Planning a Thailand wedding can be a dream come true if you’re seeking an exotic and unique wedding day. But like any wedding destination, it’s important to do your research if you want to avoid any pitfalls on your wedding day. Seeking expert advice is essential. After all, it’s unlikely that you’ve planned a wedding before, never mind a wedding in Thailand!
Luckily for you, we’ve consulted two seasoned professionals who specialize in weddings in this magical destination. They’re kindly sharing their insights and insider advice, to help you navigate the exciting and sometimes complex process of planning a Thailand wedding.
Whether you’re considering a beachfront affair on the stunning shores of Phuket, a traditional Thai ceremony in the heart of Chiang Mai, or any other romantic setting in this beautiful country, here are some things that you need to know BEFORE you hop on the plane, before you choose your venue, and before you even set the date . . .
Meet our Thailand Wedding Experts
Natasha Yelland – Principal Wedding Planner at Creative Events Asia
As Principal Wedding Planner at Creative Events Asia, Natasha Yelland knows a thing or two about planning a wedding in Thailand. Here, she shares with us her top tips to ensure that you make the most of this stunning destination, and make sure that your destination wedding in Thailand goes off without a hitch.
Aidan Dockery – Destination Wedding Photographer
Originally from the UK but now based in South East Asia, Aidan Dockery has photographed countless weddings in Thailand over the past decade. With an extensive wedding portfolio, Aidan has an intimate understanding of the country’s most popular wedding destinations. Here, he shares a photographer’s perspective, coupled with invaluable local knowledge and expertise.
When is the best time of year to get married in Thailand?
January or February is the best time of year for a wedding in Thailand. December is the coolest and driest time of year but of course, everything is more expensive over the festive period. March is also a great time, but it is already getting warm. By the end of April, it’s just hot! May brings the start of the wet season with heavy rain.
Also, beware that the Gulf of Thailand (including Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, etc.) can be stormy early in the year and that their driest season comes a little later than the rest of Thailand.
Finally, you should avoid planning a wedding in Chiang Mai from mid-February until mid-April. During this time there is heavy smog caused by farmers burning their fields in preparation for the new crop season. The air quality is poor and visibility throughout the city is significantly reduced, it really can be an issue! A better time for a wedding in Chiang Mai is between November and January when the weather is delightful with pleasant temperatures.
Can you get married during the wet season in Thailand?
Thailand’s wet season runs from May to October, and prices are a lot cheaper than the peak tourism period of November to March. While it usually only rains for an hour or two each day, the downpour can be torrential, and it typically arrives late in the afternoon. If you’re planning an afternoon ceremony outdoors at this time of year, a ‘Plan B’ is absolutely essential!
How early should I book my wedding vendors in Thailand?
As one of the world’s most popular wedding destinations, Thailand has a well established wedding industry and is very well serviced by wedding professionals. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you will have a long list of potential vendors in all locations. For instance, in the more remote towns and even on some of the more popular islands, you may find that there are only one or two hair and makeup artists in the area who specialize in bridal appointments. If you want to secure your preferred vendor at your preferred time, start making inquiries as early as possible.
Many vendors will be happy to travel to other locations in Thailand, but booking early is certainly advisable, particularly during the peak season.
What should we wear to our Thailand wedding?
Think carefully when choosing your wedding outfits, and don’t underestimate Thailand’s heat and humidity. Natural fibers are best, and for beach brides and bridesmaids, flat shoes or wedges will make you feel more steady on your feet when walking across the sand or the lawn. If you must wear heels, invest in some “Heel Stoppers” to stop your shoes from sinking into the ground, and consider a backup pair of flat shoes.
For the groom and groomsmen, again, go for natural fibers with a white singlet under your shirt to prevent sweat patches. A spare shirt to change into for the reception is also a good idea.
Don’t underestimate the humidity, and don’t pack heels for a beach wedding!
It’s also surprising how many grooms want to wear a 3 piece suit (especially English grooms!) which is so impracticable and looks a little odd on a tropical beach. A shirt is ideal.
What is the best time of day for a wedding ceremony in Thailand?
