Destination Wedding ThailandWords by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Aidan Dockery Wedding Photography
Here at Destination I Do, we interview countless destination wedding couples and it’s always a treat when a couple really has personality and great advice for other couples. Ann and Rob are one such duo and chose to host their dream destination wedding nuptials in Koh Samui, Thailand. After attending a friend’s 400-person wedding and witnessing the bride introducing herself for the first time to some guests, the couple knew they wanted something different. “There is nothing wrong with a big celebration, but it just wasn’t for us,” says the bride. “Instead, we envisioned our day smaller and more intimate – we wanted to be surrounded by just our closest friends and family.”
Ironically, the couple lives in a popular destination wedding location already: Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Since this beautiful place is home for them, they really wanted a change of scenery for their wedding. “One of the best things about a destination wedding is being able to knock-out the honeymoon with the wedding – kind of a 2-for-1 travel special,” says the bride. “Since we are fortunate enough to already live in a tropical beach location, we wanted our travels to provide a different landscape and cultural experience…that and we’re suckers for good street foot and Pad Thai!”
Ann and Rob were very tactical when it came to deciding on their destination wedding location: “We made a list of absolute, ‘must-have’ people for our big day which included both our parents and our best friends. Before we made a final decision, we got a feel from these individuals as to whether they would be able to make it to the wedding, as ultimately, their answers would have an effect on our final decision.
“Luckily, everyone confirmed ‘yes’ and that Thailand was actually either their favorite destination or on their bucket list of destinations. We had plenty of other friends and family who thought we were crazy for picking our destination, and of course many wouldn’t be able to attend, but we figured as long as we had our core group with us, anyone else able to attend would be an added bonus.”
In the end, the couple had 20 guests attend their Thai destination wedding. Not surprisingly, the couple put a lot of thought into choosing their venue. “It was really important for us to pick a [villa] that not only would serve as the location for our wedding, but also as a ‘base camp’ location that everyone could gather and really relax and have a good time,” says Ann. “We envisioned a place that everyone could make themselves feel at home and come together for BBQ-ing, hanging out by the pool, playing games, watching movies, relaxing, meeting new people and catching up with old friends and family.”
When it came to planning their flawless nuptials, the bride had help from Dream Catchers Events and good ol’ technology. “I’d like to give a shout-out to modern day technology, my computer, Paypal and the Worldwide Web. Without you, none of this would have been possible! In all seriousness, just know that you may not get to meet every vendor and sample all possible cake flavors, you may be dealing with time and cultural differences, language barriers and some things just have to wait until you actually get to the destination venue. As long as you’re patient and flexible, know that we have the capability and technology these days to do just about everything virtually and somehow it will all magically come together for the big day!”
The couple doesn’t regret their decision to have an adventurous destination wedding for one second. While there were moments of stress, it all paid off in the end. Plus, as an added bonus, they actually saved quite a bit of money. “We definitely spent less,” says Ann. “With all the wedding-related costs, airfare, honeymoon, eating, shopping and traveling for a total of six weeks – we still spent less than the average American non-destination wedding.”
This newlywed has some final, and wise, advice for other destination wedding brides: “Before all the wedding magazines, dress fittings, bridal expos and planning…do yourself a favor – enjoy being engaged first. This marks such a special and exciting moment in your lives. You’ve both chosen to make a huge commitment to one another. That’s a huge and amazing step, so take the time to relax, breath it all in, cherish it and enjoy!”
Vendors: Photographer: Aidan Dockery Wedding Photography, Wedding Planner: Dujarat Varis with Dream Catchers Events, Ceremony/Reception Site: Baan Chom Pha, Florist: Dream Catchers Events, Gown Designer: “Joy” by Christos, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Charlie’s Design Fashion House in Bangkok, Thailand, Bridesmaids/Groomsmens’ Clothing Designers: J. Crew and Forever 21/Thread Social
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