Last week was one of the biggest events in the recent history of the Kingdom, the royal wedding! HRH Crown Prince Tupouto'a Ulukalala and Hon. Sinaitakala Fakafanua married last Thursday at the Centenary Church in Nuku'alofa. The couple followed the Tongan tradition of marrying within the royal family although they are second cousins. This created some controversy surrounding the wedding, but overall it was a beautiful event.
There were many different events scheduled as part of the wedding festivities. The first was a ball at the Dateline hotel in Nuku'alofa. Despite my best efforts, I was unable to get an invitation. However, I was able to attend the ma'utohi ceremony at the palace on Tuesday. On this day the couple signed their legal marriage license. My choir sang at the event and we were invited to stay for the luncheon. The lunch was a three-course meal, with the main course being steak. Steak and wine at the palace? I'll take it! There were also several Tongan dances, my favorite being the lakalaka from Vava'u.
The main event was on Thursday afternoon. Colorfully attired guests filled the church in anxious anticipation of the bride and groom. As per usual in Tonga, the ceremony started a half an hour late. When bride finally arrived she made a beautiful entrance. The wedding party wore palangi-style dresses and tuxedos and the ceremony was exactly like weddings I have attended in America, minus the fact that it was in Tongan. The following reception hosted about 2,000 people on the palace grounds.
Friday night was another ball (still no invite...I need to make friends with some royals) and Sunday was the final day of the wedding week. The couple attended their first church service as husband and wife, which is a very important part of Tongan weddings, sometimes more important than the wedding itself. There was one last feast, and that concluded the festivities. Congratulations to the Prince and Princess!