Both you and your guests will be a lot more comfortable if you avoid the midday heat and plan your ceremony late in the afternoon. An hour or two before sunset is ideal as the temperature will be milder and the beautiful Thai sunset will be perfectly timed to appear during your wedding portraits.
Photographers also prefer the light at this time of day as it makes for better pictures than the harsh midday sun.
You should definitely avoid a ceremony in the midday heat. Two hours before sunset is ideal, as this gives ample time for a photo shoot before the sun sets. Also, Thailand weddings rarely run on time so this allows a buffer if required.
What is the best time of day to shoot wedding photos in Thailand?
As mentioned above, planning the ceremony two hours before sunset means that you can have a photoshoot during the last hour of sunlight.
The timing of Thailand weddings is very different from UK weddings, which may have a midday ceremony and then a long cocktail hour before the wedding breakfast. Thai weddings will start at about 4 pm and then go straight into a photoshoot and wedding breakfast right after. But they usually go on later too!
Will our Thai beach wedding be private?
Many of Thailand’s most beautiful resorts are located on publicly accessible beaches, which raises the likelihood of having spectators during your wedding ceremony. Half-naked people just wandering past … hmm not so romantic. If you prefer privacy, make sure that you discuss this with your venue prior to booking, and ensure that you have a clear understanding of which locations will be available for your exclusive use. Note that even a private beach may still be accessible to other resort guests. If you absolutely want to ensure complete privacy, private villa rental is a great option.
Are wine and Champagne expensive in Thailand?
Wine and Champagne are surprisingly expensive in Thailand. The choice may also be limited, and Champagne in particular can be difficult to find. If you must toast with Champagne, your best option is to buy it duty free (always check with your venue first however, to ensure that they will serve BYO alcohol at your reception). The good news is that spirits are comparatively cheap, so a signature cocktail or even a full cocktail bar at your reception will be far more affordable than at home.
Yes, they are. Stick to icy beers and tasty cocktails!
How can we incorporate local Thai wedding favors?
Think carefully about your wedding favors. While it’s great to incorporate some local elements, ensure that the items you choose are ok for your guests to bring back into their home country. Also, think about the weight of the items, as well as their size. Anything too heavy or bulky will be a pain for your guests to transport home – and a huge pain for you if you have to transport it all over there.
Is it difficult to get legally married in Thailand?
If you’d like to have a legal wedding ceremony in Thailand, you will need to personally visit your Embassy in Bangkok to lodge the paperwork. The entire process can take up to 5 working days, possibly longer if there are any issues or unforeseen delays. Your wedding coordinator may be able to arrange some of the processing on your behalf, in which case you are free to leave Bangkok after meeting with your Embassy. You will still need to wait until the paperwork is finalized before you can marry at your wedding destination however.
If you are lodging all of your own paperwork, you’ll need to stay in Bangkok for 4 to 5 days, and be aware that documents cannot be processed on weekends or public holidays, so arrange to stay longer if required. You should contact your Embassy well in advance to make an appointment in Bangkok and confirm which documents you’ll need to bring with you.
Most destination weddings in Thailand are actually non-binding, with couples either getting married in their home countries before they leave or visiting a local district office (Amphur), usually in Bangkok.
This doesn’t make their wedding any less special, indeed most couples don’t feel married until they have had their big day.
Brides Without Borders;
Take a look at our comprehensive guide to getting legally married in Thailand here;
Do we need travel vaccinations to visit Thailand?
Generally speaking, if you’re visiting the main tourist areas of Thailand, there are some basic travel vaccinations that are recommended, but not essential. If you’re visiting any of the more rural settings, however certain vaccinations are strongly advised. These guidelines change regularly, so you should always get up to date advice from a travel medicine clinic. If you do require vaccinations, these should be arranged 6 to 8 weeks prior to your trip in order to be most effective. And remind your guests to get vaccinated around this time also, particularly if you’re getting married away from the main tourist spots.
A Very Big Thank You to our Authors;
Natasha Yelland of Creative Events Asia – https://www.creativeeventsasia.com/
Aidan Dockery of Aidan Dockery Photography – https://aidandockery.com/
All Images Provided By: Aidan Dockery Photography
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