FOUR years and three months after courting, 26-year old Meli Biu Tuifagalele of Mualevu in Vanuabalavu, Lau finally married the love of his life, Salote Buli Vulaono on May 4, 2012 at the Centenary Church in Suva.
Salote of Keteira village in Moala island in the Lau group is the second eldest daughter of Saula and Amelia Vulaono and sister to Sera (Tela), Aminiasi and Maika Vulaono.
Salote is an accountant for Textbook Wholesalers.
Meli teachers English Language at Lelean Memorial School.
Meli met Salote four years ago during a night out in town through her friend Joji, who also happens to be Meli's best buddy and best man.
After a long night, Meli offered to drop Salote home and casually asked her out on a date, which she just said yes to, so she could get rid of him.
"I had to say yes because he was so loud and might wake my parents up, but he didn't take my number and I never thought he would call," said Salote.
Waking up with a big hangover, still thinking of the lovely girl he dropped home that night, Meli realised that he didn't get her number.
"But I could remember her surname, which was Vulaono and I think I dropped her at Delainavesi because the LDS church's golden angel was my beacon home to Samabula, so thanks to Mr. Yellow pages directory
I found her number," Meli said.
Salote said her best friend, Maggie, and sister Tela have always been there for her during her courtship with Meli.
"At times I would use Tela's name as an excuse to meet Meli, but Maggie's name always worked wonders for serious excuses at home," she laughs.
Following a series of romantic dates, drunken nights, grog sessions, family disagreements and lunches, Meli finally proposed to Salote.
Salote said she accepted through tears, laughter, slight nervousness and excitement when Meli popped the question.
"We decided it was time to tie the knot, we had spent enough time together and apart! And I can't live without Lote," said Meli.
"And there is no one else more loving, caring and irritating like Meli," added Salote.
Then came the wedding plans. Both Salote and Meli come from an army of women from their parents side, being of Tongan, Vanuabalavu, Moala, Kabara, Totoya and Lauan roots. The women on both sides are super mamas with a mission to organise.
The planning was intense with the number of people to invite and how much food to prepare, which family members to invite, where would be an appropriate venue for the reception, and organising the Methodist church service. And more importantly, how much will be spent to ensure they showed good face to friends and family.
This is what they came up with: The venue: Conference centre at Studio Six; Bridal party: Sera Vulaono and best friend Maggie; Groomsmen: Joji (best man) and Fenton Lutunatabua; Decor: Meme, Eta, Adi, Gade, Olly, Tela, Meli's sister-in-law and sister; Hair: Lina Tagicakibau; Make-up: Epeli Tuibeqa; Reception dress: Epeli Tuibeqa
Wedding gown: Muwapai's Creation (Salote); Gafigafi from Tonga (Meli); The food: lovo from both families and a range of other local foods; The wed
ding program: The nuptials at Centenary Church in Suva to the "Tevutevu, Kana vata and i biu" at Samabula.
The reception brought together the families and friends of both families.
The couple spent their one week honeymoon at the Radisson Hotel in Nadi.
Aasked how married life was so far, the couple were in great spirits.
"We love every bit of it, we know it will be challenging and will have ups and downs, but like we vowed, "Till death do us part." Marriage is a commitment that we've made in God's eyes that no man will break," said the Tuifagalele's.
"And I thank the Mr and Mrs Vulaono for my lovely wife," added Meli.