travelling out of season when there will be fewer tourists anyway.
    Another great advice is to make privacy and comfort one of your main priorities. Island honeymoons are perfect because you will be far away from the hustle and bustle of big cities, surrounded by beautiful nature. There will be things to explore, but there will be no pressure to make complicated itineraries. The Canary Islands is a destination that ticks all the boxes because it offers a really good mix of culture, activities and the newly-wed bliss!
    Choosing a less popular destination that is off-the-beaten-track can also help you maximise your budget. Spend a little more time browsing the internet until you find a hidden gem you can call your own honeymoon paradise. And don’t forget to make a list of the best affordable restaurants and bars in the area!

    How to choose your destination?

    From cosy mountain retreats and romantic cities to remote beaches, uninhabited deserts and wellness retreats, there are so many beautiful places where you can unwind. Of course, there is pressure to make this journey a unique and memorable one. Not to mention that you will be exhausted after the wedding!
    Our best tip is to make a good balance between adventure and a relaxing holiday. Make your journey fun and eventful, do something you have never done before and try new gourmet delicacies, but be a little lazy too!