A destination wedding has always been my dream. As a teenage girl, I was dreaming of a beach wedding, dancing on the sand, vows under the palm trees… Lucky for me, it seems like I actually got what I wanted.
Why did I choose Thailand?
Well, to begin with, the Land of Smiles was the first exotic country I ever visited. I still remember the first WOW-effect and how excited I was!
I remember sitting on the heaven-like beach and dreaming of a lovely little ceremony on Phi Phi. I have completely fallen for this lagoon, its fabulous beaches, tropical vibes and delicious Thai food. This memorable trip happened back in 2015. We hosted our wedding on the same island exactly four years later (it was actually a week difference).
At first, the idea of having our friends and family travel across the globe for ‘my whim’ seemed like a crazy one but we finally ended up signing the agreement and setting our wedding date in June 2018. We had a year to organize and plan everything.
So we set the date as the 20th of May, which was expected to be a ‘soft start’ to the monsoon period. The average temperature was about 35 degrees and it was incredibly humid. The weather on our wedding day (and during our 2-week trip) was perfect – we had ‘the pinkest’ sunset I have ever seen and no rain at all. I wouldn’t recommend planning a wedding between June and September as it could get quite tricky with the weather sometimes. The prices are competitive but, according to many wedding planners, May should be the very last month for a beach wedding ceremony in Thailand.
I realized that Phi Phi island I left in 2015 was not the same place anymore. A lot has changed – the cosy little lagoon became a party destination, the cute little palm tree forest I wanted to ‘use’ was gone and the island resembles more of a Thai Ibiza (which is amazing but not exactly what you would call ideal wedding spot). Luckily, I managed to find a perfect resort, located in a quiet Laem Tong Bay, 20 minutes away (on a boat naturally) from the main beaches. I watched a few of their YouTube videos, read testimonials and scanned their Instagram page so knew they were the perfect fit and I didn’t feel the need to check the place before the Big Day. I knew what I wanted – good atmosphere, ‘no biggie’, no strict rules, no first dances, laidback luxury. This is how the resort seemed to me. And I was right.
As for the legal matters, we had a civil ceremony on the beach and our marriage is valid in our home country, Poland.
Whether you’re a foreign national marrying a Thai national, or a foreign couple coming to Thailand to get married, you’ll need to go through the whole loads of paperwork. We skipped that and hired an agent who did the whole procedure for us. The agent was provided by our resort and the cost of such service is 40000 Thai Baht which is around $1300.
In general, the marriage will only be recognised under the law of your home country if it is valid under Thai law. You can still do it without having an agent but it will be quite… time-consuming. At first, you must first go to your embassy to obtain an Affirmation of Freedom to Marry in Thailand. You need to prepare a series of documents, such as birth certificates, passports, and if you’ve been married before, make sure you have documentation to prove that any previous marriages have been dissolved/terminated. Certificates issued in a country outside Thailand must be certified by its respective Embassy in Thailand, which means you would have to take several trips to the Embassy because it would never be just one appointment. This certificate, if not in English, must be accompanied by an English translation. So in general – hire an agent to do it for you.
Let me tell you a few words about the day itself. So the planner usually gives you a schedule and there is no point on changing it as the temperature will not allow a daytime wedding – our wedding started at 4:30, just on time to catch the perfect sunset, and the temperature was just right.
We have chosen a ‘Thai ceremony’ which included the colourful long drum parade – a very exciting thing to watch, it felt really exotic and it was amazing to be a part of Thai culture just for this tiny moment. After the ceremony (western-style), the celebrations continued with a champagne reception AND the Unity Tree Planting Ceremony, which is a Thai tradition for the newlyweds. In Thailand, planting a palm tree symbolizes joining together of two individuals as well as the joining of two families.
We are both great fans of Thai food (which was one of the reasons we chose Thailand as our wedding destination) so we choose the Thai set menu for dinner. The buffet dinner is the only possibility on the beach but it went very well and smooth. Everyone loved all the seafood, Pad Thai was to die for (the best one I have had so far!) and the cold desserts were delicious and interesting as well.
After dinner, we danced until midnight, drank coconuts, vodka (as the Polish accent, haha), wine and Thai beer. Just past midnight, the long tail boats took us to the main part of Phi Phi in order to end our wedding in a Spanish style – partying till dawn…
It was a boutique but such an amazing wedding! I really did not care about the details and extras, such as ‘photo box’ and “sweet table” because the location itself was extra beautiful!
Organizing a wedding in Thailand was not an easy task, mainly because of the distance and time difference, but it was all WORTH IT!
One very important thing is the attire. I asked my wedding guests for a pastel and light attire and my wedding dress was very lightweight and modest as well. The weather conditions won’t allow any prom dresses and suits. Laidback outfits only.
Some more info about what happened after the wedding. We ended up having 35 people, who came from Poland, UK, Germany, Norway, Austria and Australia. It meant a lot they actually travelled across the globe to hear our vows so, as a thank you, I took the responsibility for organising the whole itinerary. I started a wedding website for our guests a year before our wedding and worked on a perfect and well-packed itinerary.
We were accompanied by 20 of our guests for our 2 weeks stay in Thailand – it is safe to say the wedding party continued. We have been to Krabi, Koh Lanta, Phuket, Bangkok and we spent two nights in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I booked tickets, transfers, hotels and tried to organize everything so everyone could choose whether they want to go on their own or whether they prefer to trust me. We had an amazing time exploring the Land of Smiles but, because I was too stressed over taking care of my guests, I feel the need to come back in order to experience all of it again, for the third time. Thailand, I can’t wait to see you again!
*This post was written in collaboration with Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). Get inspiration and advice for visiting Thailand on their new blog www.fanclubthailand.co.uk. and check out the latest entry requirements for Thailand here.