A Koh Samui Destination Wedding (and how they made it work!) by Emily Raftery Photography

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Today’s bride Jade contacted me confessing that she was getting married in Thailand with little ones in tow, and having never been there she wasn’t entirely sure where to start. So it gives me warm fuzzies to see the result of Jade & Lee’s amazing day thanks to Emily Raftery Photography!, and I asked Jade to answer a few questions about the why, what and how’s behind the day for all your brides to be who are thinking about rocking a destination wedding. Enjoy!

Photographer Emily Raftery Photography | Villa Baan Samlarn | Dress Jackie dress from Jessica Bridal | Bridesmaids Dresses Esprit | Groom & Groomsman Gear Gibson pants & waistcoat | Wedding Planner Dreamcatchers | Hair Samantha Kerdphon | Makeup Jane Maddox | Videographer Mambo Photography

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What inspired you to have a destination wedding?

As I’m a Kiwi & Lee a Brit, we thought it was only fair that we had the wedding half way to suit both sides. Plus who doesn’t love a destination wedding?!

Why did your choose Thailand and more specifically Koh Samui?

We specifically choose Koh Samui because we knew it was an established wedding destination & would be able to accommodate our specific dreams. It also helped that Lee had been there before & it was on my bucket list, so why the heck not.

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How did you organise the flights/boat transport/accommodation for your guests? 

Because we knew this would be a huge expense for our guests we gave them the dates a year in advance so they could save their pennies & left it to them to book their flights.

We were going to leave it to the guests to book own accommodation but we felt that was too cruel & wanted to make this as easy as possible for them. We found a resort that was within everyone’s budget & close to the villa where we were to be married. This was the best decision we made because by the end of the week our guests were all besties & became an extension of our family. Plus we got to have everyone in the same place, which meant quality time with all.

Did your guests arrive a few days before the wedding or stay on longer at the end?

So that everyone could get to know each other better & actually have a holiday we arranged for our hen & stag dos to be on the week leading up to our big day. So this meant everyone came for the week before & left a couple of days after the wedding. Some went home & others travelled to other places.

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Did you buy a wedding package via the resort? If so, what did it include?

When having a destination wedding there is one person you need most in your life & that’s a wedding planner. I turned to Google & recommendations, where I found 2 possibilities. After many discussions with both parties I went with Aey from Dreamcatchers because of her patience with all my questions & the amazing job she did for the girl who recommended her to me.

What you get with Aey as a wedding planner is basically everything!!  She helped find the wedding venue, the resort for guests, negotiations with costs, arranged catering & drink, transport for guests, she made suggestions through past experiences & contacts which saved us so much time. But most importantly she brought all my ideas to life on our special day which I thought was going to be impossible.

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What was the biggest challenge about having a destination wedding?

Our biggest challenge was not being able to view venues in person & having to rely on pictures to make a decision. I’m a very hands on person so trying to visualise my ideas in the place we’d chosen was hard. Plus our wedding planner had never done a wedding there before so it was all new for both of us.

What was the best bit about having a destination wedding?

Having our dream beach wedding in the most stunning location, you just can’t beat that!

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Did you stick around for your honeymoon or head somewhere else?

Our two kids prevented us from having a honeymoon, so we arranged for family to babysit & had a mini moon instead which was 2 nights away. This was Lee’s responsibility & he did an amazing job.

We took a private boat from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan where we stayed at Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan Villas. It was exactly what we needed after wedding stress & chaos. We had a beach front villa with our own private pool, so the only reason we needed to leave the villa was for food & cocktails, oh & a couples massage – absolute bliss. Well done hubby 🙂

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What tips do you have for other couples wanting to elope or have a destination wedding?

Hmmm the only tips we’d suggest are…

Get a wedding planner that you can communicate well with & understands your style. That means you can relax & not stress the small stuff.

And finally don’t hesitate about this decision or let anyone sway you. It’s your day & if you want it in a tropical location then just do it, you won’t regret it! Our wedding was the most magical day & we want to do it all again!!

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Photographer Emily Raftery Photography
Villa Baan Samlarn
Dress Jackie dress from Jessica Bridal
Bridesmaids Dresses Esprit
Groom & Groomsman Gear Gibson pants & waistcoat
Wedding Planner Dreamcatchers
Hair Samantha Kerdphon
Makeup Jane Maddox
Videographer Mambo Photography