wedding planner noumea

  • Wedding Planner vs. Wedding Coordinator: Which Do You Need?

    When you hear people talk about “wedding coordinators” or “wedding planners”, you might think the words can be used interchangeably. Surprisingly, that’s not actually the case. While some of their duties overlap, a planner and coordinator play very different roles in the planning process. So, what does each one do and how do you decide what is best for you?

    Wedding Planners

    When you choose to hire a wedding planner, you are typically looking for someone to guide you through the entire planning process from beginning to end. A wedding planner is a great option for someone who wants significant help with attending vendor appointments, contract negotiations, budget management, floor plan layout, and more! They will be on-site the day of your wedding to streamline vendors, move the timeline along as scheduled, and ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible. This is perfect for the bride who doesn’t have much free time to plan or simply wants to take the wedding stress off of their shoulders.

    Wedding Coordinators

    If you want to play an active role in the wedding planning and design process, but want to hand over the final details for someone else to manage on your special day, a wedding coordinator will be perfect for you! You typically meet with a coordinator a few weeks or months prior to your wedding day to go over your vendor list and create a day-of timeline. They will take care of managing the rehearsal and day-of tasks that need attention. At Darling Don’t Panic, we offer day-of wedding coordination as part of your wedding planning package or as a stand-alone offer. 

    How Do You Decide if You Need a Coordinator or a Planner?

    There are many factors that go into whether a planner is right for you, including your budget, whether you are hosting a destination wedding or elopement, and how involved you want to be in the process. Darling Don’t Panic full-service wedding planning, wedding coordination, and more. Visit our Services page to learn more or set up a consultation where we can walk you through which option is best for you!

  • Where to Start When Planning Your Wedding

    Getting engaged is always extremely exciting and most couples spend the first few days after the engagement celebrating and letting friends and family members know about the engagement. These first few days are extremely exciting. However, in no time at all the couple begins to realise the first question friends and family members ask after offering their congratulations is when the wedding will be. This is when the excitement over the engagement begins to wear off and the couple realises they need to start planning their wedding in earnest. However, this can be a very daunting task. As the couple starts to think about everything that is involved in the process of planning a wedding it is very easy to get overwhelmed. However, this does not have to be the case. This article will discuss the process of starting to plan a wedding.

    The first step in the process of planning a wedding is not to panic. It is very easy to get caught up in thinking there is no way you can handle planning a wedding but this is not true. Couples have been planning weddings for years and they are no more organized or more talented than you are. Even if planning events is not your strong suit, I promise you can pull this off. You may need a little more help than some people will need but you can do this.

    The problem most couples have when it comes to planning a wedding is they just don’t know where to start. They start thinking about all of the little details involved and have trouble prioritising the list of tasks they need to complete. The easiest way to solve this problem is to buy a book to assist you in planning your wedding. There are all kinds of books which you may find useful. Most couples really like using wedding planners which include timelines to assist you in the wedding planning process. These are structured like calendars but you can start them at any time of the year and work backwards from your wedding date to determine when you need to accomplish certain tasks. These types of planners let you know how soon before your wedding date each tasks should be accomplished. These planners also provide you with advice on where to begin and which tasks to complete first. Most wedding planners also provide you with areas for taking notes and storing receipts. Other types of books many couples use are more like textbooks and cover everything from creating a budge to etiquette and timelines to assist the couple in the wedding plans and preparations.

    Hiring a wedding planner to assist in the process of planning the wedding is the first step for those couples who feel as though books, websites and advice from family members will not be enough to help them plan their wedding the right way. Hiring a wedding planner can be expensive but if the budget allows for this luxury it can also help to eliminate a great deal of stress for the couple. The wedding planner can not only help to keep the couple organized and on schedule but can also make recommendations for locations and service providers. The wedding planner can also handle negotiations with service providers. This can result in a significant savings for the couple especially if the service providers are in the habit of offering discounts to the wedding planner based on the amount of business she brings to them. In some cases these discounts may even more than offset the price of hiring the wedding planner in the first place.

    Finally, when a couple first begins to start planning a wedding they have to consider whether or not they are open to input from friends and family members. This is important because the couple is likely to receive a great deal of unsolicited advice at this time. They have to decide whether they are open to this type of advice or whether they need to decide on a way to politely decline offers of advice and assistance. This may not sound significant but once the couple begins to get inundated with offers of advice and assistance they will realize how important it is to have a strategy for dealing with this in place.

  • 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!

  • Boho-Chic Wedding Flowers for Free-Spirited Brides

    Your wedding bouquet is an essential part of your bridal look, as it gives you the chance to spice up your style with some colours and show your personality. There are many different types of bouquets, each complementing a different style of wedding. So, if you’re looking for a perfect bouquet for your boho-chic wedding, here are a few suggestions you should consider.

    The paper bouquet

    If you’re into whimsical, more playful side of boho style, consider the paper flower bouquet. Such bouquets are cute, chic, very artistic, and they allow you to express your creativity like no other bouquet. You can even integrate your favourite lyrics, quotes, or novel passages into the bouquet and make it that much more meaningful.

    The succulent bouquet

    If you’re interested in something a bit more alternative and unique, consider adding some succulents. They will give your bouquet an interesting texture, and they are great as central flowers, especially when surrounded by some greenery or simpler herbs. Choosing this type is a great way to add some edge to your bouquet.

