Samui Wining & Dining
Beachside Betrothals

Samui’s wedding planners and organisers can make every dream become a reality.


3Take a look along the beaches on Samui around 4:30pm on any given day. There’s a good chance you’ll see a wedding ceremony taking place. Samui is one of the top island destinations in the world now for those tying the knot and honeymooning. And it’s easy to understand why. For most of the year the weather is great, the beaches are idyllic and plentiful, and the best resorts are excellent at providing that dream wedding.


They’ll all have several packages to choose from which provide everything you need to get married. And then there’s a whole range of options that can make the experience unique to the couple. Typically, resorts and wedding planning companies will offer three types of packages; a Western-style, a Thai Buddhist-style and a mix of both. Usually the first one will include a dedicated wedding co-ordinator from the resort, a celebrant to conduct the ceremony, floral decorations, a beach set-up, a wedding cake, a wedding certificate, a bottle of champagne and complimentary gifts. These can range from airport transfers to free spa treatments, musicians for the ceremony, a private dinner and room up-grades.


In the Thai Buddhist ceremony, much of the same is included but monks from a local temple give the blessing and there’re traditional Thai musicians and dancers to lead the procession. The actual ceremony is very different from what you would have at home but can be spiritually uplifting. And some resorts also have a novel ‘Love Tree’ planting ceremony included in this. Look around the garden at your resort and you may well see name plaques beside new trees. Some couples opt to have a blessing from the monks and then have a Western-style ceremony so that they can say vows and exchange rings which doesn’t happen in the Thai ceremony. These packages normally come at around the 75,000 baht mark and are very special. However, you can tailor your whole day to your specific individual requirements and make it something out of this world.


Most couples choose to get married on the beach but some resorts have private gardens and secluded areas that you can also use. Others have platforms over huge rocks in the sea and others are perched high up in the hills offering spectacular panoramic views. Your wedding co-ordinator can also organize hair and make-up stylists, spa treatments and private lunches on the day of the ceremony. This allows the bride and her friends to relax and be pampered before the late afternoon ceremony. For the chaps, go-kart racing, fishing trips, golf and bowling are all easily arranged.


Arriving at the ceremony in a totally unorthodox manner can also be arranged. An elephant can be hired to bring the bride, groom or both along the beach and it’s quite a surprise for the guests who usually aren’t expecting it. That said, it can be a little tricky for a bride in a long flowing white dress to actually get off the elephant. Not to mention for some Scotsmen who choose to wear a kilt and end up revealing way too much, way too soon.


It’s also possible to hire Harley Davison motorbikes, vintage Vespa scooters and stretch limousines. And a rather spectacular way to arrive on the beach is by jet-ski; it’s quite James Bond-ish, if you get the landing right. Local fishermen will also hire out their long-tail boats which can almost get up onto the beach. There is a story of a bride arriving by fishing boat to be met by her groom at the water’s edge. Unfortunately, she was a larger lady and the poor chap tried to lift her from the boat with the inevitable splash-down occurring moments later. It brings a whole new meaning to the expression ‘to get married at sea’. I’m sure they will have laughed about it later.


Before, during and after the ceremony a good photographer is essential. And there’re a number of professional photographers on the island as well as videographers. In recent years, some couples have been shying away from the traditional wedding video and having short, often comedic, films made that endeavour to bring out the personality of the couple as they prepare for the ceremony. It’s an interesting option but one that needs a great deal of pre-planning to get just right. Some resorts also offer themed weddings based around favourite movies or periods in time. And the traditional wedding march as the bride walks down the aisle is rarely heard these days. A wedding planner I know well tells me she’s heard everything from James Blunt to Peruvian Pan Pipes, and even the theme tune to Star Trek. It’s really all about doing what makes you happy, although there’s definitely a joke in there somewhere around ‘boldly going where no man has gone before’!


It’s also possible to hire a catamaran or yacht and have the ceremony out at sea as the sun is setting. That’s a very romantic option and entirely possible with a small party of guests. Getting married under the water has been done in other parts of Thailand though I haven’t heard of it here. I suspect a reputable diving company could arrange for this to happen if a couple were keen divers. I’m not quite sure how you’d get a scuba tank on an elephant though.


After the ceremony, every resort will be able to provide anything from canapés and beach barbecues to formal sit-down 10-course dinners. There’s also a whole host of bands, both Thai and European, dance troupes, DJ’s and cabaret acts. And there’re two fireworks companies on the island that can do incredible displays. But as most resorts have dedicated events teams, all you have to do is let them know what you’re after and they’ll take care of all the detail.


Yes, with the infinite possibilities here for making that special day extra special, it’s no wonder that Samui’s such a popular destination for those beachside betrothals.


Johnny Paterson


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