Destination Weddings: Thailand – Perfect beach wedding attire

Beach Wedding at Merlin Phuket

Destination weddings are hugely popular and a wedding on the beach can be magical.  If you are in a dilemma about how to pick the right dress, jewellery, hair style, footwear or menswear, here are our top tips for the bride, groom and guests. The perfect beach wedding look is within easy reach.

Your guests’ comfort and style

Your wedding in Thailand will be a big affair for all your guests who are flying in to watch two of their favourite people get married. Make sure you keep recommendations on their wedding attire as simple as possible. Clothes should be non crease, simple to pack items. Perfect beach wedding attire should be cool enough to wear in the heat and easy to layer up and down as the daytime cools into evening. Shoes are a nightmare to wear on the beach so encourage tan or black leather sandals for the men and make sure everyone knows it is okay to go barefoot.

Encourage your guests to integrate a colour you select

Beach weddings can be a little dull without a strong swathe of colour to contrast the pale surroundings, so perhaps encourage guests to incorporate orange, red or a vibrant blue for a tie, a hairpiece or a shawl? Just a hint of colour can make the perfect contrast. Many people go for a white linen theme for everyone attending and it can look a bit washed out.

A wedding dress, not a beach dress

Yes, it’s a beach wedding but don’t under dress. While you need to look in harmony with the beach, your outfit needs to be distinguishable from a regular sundress. Wearing a sundress with a flower in your hair will look fun on the day but later, you may realise that you didn’t look anything like a bride. However, don’t be afraid of trying a coloured option.

Make sure that your dress is light and breathable since not all fabrics work for a beach wedding. An airy sheath is most beach friendly, but if you want to wear a full skirt, make sure you choose a dress constructed of a lighter fabric that allows for movement. If you really want to go all out for a large ballroom type dress, make sure it can bustle easily. Dresses with lace trim can be difficult because they pick up debris from the beach. Instead, choose a lightweight fabric like chiffon or charmeuse so your gown flows in the breeze and drys quickly if you take a paddle.

Hair style and decoration

Hair and Jewellery, perfect for a beach wedding
Hair and Jewellery, perfect for a beach wedding

While choosing a hairstyle remember that beaches tend to get windy and hot. Wear a braid or bun that won’t get messy in the wind. Perhaps you could decorate your hair with flowers and wreaths made from local flowers? Tropical arrangements can be understated and still be stunning. Choosing to wear your hair down or wear a veil is a bit risk because of the strong gusts of wind that occur on the shore. Also, if you wear your hair down, you might get a sweaty neck.

Makeup

Do not go for heavy makeup as the humidity won’t support it and you will look smudged in no time. Go for softer eye shadows and keep lip colour to softer pink or nudes. Have a plan in place for mopping up perspiration and adding a light transluscent powder throughout the event if you tend to perspire//shine a lot

Jewellery

Your jewellery needs to be in harmony with the views around you. Refrain from  large ethnic jewellery and go for delicate statement pieces. Intricate silver or pearls look beautiful with the tropical light of Thailand.

Flat shoes, bare feet or foot jewellery

Foot Jewellery
Foot Jewellery available on Etsy by Passion Flower Jewelery

There will be lots of sand, so let your feet breath in summer flip flops, sandals or barefoot. There are also some wonderful foot jewellery that you can buy from sites such as Etsy. They look like bejewelled shoes but in fact you are bare footed and they can be a perfect addition to nailing the ‘beach wedding’ attire look.  A French manicure on your toes will make your feet look totally vibrant on a Thai beach. If you and your guests are barefoot, have a runner made of fabric or thick flower petals to help keep the soles of your feet cool. Flower petals won’t be the best option if there is a strong breeze.

High heeled shoes are possible

I would recommend going barefoot on the beach and then wear flats elsewhere. If you switch from barefeet to heels you may worry about your dress looking too short. If you insist on heels, keep them on throughout and have your wedding planner arrange for a little runway for you to walk down along the sand so that the heels won’t sink.

A wrap/shawl

It’s always advisable to carry a light wrap or summer shrug with you in case the weather cools, or it turns to night before all the elements of the ceremony are done. You can opt for a light weight pashmina in natural tones or go for a bolder cotton scarf. If you love florals, a pashmina with flowers will be lovely too and will help to keep the sun off your shoulders and keep you warm as the evening kicks in.

Time of day

Plan on having your wedding commence as the sun is beginning to set, or an hour before if you have lots planned. This will give you the best light for photography/cinematography and a good level of coolness for you and the guests. However, even at 5pm you and your guests will need sunscreen. As a side note, if you sunbathe prior to the wedding, watch those straplines!

Flowers

Flowers also don’t like the hot sun and can be tricky to work with. Choose a ceremony design and flowers that can hold up in the heat. Orchids, chrysanthemums, and plumeria are surprisingly hardy and hold up well in almost any kind of weather, but consult with someone who has organised many Thai weddings and they are sure to offer the best advice.

