Samoa is where it all started for newly wedded couple Samantha Kooiman Lautala and Popea Lautala from Sydney, Australia.
They met five years ago at Coconuts Beach Resort when Samantha visited to celebrate her 21st birthday with her friends.
“I thought I would never see him again but he surprised me,” she said.
“Three months later, he flew to New Zealand and we just went back and forth from there to Samoa. Eventually I moved to New Zealand with him and got engaged last year”
Last Saturday, they decided to tie the knot.
The couple arrived with 56 family members for the wedding celebration and are currently staying at Taumeasina Island Resort.
Mrs. Lautala has been to Samoa at least ten times and has grown to love it.
“I love the culture here and that is part of the reason why I love Samoa,” she said.
So much so they incorporated Samoan food, entertainment and culture into their wedding reception.
With family they toured the islands and visited the Piula caves, To Sua trench, Lalomanu Beach and Togitogiga waterfalls.
They were looking forward to visiting Savai’i when ferries were cancelled due to the bad weather.
Instead they visited Popea’s family at Matautu. They were also looking to visit Return to Paradise Resort at Lefaga where they will continue to hang out with family and celebrate Samantha’s upcoming birthday.
“We go to church on Sunday and have lunch with the family. But also next week Monday to celebrate my 26 birthday,” she said.
Several reasons for their visit only added to Lautala’s memorable moments.
Mr. and Mrs. Lautala will be heading back to Sydney Tuesday next week and promised more visits to Samoa.
“We love it here and are excited to visit again for the holidays to be with families and friends.”