Daryl and Claire traveled through Thailand two years before their wedding day there in January 2012 and fell in love with the beautiful beaches, food and people.
So when they were planning to tie the knot it seemed obvious to them to go back. The couple didn’t want a big wedding and the setting with crystal clear water and white sandy beaches was their dream perfect backdrop.
Over to you Claire…
White sandy beach
We knew where we wanted to get married as we had been to Phi Phi Island on our travels. We got married in Laem Tong Bay at the Holiday Inn Resort Phi Island and although we had never been there, we were aware it was in a quieter area, with a gorgeous mile stretch of white sandy beach and with the perfect hotel for what we wanted.
Planning a wedding in Thailand
Initially I got in contact with the hotel a year in advance, mainly to save the key rooms for close family. From then on we emailed to discuss wedding plans and I was also provided with a wedding planner who was part of the hotel staff. The service was laid back but very efficient; I could ask for anything at anytime and pretty much have an immediate response.
Once we had decided where to get married we set up a free wedding site with gettingmarried.co.uk. This allowed us to inform our guests to save the date and give them an idea of the distance and planning they would need to do to travel that far. We had 40 guests in Thailand and most stayed four to five days.
The big day
We arrived at the hotel two days before our wedding day so we could make everything bespoke and exactly as we wanted it. The hotel offered a selection of flowers – both Thai and English blooms; I had wanted something authentic and loved the plain white lotus flowers. For the ceremony we had a flowered archway, the beach was strewn with petals and there were baskets of petals to use as confetti. The hotel also organised heart-shaped palm tree leaves all over the resort up to our sunset hill top bar and flowers on the chairs and tables in the evening, which was a lovely touch.
We had our ceremony on the beach and afterwards we took a short walk uphill with the guests to the other side of the island to the hilltop sunset bar which was our highlight of the day. It was spectacular, we had our own music playing on our iPod and served Prosecco and cocktails along with Thai-style canapés like chicken satay, prawn tempura and spring rolls as the sun set. Beautiful! We had had perfect sunshine all day.
The bride’s outfit
I wore a beautiful Jenny Packham dress called Laurel. I loved it and it was perfect for a beach wedding as it was made from really light silk chiffon material. The straps were beautifully embellished and the design really showed off my tan. Daryl wore a light grey cotton suit from Savoy Tailors but in the evening he changed to three quarter length trousers and a polo shirt to stay cool!
Afterwards we headed back down to the beach where we had a private area sectioned off between the palm trees for an evening meal, speeches and dancing. We could even hear the waves crashing against the shore as we sat and ate.
Deliciously Thai cuisine
The food was unreal. We love Thai food and the standard of cuisine was delicious. We had a big Thai buffet of fresh fish, lobster, prawns, duck curry, red curry, and chicken with cashew nuts. Then crepes, fresh fruit and profiteroles for dessert. All our favourites! The hotel helped us put together the menu.
The only downside was the fact that our evening had to come to an end at midnight in consideration to the other hotel guests and resorts nearby – then some of our guests crept off for parties on the beach until the early hours. Also there was so much food we felt it went to waste.
But on the whole everything exceeded our expectations and the day was fantastic.
The legal bits
We actually married legally in the UK a week before we went out to Thailand at our local register office. This was because it was triple the price to tie the knot in Thailand and it would also have meant hanging around Bangkok for five working days. We wanted our Thai wedding to feel like the real deal so we just had two witnesses and didn’t tell many people. Looking back, our ceremony in the UK was really special but not as special as our celebration in Thailand. Also it meant we were both really relaxed on our big day in Thailand.
We took six weeks off after our wedding and traveled through Cambodia and Thailand for our honeymoon, going to Koh Lipe, staying at the Serendipity Resort and then in Chang Mai at the Ping Nikara Hotel.