In the last few years the wedding business has taken off in a big way on tropical islands like Phuket and Koh Samui in Thailand. Resorts and private villa specialists like Signature Weddings now offer a range of tempting packages, with specialist wedding planners and a team of dedicated staff on hand to help tailor make the perfect joining of souls on the beach.
The image of a marriage with white sand between your toes and calm blue seas as a backdrop is enough to tempt many couples to take the plunge and in many cases the whole family will join the happy couple in paradise to share the moment.Options for that special day include a traditional Buddhist ceremony complete with chanting orange-robed monks or a secular celebrant to read the vows in your own language under a flowered alter on the beach. You can even order an elephant to carry you in style to the ceremony and once you arrive, pre-planning by email removes the stress of the day. Local or expatriate wedding planners make sure everything runs smoothly, with the flowers, food and entertainment all arranged in advance in whatever location you choose.
Apart from the sheer romance, another reason for the boom in holiday weddings is that even when you factor in the price of flights and accommodation, getting married on the soft sands of a tropical island can still work out less expensivethan getting hitched at home. In Thailand, you don't even need to bring a wedding dress or three-piece suit. Local tailors are happy to whip up suitably smart attire for the bride, groom and guests at surprisingly affordable prices, while many couples opt for a more relaxed feel to match the location, which costs even less.
One question that remains is the legality of it all. For those that don't really care, wedding agents can provide a pretty but essentially meaningless certificate. However, to have your union officially registered, all the necessary documents must be translated and approved by both the couple's Embassy and the Foreign Affairs Ministry in advance of the actual ceremony. In some cases, local government officials can be persuaded to turn up to sign the necessary paperwork on the day and once the official stamps are in place a legal wedding certificate is issued, which can be ratified once the couple returns home.
Island style weddings have become so popular that people are now becoming ever more creative with their concepts and designs. Theme weddings are increasingly popular with elaborate decorations, circus performers and festival-like fireworks displays, while some people prefer to hire a yacht for the occasion and say there vows at sea before returning to a luxury beach villa to party round the pool. The days of damp, cold churches and village hall discos are past and destination weddings add a whole new dimension to happiest day of your life.
By Jules Kay