Looking for a wedding venue can be very daunting. When I got engaged my partner and I wanted a small wedding that would be unforgettable, stress-free, in paradise and without breaking the bank. For all you loved up couples looking for a Thailand Wedding (Kata beach, Phuket & Koh Samui specifically) here is my research I did for my wedding that may be helpful to you.
Thailand is known to be very tourist-friendly, affordable and have one of Asia’s most beautiful tropical islands. There are many english speaking wedding organisers and photographers.
What was our criteria?
The easiest way to narrow down your search is to know what you want. Here’s a list of our criteria:
- Budget of AUD 10,000 (approx 300,000 baht)
- By the sea
- Great reception venue.
- Great food menu and drinks selection
- Wedding package – because I’m lazy!
Most major resorts have wedding packages so I mainly searched for resorts.
I spent many days researching and emailing online to many different resorts, these were the ones that met some or all of our criteria.
If you google weddings in Wedding in Kata Phuket, you will no doubt stumble upon Katathani. Their website details everything and it’s hard not to book an appointment. Onnalin was kind enough to show us around the beach, rooms, and the beach front garden ceremony/reception area if you wish. I was interested in the Beachfront Garden because the beach isn’t as private as we would like. The beachfront garden is very private and away from the hotel guests main areas. Their prices are very affordable and within budget and they provide you details about everything they do. There’s a quick and easy form online you can choose to customise your wedding. I was very impressed with the venue, wedding packages and the rooms. I can’t say anything about food because I didn’t book for a taste testing. Onnalin was very nice and went through everything with us. Katathani was for sure on top of our list.
Sri Panwa is very famous for their Baba Nest sea view as you will see them in many magazines. This resort was a bit out of the way but many people raved about this place so I had to see for myself. You will need to book an appointment. Upon arrival Jiew was our guide and she showed us around Sri Panwa on a buggy. This place was amazing, the designs and interior is very modern all looks out into the sea. My first impression of Baba Nest that the view is definitely very beautiful but the floor area is actually looks small and needs to be repainted. It can fit about 40 people if my memory is correct. I guess my expectations of Sri Panwa was a bit too high, though, Eric loved it. I did however liked the look of being surrounded by water (you can swim in it!). It is definitely magical but it was well over our budget and it is required to have a minimum stay of X days (which can be divided between your guest which is something I don’t want to think about). The reception area was a bit cosy but it’s good for a very small party. It was definitely nice but not something we were looking for. There’s a bigger area but the number of our estimated guest cannot make up for it. The big one is by the pool side with a big bar look out towards the sea. You can also have a garden option but I wouldn’t recommend it because there are a lot of mosquitoes there. The staff are exceptional and very accommodating.
Boathouse isn’t the kind of venue I had in mind but it was a nice to see something different and very modern in a simplistic way. Had a very sailor’s design with the life ring and all. The designs is mostly bright and white with clean straight lines. It looks fun, laid-back and had a good vibe! The problem we had was that their beach isn’t very private. You might get people in their swimwear in your photographs. But overall, I really would consister it! We didn’t really make an appointment and just walked in. The staff tried their best to show us around. I heard they have amazing food.
Fun and casual.
Rocky’s is south-east of the island. A bit of a distance from the airport and Chaweng beach. But don’t be put off by their location because they have an amazing resort. My first impressions of Rocky’s was very posh and cosy. I loved every bit of interior and furniture. I did want that red colour theme for my wedding with an Asian touch. This resort was just that. I loved the villas, the restaurant and the staff. However, Eric and I didn’t like the reception as much. It felt too cosy and closed. I think something more open would’ve suited us. It’s not a bad thing since it is fully airconditioned. They all so have a childcare center. I made sure I kept that in mind ;-). Ann the wedding planner took us through. Besides Katathani, they are also very organised. I was very impressed with the information provided as it covered almost everything you want to ask (including about Koh Samui!). There is however a minimum of 3 nights stay for the bridal couple and minimum of 6 night stay during peak season which is very common. The problem we would face with Rocky’s was the beach wedding. There are villas on that beach which if you’re not quick to snatch up, could be occupied by other guests who will be able to see your wedding (if you don’t mind). I’m sure they can ask them to stay in their room so they don’t get in the photo. Anyway, I really loved Rocky’s as a resort and would recommend my guest to stay there.
Romantic and posh.
