Samui Wining & Dining
BEHIND THE SCENES
The story of a company which makes hundreds of weddings burst into bloom each year.


Page-124

When you weigh the costs of a traditional wedding in Europe against the cost of tying the knot in Thailand, there’s just no contest. In fact, it can cost less to pay for your close family and friends to go away with you. The usual thing is that they’ll pay for their flights and you’ll foot the bill for their accommodation for a week or so. Plus, of course, you’ll be throwing pool parties, paying for the drinks, funding beach barbecues, and even hiring Thai masseuses for sessions round the pool as part of the deal. And the price of all this enjoyment and fun, on a wonderful tropical island, is still no more than the (now gigantic) cost of a traditional church wedding in Europe, counting the reception, plus the catering, DJ and party afterwards.

        This has led to several things. One is that almost every quality hotel and resort now offers various wedding packages. Another is that quite a few independent wedding organisers have also sprung up. There are even well established companies that are based abroad – in Europe and Australia. These companies are thoroughly experienced and know the pitfalls involved, how to avoid them, what’s needed and how to find it, plus all the legal ins-and-outs. And they have a reliable set of contacts on Samui to help

organise all of this, including accommodation packages, the resident celebrant, the catering and entertainment, photography and flowers. Speaking of which . . .

        Flowers and floral arrangement never really come high up on the wedding-shopper’s list, yet few would dream of a wedding going ahead without them. Which then rather poses the question . . . have you ever given a thought to how this all happens? I mean, just check out that vase of flowers on your balcony.

        And so that floral arch, the colour-coordinated bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids, the sprigs of orchids on every table, plus the vases and bowls of fragrant blooms that are dotted about – they don’t just suddenly appear. They’ve not only had to be worked on, created and arranged, but the flowers don’t even grow here! They’ve had to be ordered, stored, put together to your design, then stored again, to be delivered on your wedding day. And all of this is quite an exercise in experience and skill, not to mention forethought and logistics.

          Just like every other element of putting a wedding together, this happens in the background. The bride (usually!) orders these things and then the organisers make sure they happen. There’s no need to know more, or to think any further than this. But for those who are quietly making sure that all runs according to plan, there’s a whole world of non-stop activity buzzing under the surface. And that’s why you’ll very often see the blinds down, but the lights still burning in the early hours of the morning, at OK Flowers Samui.

          Khun Jew was born in Bangkok. On leaving school, she found work as a trainee florist in a big 5-star hotel. She liked the work and there was a lot to learn. Flowers, and their arrangement and display, play a big role in quality hotels, from breakfasts to banquets, in the rooms, in the lobby and around the hotel. Khun Jew learned her art in this way, not just helping to maintain the ambient décor of the hotel, but creating displays for VIP functions and royalty, too. Three years later an opportunity arose on Samui, and she moved here to become the resident florist at the 5-star InterContinental Samui and then later, at Four Seasons Samui. And some time after this, she set up in business on her own in Maenam.

          Today she works in association with not just individual resorts of all sizes and shapes, but with the big wedding organisers on the island, too. She is pleasant, super-organised, but humble with it, refusing to boast about her big-name clients or claim any credit for their functions. “I love working with flowers and I love to think that I’ve played a part in somebody’s very special day,” she told me. “That’s all I want. Sometimes I’ll get several weddings at the same time and my family help out, often staying up and working for 30 hours at a time and taking naps on the floor when we have to. It’s the most satisfying thing I can imagine, knowing that the work I love doing is adding to someone’s happiness and enjoyment.”

          But it’s not merely hard work; it also requires experience, reliable contacts and a flair for organisation and planning. She orders from suppliers in Bangkok, well in advance of the functions, and has to organise all the delivery schedules to be right on time for when they’re needed. Hence the refrigerated room where fresh blooms are stored beforehand, and then again, when made-up into wreaths or arches. (She also stocks beautiful dried flowers and natural woods for alternative arrangements.)

          And she’s well versed in handling Thai and Indian weddings too, as well as the usual avalanche of Euro occasions. “Europeans are more informal and every wedding is different,” she explained. “They usually ask for the sort of flowers they want by name, and the arrangements and layouts are all individual. But Thai and Indian weddings are based on tradition. Here the colours are the most important thing and they don’t really mind what the flowers are. One way or another, it’s all in a day’s work!”

          So now you know. It not just a question of someone heading off to the local market on your wedding morning! There’s an entire world of talent, skill and planning that has to all come together at the same time, just for you, on the day you get married on Samui. And, just like with Khun Jew, nearly all of this goes on behind the scenes!

          

 Rob De Wet


 


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