Let me start from the very beginning.
Don’t grow up too quickly, lest you forget how much you love the beach.
My husband and I ( I still feel weird calling him ‘my husband’, although it has been a Month) have been friends for over 15 years. We have always been joking about a beach wedding with a proper chillax atmosphere, no ties and princess-like dresses. Barefoot, palm trees, the ocean. It was 7 years ago…
I happened to visit Thailand with my mom and my sister a few years ago, me and Tomasz were already a couple. I remember sitting on the heaven-like beach and dreaming about ‘I doing’ in Phi Phi. I have completely fallen for this island, its fabulous beaches, tropical vibes and delicious Thai food. It seemed like a dream wedding destination. At least to me.
As Tomasz proposed in Dubai in January 2018, I started to plan the perfect beach wedding we dreamed of straight after. I also launched my ‘Wedding Destinations’ project so we got the opportunity to travel to a different destination every Month…. but I already knew what I wanted. Thailand has always been a number one on my wedding list.
We signed an agreement with Zeavola Phi Phi Island Luxury Resort in June 2018. I have found the place on Instagram and have fallen for the vibe. Tomasz wasn’t as convinced as I was but he decided to give me an absolutely free hand in that matter. My husband has never been a fan of weddings.
I trusted Zeavola. I watched a few YouTube videos, read testimonials and scanned their Instagram page so I didn’t even feel the need to check the place and see it for myself before the big day. I knew what I wanted – good atmosphere, ‘no biggie’. No strict rules, no first dances, barefoot laidback luxury. This is how the resort seemed to me, and
I sent ‘save the dates’ and the wedding website to around 120 people at the beginning of July. I got an immediate RSVP from the majority of them and it turned out over the half of them won’t make it to Thailand. It was no surprise
As for the exact invitations – my sister in law and I created them ourselves. I wanted to give my guests a hint of what they should expect, what it is going to be like and where exactly. I posted the whole article about it HERE.
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. I guided my guests on what to wear to such a wedding – natural fabrics, no shoes, no ties. Such temperature is also a challenge for the bridal hair and makeup (read my beauty article here).
The wedding ceremony started at 4:30 in order to skip the heath and just on time for the magical Thai sunset ( we had an amazing sunset!). After that, we had an hour to take wedding photos and the guests were chilling under the palm trees. The dinner started at around 7:00 and we danced until midnight. This is how it was. No first dances, no blah blah blah.
Can you actually get married in Thailand?
Yes, 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 Zeavola. 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 I would say. 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.
How does such beach wedding look like?
At Zeavola, there are no ‘minimum’ or ‘maximum’ guests, which means your beach wedding could be as intimate or as loud as you want. The planner usually gives you a schedule and there is no point on changing it as the temperature will not allow a daytime wedding. The ceremony is traditionally conducted in the late afternoon during the cooler period of the day. At Zeavola, there is a possibility for a traditional Christian wedding, a formal Christian Marriage a Thai wedding and a civil ceremony. It all depends on a couple and how they choose to tie the knot.
After the ceremony, the celebrations continue with a champagne reception and cake cutting ceremony. We especially loved the Unity Tree Planting Ceremony, which is a Thai tradition for the newlyweds. Planting tree symbolizes joining together of two individuals or the joining of two families. We have our very own palm tree in Thailand now 🙂
4.30pm The Zeavola long drum parade picks up the
groom from the villa and brings him and the guest to the
5pm The Zeavola long drum parade picks up the
Bride from the Beauty Salon and brings her to the
5.15pm Father of the bride will walk the bride to the flower arch and
the master of ceremony conducts the wedding ceremony
wedding couple to their “Love Tree”, which will be
planted in the resort by the bride and groom
6.15pm The wedding cake is cut
and the Champagne will be opened
We booked our stay in a garden villa, which was literally in the middle of a jungle. I still feel the vibe when I think about it! We absolutely loved the spacious interior, an outdoor shower and a wooden terrace. On our wedding day, we were upgraded to a beach villa, as a gift from the management. The view from my window as I was getting ready was… unforgettable. 1-night stay at Zeavola is around $300, and there is a minimum 3-nights stay required for the newlyweds.