The Groom

Perfect beach wedding attire for the groom
Perfect beach wedding attire for the groom

Grooms often wear linen suits, but if it’s really hot, men can forgo the jacket and wear a loose shirt and pants.  Tan sandals or flipflops look just fine as long as they are matching for all men involved in the main ceremony. If you expect your groom to turn up in a full tux, be prepared for most of it to be removed in under an hour. Unless you are not bothered about those all important keepsake photos, don’t have your fella show up in boardshorts to get married! On a final note, men don’t like sweat marks either, so cool, light coloured, loose fitting pants and shirts are ideal.

Final tips

Collage of a Thai Beach Wedding

Make sure there is plenty of shade on the beach for you and your guests. You can make a simple cover with 4 wooden poles and a white cotton cover. Make sure any little ones running around are wearing sun screen and are well hydrated, in fact that goes for you and all your guests. Sending round trays of water every 20 minutes will be well received. Keep the ceremony fairly short and always, always have a back up venue very close by in case of a downpour. Source as much as you can locally to save on money and on the environment. And finally, be very wary of having an elephant in your ceremony. Elephants are treated very badly in order to ‘break them in.’ and get very hot on the beach too. Let them live as free as possible.

That’s it! I hope you enjoy your wedding in a Thailand paradise!

 

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Why getting married in Thailand may be the best idea you ever had

Wedding on a Thai beach

When choosing the location of your destination wedding, the are so many places that really stand out. If you imagine tropical flowers, colourful food, gracious hosts and an exotic holiday spot for all your guests, then consider Thailand. Here are a selection of reasons why getting married in Thailand may be the best idea you ever had.

Amazing backdrops

Pak Meng Beach, Trang, Thailand
Pak Meng Beach, Trang, Thailand

Thailand is full of natural beauty. The beaches stunning of course,  but you can also hold your wedding at a jungle lodge, a mountain retreat, in a botancial garden or even at a private villa. Whatever you choose, you can be sure that Thailand will be your wedding dream.

Delicious food

Hor Mok Thale - seafood mousse
Hor Mok Thale – seafood mousse

Your guests will love the vibrant, fresh and delicious food that you serve. Thai food is ideal for a wedding and it is only when you come to Thailand that you experience it at its best. Thai food is zesty, colourful, healthy and inspiring. All top hotels in Thailand will also have an international chef to serve western food options to your guests for those who don’t have a pallete for Thai food.

Cost effective staff

Thai women in traditional dress
Thai women in traditional dress

Thailand is called the Land of Smiles and with good reason. If you are considering getting married in Thaikand, everyone around you will be gracious and thoughtful. Your wedding can also be well staffed without breaking the bank. There are many expat wedding planners in Thailand and they can help you navigate the wedding planning process. Wedding Planners based in Thailand are going to be more cost effective than a planner based in your home country.

Local traditions

Thai Monk Walking on Rose Petals
You can hire monks to perform a blessing ceremony

Many wedding couples incorporate Thai customs into their ceremony. Buddhist monks are happy to bless a wedding couple in an ancient and beautiful Buddhist blessing, or wedding planners can also help you incorporate any wedding traditions you would like.

Flowers

Thai Flowers

Flowers are everywhere in Thailand – they are gorgeous and inexpensive. You can hold your wedding in a beautiful garden surrounded by thousands of plants and trees, or make the most stunning arrangements at your venue. Even the beach can be strewn with petals.

Thai Lanterns

Thai lanterns at a wedding

Lighting a sky lantern and letting it float away is considered good luck. The Buddhist belief is that misfortune will fly away with these beautiful Tha lanterns. The offering of lanterns is also said to symbolise knowledge – their light guiding those who release it being on the right path in life. You can incorporate these and many other Thai customs into your wedding, giving a uniquely Asian flair to your wedding event.

Holiday destination for your wedding guests

Girls in the ocean on Ko Phi Phi

Turn your destination wedding into a holiday for your guests without missing out on your own honeymoon. Thailand is an awesome place to invite your friends and together you can snorkel, take Thai cookery lessons, get a massage, go jungle trekking or just hang out at the beach. You can have your wedding event with some days planned together and then encourage your guest to explore Thailand themselves while you, separately, embark on your honeymoon vacation too.

Modern and Chic Resorts

4seasonsKohSamui2

Whether you are planning an opulent wedding, or a budget wedding next to bamboo bungalows, there are some wonderfully designed resorts over Thailand. There are many award winning resorts in terms of design or if you are on a budget – plug in to the power of a local Facebook group to find a  budget gem.

Year round beach destination

Soneva Kiri Resort, Thailand
Soneva Kiri Resort, Thailand

Thailand has a rainy season between June and November but it is not at all like the monsoon season you are probably imagining. It doesn’t rain everyday and if it does rain it will only be for an hour or two. Koh Samui is ideal if you want to get married between June and November because this island is unusually dry and it only rains a lot during November. If you are planning a wedding during low season on the other coast (Krabi, Trang, Phang Nga or Phuket) then you will be getting excellent prices. Just make sure you have an indoor alternative plan and your wedding will go without a hitch.