Honestly this was the last resort we ever looked at. Since the person to take us around was overseas, Anna took us around. Upon arrival we were greeted with a nice cold smoothy. I looked around and the place feels really grand. A lot of open space and I loved the sound of water from the pool water feature by the lobby. Rooms, restaurant and beach area was nice and open and we had a lot of options for ceremony and reception venue all in the one place. It was not as brightly lit as Rocky’s or Boathouse but I secretly loved the fact that there is no minimum stay because that condition really bothers me. Eric loved it at first sight. I was still unsure because I’ve seen too many good venues and really had to sit down and decide how to choose our final venue.
High-class and grand.
Phuket is much easier to get to than Koh Samui and Katathani wedding is all done on an online form so it’s very easy but I didn’t really like the reception area. Nora Buri could be over our budget but Eric really liked Nora Buri and I have no complaints myself.. and there was tons of accommodation for our guest along Chaweng Beach. Both resort was flexible with prices and packages but at the end we chose Nora Buri Resort because the location was great, it was near both the Airport and Chaweng Beach and it had one of the best restaurants in Koh Samui.
For 24 guests, an Elephant and Fireworks, we managed to have a wedding within our budget at the end 😀
Here are some other resorts I think is worth looking at but unfortunately I didn’t have time to visit.
- SALA Resorts and Spa
- Andara Phuket
- The Bell Pool Villa Resort Phuket
- The Pavilions Resorts Phuket
- Indigo Pearl Resort Phuket
Some of these wedding planners I’ve contacted and they’ve been a great help in giving me an idea of what my budget could get me. As long as you have an idea what you want and your budget, wedding planners are great advisors and help to make your day perfect. (Some wedding planners are specific to regions but they usually can direct you someone you can contact).
- The Wedding Bliss by Nanya
- The Romance Planners
- Phuket Sunset Weddings
- Luxury Events Phuket
- Thailand Weddings
Photographers can be really pricy in Thailand but I like to look at photographers portfolios for wedding ideas and location. I honestly left my photographer to the last minute but you shouldn’t if you’re picky about the quality of your pictures. I wasn’t so picky and didn’t mind non-artistic shots. The photographer I hired is from TropicPic who happen to be the cheapest photographers I can find online. It’s really simple to hire one through their agency. They are a Russian company and the photographer I had from Koh Samui spoke very little English but he was very reliable and only make colour adjustments with my photos which was good enough me. I got good coverage, got lots of photos and received them all digitally :-D! The photos was perfect to make a great photobook which I have done online myself with PhotoBox.
Other photographers I found very friendly and great work are:
- NET Photography
- D-Imageplus Photography
- Stelmakh Studio (Russian, limited English based in Koh Samui)
- Koh Samui Photography
- Kireewong Foto
- Weerayut Janthai
Legal Marriage in Thailand
Most wedding planners and resorts can help you sort out a legal marriage in Thailand for a fee. It is done in Bangkok. If you are not in Bangkok, the fee usually includes flights to Bangkok, a representative and translations of your paper work and can do it in 1 day. I decided not to do it as it almosts cost 1000 AUD from Koh Samui with one or two of the resorts, where as if I do paper work back home (Victoria, Australia) it’ll only cost me about from 270 – 340 AUD. If you do some research I’m sure you can find a service much cheaper.
The celebrant back home said that if I did it overseas, I’ll be recognised as married but change of name will not be automatic as I would have fill in a legal change of name form instead. So check out what your country requires!
If you however choose to do it yourself, it usually takes 2 weeks. You can pay extra to get it done faster. A trip advisor forum topic for Australians doing it themselves.
Some suggested links I found via Google:
Wedding Gowns and Accessories
If you want to know where to get a great bargin you should check out my following posts:
- Last Minute Shopping in Bangkok where I bought the cute elephant toys in bulk and wedding shoes, pants and bridesmaid dresses!
- JIANGNAN DADAO (WEDDING DRESS STREET) although not in Thailand, if you ever get the chance to go to Guangzhou in China, this is the place to buy your bargin wedding dress and accessories! There’s mostly white western style dresses, some traditional chinese gowns and tons of evening and bridesmaid gowns! You’ll be drooling! Many studio photographers buy dresses and costumes here!
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the information I’ve provided and good luck with your wedding! Feel free to recommend destination wedding locations and shoppings in the comment below 😉