Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Destination - Beach Wedding

Why June? It seems to be the mystical month to marry. And as it is, weddings are associated with romance so it goes it doesn’t matter how it came about, it has always been a pride and joy to be called a June Bride.

Above and beyond the in-and-out status of marriage, romance has always captured the sympathy of the changing times. Celebrities have set an even bigger stage for lavish weddings, think of Tom & Katie’s wedding extravaganza at Odescalchi castle. And now the brides-to-be want a piece of the action.

The ultimate goal is a destination wedding.

Why not? Who doesn’t want to have the endless sea as a backdrop to join hands and exchange rings, or have the vast expanse of nature at sunset to set the mood to declare love to each other?

“Couples are looking for exclusive getaways to have weddings with a more intimate guest lists”, says Vipasiri Napawongdee, PR & Marketing Manager of Zeavola Resort, “it is like vacationing with their closest friends and relatives while having the grandest time of their lives”.

Phi Phi Islands has earned the reputation for being one of the best destinations in this part of the world. Set in the rich bounty of the Andaman Sea, private islands scattered in the infinite stretch of the sapphire waters and numerous luxurious resorts are the idyllic center stage for a once in a lifetime event.

Zeavola Resort is one unique place, set in a nostalgic Thai Village atmosphere (11 Moo 8 Laem Tong, Koh Phi Phi, Krabi; Tel: 02 684 1616). The 48 suites are constructed as individual cabins reminiscent of the olden times, with the convenience of modern room amenities and the luxury of a full service spa at your feet. It’s a dream wedding place where your guests will say, “What an amazing way to get hitched!”

This marvelous wedding-weekend may require some planning, like any other wedding. Consider it as planning a well-deserved vacation. Just picture the ceremony in the beach in a white bikini or a flowing white cotton kaftan, hey, that’s a lot of savings without that white lace gown you only wear once. Add some activities with your favorite people, and it will be one of the best moments of your life.

Splurge may well be the theme of destination weddings. It is not for the shallow pockets. For many brides-to-be, the budget can stretch for this special never-to-be-repeated-day.

Here's how to get it done right. First, there is a choice of a Buddhist or Western wedding. Buddhists weddings normally take place in the morning to accommodate the Monks’ living habits, so there are plenty of activities for the day. A western wedding on the other hand is flexible and can be made at the most romantic time – sunset. A tropical barbeque feast matches the informal setting in a private island nearby or dinner reception in the resort (1,400-3,000B/guest + wedding package;,).

Second, keep in mind registering. Making the marriage legal requires visits to the Registrar’s Office, and in the case of foreigner, to their respective Embassies. The tedious process can be well taken care of by wedding planners like in the case of the Zeavola wedding team.

Third, organize and coordinate with some friends and relatives who are willing to do some legwork, like: setting up an email group to coordinate meeting places; special menus; or researching fun activities and group outings before or after the wedding day. Some guests would also rather sponsor some of the expenses instead of breaking their heads with what gifts to give. For instance, I have gathered some of us closest friend of the bride to pitch in for the photo/dvd shooting fee for the ceremonies. It was a lovely gift that the bride and groom can keep and remind themselves of the ceremony and the wonderful friendships.

Lastly, consider planning transportation and accommodations way ahead of time. In the case of Phi Phi Islands, the flight to Phuket airport is the main travel. The flight costs maybe shouldered by the bride and groom, or some instances relatives and friends may consider it as a short vacation and pay for their own. Reaching the islands maybe done by speed boat (from the Boat Lagoon, about an hour, check for schedules), or by the ultimate luxury of a sea plane (Destination Air, only 12 minutes from Phuket Airport, Tel: 076 328 637). As for accommodations, try to get the group rates.

Sally (Tel: 081 814-0471), a Bangkok based wedding coordinator, says beach destination weddings are in high demand. She says, “…for those who do not like to be bothered by the nitty gritty details, wedding planners are designed to make dreams and wishes come true and have the professional resources. Couples now spend a lot more and even make it a reason to have friends and relatives from all over the world to come and share the special day”.

As an old song says, “when you marry in June you're a bride all your life and the bride groom who marries in June gets a sweetheart for a wife” - an old wives’ tale?

Maybe. Well, June might be the month to wed but better yet, to start planning a wedding.

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