    The wool bouquet

    If you’re planning on having your wedding in autumn or winter, the wool bouquet is the type for you. Go for crochet flowers, yarn balls, or pom-poms ‒ you have plenty of choices. Plus, one of the best things about it is that unlike with real flowers, you are not limited by what’s in season, so you can use any colours you want.

    The silk bouquet

    If you’re looking for something artificial that looks as close to the natural bouquets as possible, think about beautiful silk flowers that will surely match your boho-chic style. The silk bouquet can look very lifelike, and it will stay gorgeous all year round. You can also combine it with the button bouquet trend and add a couple of interesting buttons to the wrap for a more fun and less traditional look.

    The feather bouquet

    Feathers match the boho trend perfectly, and you can use them throughout your décor as well. For instance, you can hang dreamcatchers, add feathers to the invitations, and accessorise your menu with a couple of feathers. Just try to use wild feathers in natural colours, and you can combine them with wooden flowers, neutral blooms, and pinecones to emphasise the style.

    The dried flowers bouquet

    Bouquets made of dried flowers are also a great choice for the boho wedding. They are a bit less extravagant than the fresh flower bouquets, which makes them perfect for brides who want something that is not too overpowering. They can still be big and complicated, but they can also be as simple as a bunch of dried rye or lavender.
    There are many unique and amazing bouquet styles for every possible type of wedding. So, think about the theme of your wedding, the colours, and your own personality, and you will surely find the bouquet that will fit you and make your day even more special.

    Young Black Couple Elope in Wales UK
  • Honeymoons and Romantic Getaways in Australia

    Australia is a country that covers 7,686,850 km2 (2,967,910 sq mi), and the length of its coastline is 25,760 km (16,006 miles). Furthermore, it is a country rich with amazing mountains, rainforests and lakes. It also doesn’t lack in beautiful and friendly urban environments, so it is obvious that honeymooners have plenty of places to go. This plenitude of choices at the same time poses a problem. How to choose the best of them all? We can’t pinpoint the best place for you, but we can surely narrow it down to several ones, and make your job much easier.

    The Whitsundays
    The Land Down Under is packed with amazing beach destinations, and Whitsunday Islands are definitely among the best ones for a romantic and exhilarating honeymoon. Of the 74 islands that make up the Whitsundays, only eight of them are inhabited, and while you can stay on one of those eight, you can still go to a desert island and enjoy it with your partner in total privacy. If you are up for a more active honeymoon, you can try snorkelling or scuba diving.

    Not all honeymooners want to spend the time of their lives on a picture-perfect beach. Some of them love the mystery of lush tropical forests, rugged mountains, green landscapes and besotting wildlife. Even though the rest of Australia doesn’t lack in these, Tasmania is the best place to truly satisfy your nature-loving serene getaway thirst. Some of the most fascinating places to visit here are Cradle Mountain, Marrawah, Grindelwald and Wineglass Bay.

    How do you imagine your honeymoon? Do you imagine yourself sipping beautiful wines with your loved one while sitting in a cottage and observing the beautiful sun-covered vineyards? Well, most couples do, because these are inherently romantic scenes everyone would love to be a part of. You can do all that in Barossa, and more. Besides wine tasting, you can try cycling, shopping, picnics, and heritage walk.

    What’s that? Visiting a big city on your honeymoon? No way. But when you think about it, Sydney has it all, from romantic secluded beaches and breathtaking views to gigantic shopping malls and world-class restaurants. However, if you are arriving from far away and you are flying to Australia, it can be a true hassle to get to the hotel from the airport. In that case, you should consider using the benefits of chauffeur airport transfers in Sydney. It’s your honeymoon and you don’t want any stressful situation to ruin your first impression of the most beloved city in Australia.

    Uluru offers one of a fascinating sunset in the world, which makes it an ideal honeymoon destination. Combine that with the legendary rock formation and you will get a picturesque scenery worth remembering. Here you can even spot the black-footed rock-wallaby and red kangaroo. You can choose to stay in the comfort of the resort, or leave that comfort zone and camp out under the stars.

    If you are up for a quiet and awe-worthy honeymoon, you should look no further than the natural wonder – Kimberley. The Tidal Rivers transformed the Kimberley plateau into a true wonderland of phenomenal landscapes, rugged mountains, and photo-worthy gorges and waterfalls. You can enjoy the view from your lodge or truly dive into nature by hiking, cycling and touring the national park. The three must-sees of this destination are the Horizontal Falls, the Mitchell Falls, and Cape Leveque.

    The Great Barrier Reef
    Don’t think we’ve forgotten about this iconic Australian attraction. The Great Barrier Reef is famous for its astonishing beauty. The world’s largest coral reef system is your dream getaway since it offers panoramic views of deep clear blue waters, water activities that include snorkelling and diving, and simple, relaxing time on the pristine white beaches. While here, you can splurge on lavish accommodation and visit Lizard Island, Wilson Island and Dunk Island.
    Not all couples in the world have the same vision of the perfect honeymoon. For some, that is a beach vacation, while for others, that is a wildlife experience. Australia offers something for everyone, so check out these destinations and see where you can picture your loved one and yourself enjoying your first days as a married couple.