Thailand is a brilliant destination for a wedding: sunny skies, gorgeous green spaces, powder-soft beaches, and heaps of idyllic resorts. If you're thinking of getting hitched in the tropical haven of Phuket, we got wedding planner extraordinaire Andrea Chappell from Marry Me Thailand to share the ins and outs of arranging the ceremony: from the most ideal months to tie the knot to the best bridal boutiques and florists on the island...
What’s a day in the life of a wedding planner in Thailand like?
When it's not a wedding day, a typical day begins with checking emails and then compiling a ‘to-do list’ in order of most important to least. Generally, I will then keep the current wedding couple’s wedding file up to date with any new information received in emails. Later in the afternoon is when I get onto Pinterest and start pinning or checking my bride’s pins. Usually by this stage, more emails have be returned so I finish off the day replying to those. Unfortunately the day-to-day life of a wedding planner is not as glamorous as the wedding itself.
When you first meet a couple to discuss the wedding, what are the most important questions that you’ll ask them?
When I first meet a couple, I ask them how they envisage their dream wedding day to be. Let's face it, all girls – and some men – have been dreaming of their wedding since they were kids. Once I get an idea of what they're after visually and conceptually, I then take into consideration their budget. There's no point recommending something if it's not going to be within the couple's budget.
What are the biggest challenges of planning a wedding in Thailand?
For most brides and grooms, it's the language barrier that they face when trying to do it themselves. I am based in Thailand, and therefore that eases a lot of couple's minds, as they don't need to worry that their vision or requests will get lost in translation.
What are the best periods of the year to get married in Thailand?
The best periods vary depending on where you want your wedding to be. For Phuket, the best months are from December to March, when it is less humid and there is less chance of rain.
What are some unique Thai cultural touches that couples can consider for their ceremony?
Thailand has many traditions that can be incorporated into weddings. Some of the more popular ones are water blessings, monk blessings and releasing khom loys (floating lanterns).
To have a legal marriage in Thailand, what paperwork and steps are needed?
It's quite a lengthy process that needs to be completed in Bangkok. We work with a fantastic agency that handles the process effortlessly. Couples need to allow two days in Bangkok to complete the paperwork, and then a week before the wedding (to be on the safe side) to have the papers sent to the destination. On the wedding day, there will be an officer from the local amphur (district) who will attend and witness the ceremony. The papers are then sent back to Bangkok, and they generally arrive two weeks later at their home. Most people will decided to go to the registry office in their home country.
On average, how much does a wedding in Thailand cost?
This is a tricky question, but based on a venue, food, drinks and everything else you need for 80 guests, you can expect to spend from S$30,000 onwards.
What does an average budget breakdown look like?
An average budget is around S$15,000 for the dress, suit, rings, stationery and all other items that can generally be bought from home. For decorations, food, drinks, cake, a celebrant, hair and make-up, a photography and a wedding planer, you can expect to pay S$30,000 (based on 80 guests).
Where can you find celebrants for the solemnisation?
We have a list of trusted celebrants that we use, and we base the selection on the couple and their preferred feel of the ceremony. All celebrants are different, and offer different ceremonies, so it's important to choose one that will be right for you – one who can essentially portray what your love is about.
Who do you recommend going to for bouquets and floral arrangements?
I Am Flower have a huge team that construct some amazing displays. They are by far the best known and most popular. For smaller events in Phuket, I work with a lovely lady, Khun Toom, who puts so much passion and love into her work. She has a really great eye for detail and can copy any bouquet.
Which bakers make the prettiest cakes?
Peter Webber from Les Diables in Phuket makes the most delicious and spectacular cakes around.
Which bars are the best for a hen night?
In Phuket, anywhere along the strip of Bangla Road is sure to entertain. I recommend starting the night off at Higher Restaurant and Bar, so that you can gaze down at all the madness first.
Which photographers in Phuket are known for amazing, creative shots?
Khun Deng and team at D-Image Plus are all known for their creative style. They have captured some really incredible images for couples over the years.
Where should brides go for hair, make-up and pre-wedding pampering?
For wedding day hair and make-up, you can't go past Lisa Allen. She really does become a bride's best friend on their wedding day.
Which local bridal designers and boutiques are known for beautiful dresses?
Daughter of Eve Luxury Bridal Boutique stocks the most amazing dresses in Phuket.
What are the most popular transport options to and fro the wedding?
A lot of the time, the bride is getting ready at the venue, so there is no need for transport for her. For guests getting to and from the venue, we generally organise mini vans, and they get picked up from the resort they're staying in.