Destination I Do

A Wedding in Tempting Thailand

Words by Jennifer Stein
Photos courtesy of Melissa McClure Photography

Deciding on the destination of Krabi, Thailand as the backdrop for Donna and Matthew’s wedding away was easier than one would think. The couple fell in love with it, and a visit five years prior resulted in annual trips and eventually a proposal. “Thailand is a very special place for us,” says Donna. “It’s where we first started laying plans for our future…we wanted to share this place we love so much with the people we love.”

They originally began looking in their hometown of Sonoma County, but quickly realized the cost to have a destination wedding in a place like Thailand would prove to be more affordable. “We knew most guests would need to travel anyway and the costs for a short trip to California were actually higher than a longer stay in Thailand (although the flight was much longer!). We factored the costs for each and realized Thailand would give us much more quality time with our family and friends,” says Donna.

The cost of the wedding itself was also less expensive as the property they chose in Thailand, Railay Bay Resort, offered straight-forward wedding packages which even included a fire show.

The day started bright and early at 7:30 a.m. with a Buddhist Monk traditional Thai water ceremony – meant to provide a marriage with merit and blessings. Later that afternoon, the second ceremony included fantastic food, drinks and dancing at the Railay Bay Resort. It was all capped-off by a good luck gesture of lighting lanterns and sending them into the sky and, finally, a fire show.

The couple included a few very personal details into the mix. “Since many of our family members couldn't be there, I wanted to create a special place at the wedding to keep them close,” says Donna. “We had a table setup scattered with old family photos. We also had a photo of my husband's father who passed, as well as pictures of my grandmothers and his grandfather.” They also included a “wishing tree” on the table which allowed guests to write wishes to the couple and hang them for all to see. “We loved reading those after the wedding was over!”

When it comes to experience and offering a few tips and tricks to other brides, Donna had some great advice. “Design the wedding invitations to include as much information as possible. They should both excite and prepare your guests for a destination wedding abroad. The more information you can include, the better. If guests understand that the destination is more than just a wedding; that it will be a travel experience, the more comfortable and excited they will be to make the journey.” 

Vendors: Photographer: Melissa McClure Photography,, Wedding Planner: Mr. W. Timmy with Railay Bay Resort,, Ceremony/Reception Site: Railay Bay Resort, Krabi, Thailand,, Gown Designer: Afternoon ceremony dress custom made by Atelier Des Modistes, San Francisco, CA,; Buddhist ceremony dress custom made by Tom's Fashions, Ao Nang, Thailand, Florist: Railay Bay Resort,, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Andrew Fezza,, Bridesmaids/Groomsmens' Clothing Designer: David’s Bridal, & Men’s Wearhouse,

This article first appeared in Destination I Do's Fall2013/Winter 2014 issue. You can order a copy here.

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