Wedding reception at Zeavola and dancing
We choose the Thai set menu as we love Thai food! The buffet dinner is the only possibility on the beach but it went very well. Zeavola is known for their extraordinary cuisine and we officially confirm it – the food was simply delicious! It was by far the yummiest one we had in Thailand, and our guests say the same thing. I especially loved their iconic pad thai! As for the cake, I wish we knew the bottom was made of plastic but well – the wedding cake was delicious as well.
As for the alcohol, we decided to go for the ‘Polish tradition’ which means…. vodka shots. We also had some whisky, champagne and a refreshing Pinot Gris. Zeavola offers the ‘drink sets’ and they are calculated per guest per hour. I think it would have been better if we only had a couple of soft drink choices as this particular service did not run very well. Vodka and the rest of alcohol have to be paid separately and there is a corkage charge per every bottle. DJ and a duo band (traditional Thai music) are also available at the resort but, because we never really wanted a traditional wedding, I created the playlist. However, my siblings surprised me with a live performance as well as some entertainment. We had Disney songs at our wedding <3 We danced until midnight! I must say we were the only newlyweds who really had fun at their wedding. We danced under the sky, to the candlelight and a romantic fairy lights hanging from the palm trees.
Elton John, ‘Can you feel the love tonight’ – our performance gift
Can you feel the love tonight?
The peace the evening brings
The world, for once, in perfect harmony
With all its living things
Beach Wedding Attire
I asked my wedding guests for a pastel/light attire. Not only because of the weather conditions but because I generally think dark, juicy colors are not the right shades… for the beach.
My beloved bridesmaids wore Joys Bella Bridesmaids dresses in pale pink colour.
My husband wore Ralph Lauren shirt in a pale turquoise shade. Why? He refused to wear the traditional white shirt, we couldn’t find a match to my off white wedding dress and he… looks really well in this colour. After all – we wanted to keep it very informal. He also wore Liu Jo beige pants and… Kubota flaps. Kubota is a Polish cult flaps brand from the ’90s. You won’t understand if you are not Polish 😛
I loved some of my stylish guests looks. Believe me – dressing men for a beach wedding is not an easy task as it might seem! While doing research, I discovered some men’s attire inspirations on Pinterest and they were… pretty horrible if you ask me. I am including some photos of my handsome guests as well as… my dad. Perhaps they will inspire some of your future weddings looks.
As for me, I designed my wedding dress myself. I’ve always wanted something simple but elegant. My wedding dress is also a tribute to Madeleine Vionnet, a precursor of fashion and one of the greatest fashion creators of the 20th century. Her designs have always influenced my style and inspired me a lot. Same as my granny who is the most wonderful tailor and who made this dress for me. The fabric I’ve chosen is Italian silk I got during my trip to Florence (I wrote about it here). Why simple not extravagant? I am not really into lace and princess-like dresses so this design also underlines my personality. We also wanted an informal wedding and I asked my guests for beachy outfits. It would look ridiculous, the way I see it. I have always had a clear idea for my makeup and shoes. As red is my so-called trademark I wore red lipstick and red nails combo. I also had a little flower in my hair as well as my dream shoes – Louboutin VaVaZou in gold.
Was it worth it?
A wedding at the end of the world was not an easy task. Having my job did not make it easier and a lot of details would have been a lot better if I knew what I know now. Pricewise – a wedding is never an affordable party. A party in Thailand might cost less than a wedding in Positano but it would never be affordable. Adding the cost of flights, accommodation, all the extras would give you pretty much… a sum of a nice car. This is how it is, and this is how it would be in every county.
However, it was the most beautiful and wonderful wedding I have been to, and the majority of guests say the same thing. Our parents had loads of fun, especially my mom who danced like crazy. Our
Has anything changed?
Apart from the fact I had to change my surname in every possible department? Absolutely nothing! I think it is a modern myth. It used to change a lot in the 70’s or ’80s and it still does in some religions. We are living a fast life, we have been living together for a couple of years. We shared our life, future plans, an account. What could possibly be changed with signing a paper?
Marriage is not a noun; it’s a verb. It isn’t something you get. It’s something you do. It’s the way you love your partner every day.
Barbara De Angelis