Tying the knot on a paradise island by the sea is high on the list of most wanted memories for many brides from around the world, but as with any wedding there are still plenty of elements to consider. Jasmine Chuang from Hong Kong recently got married in a private villa on Phuket and shares her beach wedding tips.
Being a big city girl, every single wedding I have ever attended was held in an urban hotel (save for one that particularly stood out as it was in a big country house with white marquees in the garden). So for my wedding I wanted to break the mould. My partner and I decided on a small intimate ceremony far from our city surroundings, and a long enough distance from home to naturally sift out the otherwise compulsory acquaintances and secondary friends that would bulk up the guest list and therefore the cost.
After weeks of deliberations and web surfing, we chose a beach in Thailand
to infuse a real sense of something special into the wedding, at the same time offering to source accommodation for those kindred souls that thought it was worth the travel expense to share in our joy and indulge in a wonderful holiday at the same time.
Invitation cards, food, drinks, bridal bouquet, rings, music — ask any couple who has been through the ordeal, and they'll say the list of boxes to tick goes on and on and on. "Bridezillas" may be a reality show and a genre infamous for varying degrees of truth bending, but behind every seemingly blatant misrepresentation there's a core truth. In the case of a wedding, the stress is in the details.
When everything's accounted for, getting married on a beach might not be for everyone, but with the right planning and help it is a magical experience. So if you're looking to join souls next to a tropical ocean, here are some things to consider, based on my recent wedding.
Just because the wedding date does not fall within traditional rainy season, there is no guarantee that the heavens will stay dry for you in a tropical country. We wanted a wedding that was as "natural" as possible. No staged floral backdrops, however amazing, can beat nature's finest combination of sea and sand. Both the resort and villa options we looked at were able to provide a backup plan in case of rain. However, in a resort, the rain (excuse the pun) would put a dampener on the scheduling, Time specific costs, such as venue rental and open bar hours, might have to be extended to accommodate the weather. A villa doesn't stop the rain from falling either, but having the venue for the whole night makes it a lot easier to be flexible with the actual ceremony, and in any case, no one notices a slight delay when the drinks are pouring too. We got married in December. Generally speaking a safe dry month in southern Thailand
— but not so for our wedding! The rain started, but shuttling people indoors was painless. I'd hate to imagine the mad scramble for cover at a resort where parents are holding on to their kids and no one really knows where to go.
Not all beachfronts are created equally. It depends if we're talking "private" resort beach, a quieter section of a busy beach, or just a vague "beachfront" location. Weddings are to be shared, of course, but surely not with a curious lobster-red gaggle of tourists having dinner nearby. At a resort beach, I decided that number one I'd have to walk quite a long way from my room to the altar, which also meant an extended period of time for my groom to stand in the sun to wait, plus the inevitable risk of strangers gathering on the beach. At our beach in front of our wedding villa, there were zero souls that were not guests. We were easily able to command our private stretch of sand to set up activities, and no random arrivals were able to photobomb our wedding album.
The tropics are fondly known for their warmth. Heat and humidity are fine when lounging with a cocktail next to a swimming pool, but when you're dressed to the nines — or at least the sevens — special thought should be given to the choice of fabric and style of dress or suit. I knowingly picked a vintage-style dress with a train and sleeves, fully aware of its inappropriateness for the tropics. I did, however, charter the shortest route possible to the seaside floral arch for the 5-minute ceremony, and had a second, short white cocktail dress ready for the after-wedding celebrations. My groom ditched the idea of a suit jacket altogether, and went for the shirt-and-waistcoat look. I've also seen (at least in photos) couples going for the linen shirt and shorts / casual flowy white dress look, which is probably more sensible. Unless of course you have traditional elder members of the family who you need to appease with the full regalia.
For ladies (and some men), when negotiating with a hair and makeup artist, make sure the service you engage is for the whole wedding —including touch-ups. The subtle makeup you thought you had applied does not look quite so subtle with beads of sweat added.
This may seem obvious, but unless you know you will only be walking on a hard surface, choose suitable footwear. High heels may make your posture sexier, but that doesn't matter if you soon land straight on your bum in the sand. I went with a silver pair of sandals. The dress was just long enough to cover my toes and you couldn't even notice it on the photos. A handful of our female guests turned up in heels, only to kick them off a few minutes after arrival.
Generally speaking, kids get restless and older folk get tired easily. Add the heat and the outdoors into the equation and it gets exponentially worse. The bride and groom can be having the best day of their lives, but the moment any guest stops having fun, so do the happy couple. When picking a venue, make sure to cater to your higher-maintenance guests. If we had gone with the resort option, we would've hired a babysitter and an extra room to put the children in later in the proceedings so the parents could enjoy themselves. Luckily for us at our chosen villa, the kids were close enough and distracted enough (with the television/games room and swimming pool) that we didn't need any additional babysitters, plus the parents were still able to have fun. As for the older folk, we made sure they had seats during the ceremony -- with a fan and an air-conditioned room never further than a few steps away. They aunties were able to rest at will, without feeling like they were ditching the party or worst still, missing out. They say "happy wife, happy life". Similarly, albeit sadly without the rhyme, happy guests, happy wedding.
by LVH Marketing