Samui Wining & Dining
SAYING ‘I DO’ IN THAILAND
Getting married on Samui is a lot easier than you think – and more fun.

Getting married on Samui is a lot easier than you think – and more fun.When Jodie Anderson and her boyfriend Mark decided to get married, they were faced with so many possibilities that it seemed a daunting process. At home in Ireland, a wedding meant having to invite a huge number of friends and family. That in turn meant the wedding would be very expensive. But it was more than that. “We weren’t sure exactly who to invite,” said Jodie. “We were afraid of leaving anyone out. Friends, family, acquaintances – we didn’t want to offend anyone.” It’s a problem faced by many couples. Jodie and Mark decided to hold their wedding on Samui. Just the two of them. They combined it with their honeymoon, and for the couple this was a great solution. As Jodie said, “We saved an astounding amount of money, even by travelling thousands of miles to come here. And no-one got offended. Everyone was very understanding. On top of that, we had this wonderful holiday. If we’d stayed at home, we’d never have had anything like that. We had a brilliant time.”

          

Weddings like Jodie and Mark’s, without guests, are called ‘elopements’ but have nothing to do with a couple running off in a clandestine way; it’s just an intimate ceremony, usually on the beach or perhaps up in the hills, where two people can join together in marriage. As a wedding celebrant myself, I can safely say that weddings are incredibly varied on Samui.

Some, as we’ve mentioned are so low-key that they really are minimalist. Many of these tend to be vow renewals, where couples come to exchange promises and rings all over again. Such ceremonies may be very quiet but that means they tend to be intimate and are just as filled with happy emotions as any large wedding.

          

You can have your ceremony in a variety of languages, too, including not just Thai or English, but also French, German, Russian, Chinese and Japanese. The ceremony, by the way, is only legally binding if a Thai registrar comes to the wedding and signs all the appropriate paperwork. Many brides and grooms actually get officially married in their home countries, before or after coming to Samui.

Some weddings are on the large side, involving perhaps a hundred or more guests. Really, there’s no upper limit, but since most guests will be coming from outside the island, if not the country, then there’s only a certain number who’ll want to or be able to make a long-haul flight. It’s quite surprising just how many friends, family and even work colleagues will make the effort to come to Samui. Getting married on Samui is a lot easier than you think – and more fun.When they realise what the island has to offer and that they’ll be taking a vacation as well as attending a wedding, there’s usually a lot of enthusiasm – after all, if guests can afford the time and have the finances to travel to Thailand, they’ll be happy to come here.

Samui also acts as a kind of geographical half-way house when it comes to families. If, say, the bride’s family is from New Zealand and the groom’s are from Europe, it makes sense to meet up in the middle. And rather than being a vague no-man’s land and simply a convenient stopover point, the island is packed with natural beauty and there’s plenty to see and do.

          

All sorts of services are offered, and these are as professional as anything you’d find in the west. Take flowers, for example. Florists turn up on the beach where the wedding will be held and put up all the floral decoration needed. These can be arches, entire gazebos complete not just with flowers but diaphanous curtains. They’ll also make an aisle in the sands, first raking it smooth and then strewing it with petals before lining it with flower stands. And of course, all the flowers are sure to stand out against the wonderful backdrop of the sea and sky. The florist also provides button holes for the groom, a bouquet for the bride and whatever other flowers are needed, perhaps a floral centrepiece for the reception dining table. It’s basically whatever you wish for.

          

And that pretty much sums up what the island’s weddings are all about – making your wishes for the day come true. That leitmotiv runs through everything. It applies to all the services, and Samui’s providers turn out to be very professional indeed.

          

There are, for example, many highly skilled photographers on the island; they work with the clients to provide exactly the style of photos required. (Some examples of which illustrate this article). After the wedding’s finished, they’ll process the raw files and then send you a selection of the best shots. And it’s no problem if you need to film the wedding, as there are videographers working on the island, too, and they’re mostly focussed on weddings. You can even now have aerial shots. That doesn’t mean you’ll be buzzed during your ceremony by low-flying aircraft, Getting married on Samui is a lot easier than you think – and more fun.but your event will be cunningly and almost silently monitored by a drone that’ll take shots from some unusual angles.

          

Once the ceremony itself is over, the reception’s next, of course. You can opt for Thai or international menus, or a mixture of both. The dinner could be a sit-down affair at tables with white cotton covers or a buffet where you help yourself to a variety of delicious food. Music and dance completes a reception and you can book a top-notch DJ who’ll play exactly the kind of music you want. And you may want to stage something a bit different during the evening. You can have fire dancers perform an amazing and unforgettable show right in front of you on the beach or maybe have fireworks and light up the sky.

          

If you’re a nifty user of Google, then you could just about arrange your own wedding yourself, contacting all the different suppliers you’ll need and hoping you’ve picked the right people. Probably it’ll all cost you in terms of stress – organizing your own wedding in your home town is one thing, but doing it in a foreign country that you may well never have visited before is another. Most couples go through a wedding planner – and there are many of them on the island. The planner’s job, same as it is everywhere, is to pull everything together and make sure your day goes brilliantly well for you. The service needn’t be expensive, either. Most hotels also offer weddings and have their own in-house planner, who will be happy to help you.

          

To give you an idea of what’s possible, it’s easier to say what isn’t. The only service that is currently difficult to arrange is a helicopter. However one island wedding planner acknowledging the difficulties simply said the chopper would first have to fly in from Phuket. “Sure, it can be done,” he ended up saying. “Why not? It’s just nobody’s ever asked for it – so far.”

          

If you’ve dreamed of having a dream wedding on a tropical island, it may seem like a hard-to-achieve goal and a very exotic one at that, but it’s easier to do than you think. It doesn’t need to be expensive and it’ll certainly be a very memorable way to get married.

          

Dimitri Waring

 

 


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