WHAT started out as a mere internet friendship soon blossomed into a lifetime of love for newlyweds Seforana Kauata and his bride Lesi Vakacagicagi who tied the knot on August 17 at the Dudley Church in Toorak.
The lovebirds exchanged their wedding vows in front of Reverend William Lucas, adding their decision to marry in the church was a blessing in disguise.
"We chose to marry there so that we could get our blessings from God the Almighty as well as our relatives," Lesi said recalling her big day.
"Marriage is a bond that brings us together to start a new chapter in life. For me, it is a formal union of a man and a woman.
"We got to know each other on the internet then became friends for two years. We continued our friendship and relationship for another year before taking this big step."
It had become a journey of discovery for the couple who comes from two different cultures - Seforana hails from Rotuma while Lesi is a Lauan maid.
Considering the cultural barriers, Lesi says it didn't take long for both to adapt to each other's lifestyles.
"It was a bit more complicated before but now everything is perfect; we understand each other a lot better and we understand each other's culture," she says.
"I believe it's important to get to know your spouse a lot better before taking that step to get married. It's not something you'd want to rush into if you're not ready or fully committed."
A man of very little words, Seforana speaks highly of his wife adding her outgoing personality and strength of character caught his attention.
"She's very hardworking, loving, caring and kind. She's very open-minded and beautiful of course!" he exclaimed.
Returning the compliments, Lesi says her husband's humility among other qualities made her feel safe and loved.
"I love that he's trustworthy, caring, kind and very loving - and I can't wait to go on this journey with him as husband and wife."
Lesi's best friend and school mate Asena Drauna was her matron of honour while Seforana's younger brother, Colin Alfred was honoured with the best man title. There are some weddings that go over and beyond to make the day a special one - but simplicity was the order of the day for Seforana and Lesi.
"Our wedding attire was made from where we're from. My husband's was made from Rotuma while mine was from Lau. We budgeted around $8000 - everything nowadays are really expensive," Lesi says.
"But it was all worth it and we would like to thank God for his guidance our lives and for being the biggest provider on our big day - a big vinaka vakalevu to our different families in Lautoka and Suva as well as our relatives from Malha'a, Rotuma and Vanuavatu in Lau - not forgetting our friends and extended family who were there to witness our love and union."
And the ecstatic bride had one last announcement for everyone - "Hooray, I'm two months pregnant now and we're really looking forward to our newborn."
The wedding reception was held at the QVS club house in Toorak followed by the Rotuman traditional 'ofiag sope' - ceremonial cutting of bridal couple's hair. Lesi's family also performed the Fijian tevutevu before the merrymakings began.