If you are thinking about getting married in Thailand then this Phuket Destination Wedding Guide is a great place to start!
The destination wedding expert Jeanette of Luxury Events Phuket has kindly helped to write this guide to getting married in Phuket. It has all of the inspiration and information you need to start planning your big day on the picture-perfect island of Phuket.
Situated just off Thailand’s south west coast, the 540km-square-island of Phuket is one of the jewels in Thailand’s tourist crown. This tropical paradise has rapidly increased up the popularity charts when it comes to holiday and honeymoon locations and of course as a destination wedding locale. You’ll find miles of golden sandy beaches that feature an abundance of luxury and boutique hotels, all graciously offering the world-famous Thailand hospitality.
Images: Aidan Dockery
The most straight forward way for non-nationals to tie the knot in Thailand is to have a legal civil ceremony at home first (just see this as a way to complete the necessary paperwork) and then to treat the ceremony or blessing in Thailand as the actual wedding day. If this isn’t an option then you will need to follow some quite specific legal requirements that vary depending on your home country.
Almost all European, American and Australian nationals can legally marry in Thailand, however you will be required to visit your own country’s embassy or consulate in Bangkok first to obtain an affirmation of freedom to marry – this is a legal requirement for your marriage. You will both need your passports for this and if this is not your first marriage, the relevant divorce or death certificates. Again, depending on your home country there may be requirements for you to do additional paperwork in Bangkok before and after your wedding, so be sure to check with your own embassy before embarking on a legal wedding in Thailand.
After you collect your affirmation of freedom to marry from your embassy in Thailand the documents need to be translated to Thai and confirmed by the consulate. A confirm letter must then be sent to the local Amphur in the area you will marry in Thailand, to invite them to the wedding with the marriage certificate prepared and any documents to sign. The Local Amphur will charge to fee to attend the wedding.
Of course there are agencies in Bangkok that can arrange these details for a couple, so that you can arrive in Bangkok and really only need to sign the papers without quite as much running around.
Image: Liam Collard
Once all of your legal documents are complete, a ceremony can then be anything that you would like for your friends and family – on the beach, in a hotel’s grounds, on board a boat, in the breathtaking gardens of a private villa, on a remote island…
If the legal wedding route seems too difficult and a little overwhelming then as mentioned most of our clients decide to legally marry in a registry office where they live and then choose a blessing ceremony. There are a number of wedding celebrants across Thailand who offer these non-religious blessings.
Couples can have a religious ceremony but in the case of most religions they must bring their own priest. If Catholic, they must meet with the Priest in Thailand and spend time in lectures with him, and also have references from their priest in their own country. The Priests will not just marry anyone without knowing who they are or spending time with them.
Of course if the couple have not gone through the channels in Bangkok to legalise their wedding, then they can still have a religious ceremony but it does not make the wedding legal.
Image: Khun Deng
At Luxury Events Phuket we tend to use private villas for weddings as this gives a wedding a really exclusive feel with no hotel guests as onlookers! These types of villas are rented on a case by case basis and a good wedding planner can offer you a list of options. Couples getting married in Thailand tend to go for the private villa option as it means that if their guests want to party until late they can!
There are of course some incredibly beautiful boutique hotels, larger resorts and spa hotels on the island but be sure to check what their noise and music policy is as some have issues with music after 10.30pm for an outdoor wedding. You do not fly to Thailand for a destination wedding to end up inside a ballroom or restaurant, you want to be outdoors under the stars!
Image: Khun Leaw
Some major airlines now fly directly from the UK and Europe to Phuket however the majority of flights are indirect requiring a short connection at Bangkok. Phuket International Airport is situated in the north of the island, however it is still only around 45 minutes by taxi to the resorts on the south of the island.
Some of the most popular places to stay in Phuket are some of the liveliest and busiest such as Patong Beach, but there are plenty of different vibes with something to suit everyone. Some of the beach areas to look at are: Patong Beach, Karon Beach, Kata Beach, Kamala Beach, Surin Beach, Bangtao Beach, Mai Khao Beach, Nai Harn Beach and Cape Panwa.
Image: Aidan Dockery
Couples can marry on any day of the week in Thailand. In Phuket the high season is from November to May which is the time of the year with less rain. In the low season the hotels and resorts cost less but in terms of suppliers and wedding planners, the costs are the same all year around.
Image: Khun Jaran
There is a certain romance of incorporating local traditions into your wedding ceremony and this is especially true in Thailand.
When a couple chooses to have a traditional blessing the groom and the wedding party (including the bridesmaids who carry symbolic gifts such as an envelope of money) are led to the bride’s room by a procession of Thai Long Drummers and dancers. The bride then joins the parade and so the couple arrive at the ceremony together. Buddist monks then perform a blessing and water blessing ceremony. You can also have a family blessing and a sand pouring ceremony where the bride and groom each pour a glass of sand into a bottle which symbolizes two becoming one. Usually our clients choose to have a blessing and add in the sand pouring ceremony.
Image: Alex Marks Photography
Music and entertainment
We have everything available in Thailand!
- Bands – jazz, accoustic, pop, dance, latin
- String quartets
- Saxophone players
- DJ’s – many styles of DJ
- Fire twirlers
- Komloy – floating lanterns that you send up into the sky and make a wish for the bride and groom
- Baby elephants
Image: Aidan Dockery
Most people request fireworks, fire twirlers, komloy and the baby elephant after the ceremony for a photo opportunity. We also have a disco tuk tuk to hire which is fun and a great photo booth backdrop.
Image: Julian Wainwright
Food and drink
Of course Thai food is chosen by almost everyone and we tend to serve it ‘family style’ in the middle of the table for sharing! Refreshing welcome drinks of Fresh Lime Soda or Lemongrass Iced Tea go down well with guests. Favourite cocktails tend to include Mai Tais, Mango Mojitos, Pineapple and Lemongrass Martinis, Lychee Martinis.
Image: Liam Collard
- Find a wedding planner as soon as possible because they can save you time and money. Trust her to put a team together which will deliver.
- Give your wedding planner your budget from the beginning so that they can create a bespoke wedding for you around that budget.
- Remember you are in the tropics so designs you may like in other countries with cooler climates will not always translate well here.
Image: Julian Wainwright
- There are two sides to Thailand, the very low budget beach weddings and the very high end private villa weddings. You get what you pay for; don’t think that because it is Thailand, the prices should be low. If the prices are low, then for sure the quality and quantity is low.
- We get many, many, enquiries from clients who have booked wedding packages with hotels and then do not like the style, design and details. Always do your research on each hotel package and check if the package is compulsory to hold a wedding at that hotel. If the package is not compulsory, then you have the budget to bring in a wedding planner and produce a wedding that you really love.
- Be prepared – your wedding dress will potentially get trashed!!
- Some of the most beautiful areas to see when in Thailand is Krabi, Phi Phi and Phang Nga Bay. Hopefully you will get the chance to stay in Krabi or Phi Phi on your honeymoon or arrange a boat trip to those areas when your guests are in Thailand.
Image: Liam Collard
Has this Destination Wedding Guide tempted you to get married in Phuket?
Thank you to the wonderful wedding team over at Luxury Events Phuket for helping to put together this detailed big day information.
Destination Wedding Guides are meant as just that – a guide to getting started with your destination wedding planning. Please always consult an official or expert in the country you wish to marry as well as at home to ensure that you have the correct and up-to-date legal paperwork requirements for a legally binding wedding ceremony. We would always recommend using a reputable wedding planner (such as Luxury Events Phuket) who can fully assist you in such processes.