Bangkok

Sky Bar, Bangkok
Sky Bar, Bangkok

You can make your wedding a combined city/beach break, and delight your guests by throwing a party in the chic city of Bangkok. Bangkok has some amazing private party venues including rooftop bars that are on the list of top rooftop bars of the world.

What time of year is best?

December to May is the official “hot/dry” season, but it is hot and humid all year round. It is hottest in April and you may find the heat too much in this month.

The rainy/green season lasts from June to November but it is not monsoon weather as you may imagine it. It doesn’t rain everyday and if it does, it will only be for an hour or so. If you book between June and November you will get much better rates and all you need do is make sure your venue has an indoor back up plan.

The east coast is drier than the west coast except in November when it rains for most of the month. If you want to get married on Koh Samui or surrounding islands we recommend you don’t do it in November. We hope this has given you inspiration for destination wedding in Thailand

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Destination Weddings: Thailand. How to legalise your marriage under Thai Law

Thailand is a wonderful location for a wedding and a real favourite of those planning a glamorous destination wedding. There are amazing wedding locations, wedding planners and awesome hotels all ready to cater to you. However, unless you officially get married in your own country prior to coming to Thailand, you will need to legalise your marriage under Thai law. This blog simplifies the steps of this process for you, so here goes: 

4 steps to legalise your marriage under Thai law

  1. Get a document certifying that you are eligible to get married signed by your own embassy in Bangkok
  2. Translate this into Thai
  3. Get the English and Thai version authenticated by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok
  4. Go to any district office with all your papers and passport to formally register your marriage (or get a wedding planner to help you have a legal representative come to your wedding to do this)

Will my Thai marriage be recognised in my own country?

Please check with the embassy of your own country but for the UK, if you have legalised your marriage under Thai law then the marriage will be automatically recognised under UK law. The Thai marriage certificate will be in Thai only but you can get a “sworn translation” from a translation agency so that you can use the document for legal purposes in the UK.  The consular section of your embassy in Bangkok can arrange for your marriage to be recorded in the UK. This is not a legal requirement but can be handy if you lose your certificate.

Here are the 4 steps explained in more detail if you want to get officially married in Thailand.

1. Affirmation to Marry

Thai authorities require every foreign national wishing to marry in Thailand to obtain an ‘Affirmation of Freedom to Marry.’ This cannot be obtained in your home country so you will need to apply to your country’s embassy in Bangkok. The affirmation is a form that confirms that you are legally free to marry and has to be signed by you in the presence of a consular official. The procedure is that after you have signed the document at the embassy, you return the next day to collect it and by this time it will have been countersigned by an official from the embassy. Your embassy will charge you for this service and they will need your passport and evidence of termination of any previous marriages too. (divorce certificate or death certificate). Make sure you take original documents and not photocopies.

2. Translate the Affirmation

Once you have obtained the ‘Affirmation of Freedom to Marry’, the form needs to be translated into Thai and there are many translation services near all the embassies which is helpful.

3. Authentication from Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Now that you have the ‘Affirmation to Marry’ and the Thai translation, submit these forms to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok. The ministry authenticates the forms and returns them to you the following day. Don’t miss this step out as it is the only way to legalise your marriage under Thai Law. Note that this office will be very busy since all nationalities will need to get a signature here. A fee is payable for this service and if you are not in a hurry and don’t want to hang around Bangkok, you can submit the forms to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by post. Many translation agencies can help with this.

Address of Ministry of Foreign Affairs

4. Get Married At The District Registrar (Amphur Office)

Once you have all the above paperwork, visit any district (amphur) office which is similar to a town hall. This can be done anywhere in Thailand, not just in Bangkok. For the marriage to be valid under Thai law it must be registered at the amphur office so you are officially married on the day that you register at the this office. Don’t forget all your documents including translations and your passport. There is not usually any need to make an appointment, but go with somebody who can speak Thai.

You have 3 months to do this after the first 3 steps have been done, after which the documents are no longer valid.

If you have a Thai partner they must submit their Identification Card and their House Registration Certificate in order to legalise your marriage under Thai law.

Once the marriage registration is completed, you and your husband or wife will both be given a copy of the Marriage Registration Certificate. And that is it you are married and your marriage is instantly recognised practically anywhere in the world!

Marriage Registration Certificate

Final Tips

1. Here is a document which outlines all of the above by the British Embassy along with their suggested format for the Affirmation to Marry document.

2. If you want an agency to help you complete all or any of the above, we recommend Red Elephants Legals

3. If you want a wedding planner who can take care of all of the above, have the Registrar come to the wedding instead of you going to the amphur office, and organise your wedding and/or honeymoon, we recommend ‘Take Us to Thailand’ – http://takeustothailand.com/about/

4. Getting married officially in your own country BEFORE/AFTER coming to doing a blessing style wedding in Thailand means that none of the above has to be done.

Enjoy your wedding!

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Featured Image by Evo Flash via Flickr.com