Getting married on a tropical beach in Thailand: it’s one of the “ideal dream weddings”, a fantasy for many, yet one that is increasingly easy to arrange and – with the exorbitant costs of wedding arrangements in the west – one that might even work out cheaper than a ceremony at home!
Railay Beach in Krabi is one of those competing in the fierce “tropical beach” wedding market – and nature is definitely on its side. The towering limestone cliffs, emerald green water and soft golden sand make a unique and dramatic backdrop for your vows that certainly has the edge over your average swaying palm trees. Couple this with a local legend that tells of a wedding (between a beautiful princess and a half man-half dragon) that took place right here on these shores and you have a powerful atmosphere of romance as the spirits of the couple are said to live on in the area.
In short: Railay is made for lovers.
Sun, sea and spreadsheets?
But how to go about organising all that is required for your big day? Big resorts – or smaller boutique hotels that specialise in weddings and honeymoons – are now offering wedding packages for couples who wish to get married in Railay, or elsewhere along the spectacular Krabi coast. These packages are often themed – for example if you wish to have a traditional Thai ceremony, with the pouring of water from a conch shell and monks’ blessing, or a western-style white wedding – but can also be tailored to your individual needs. There are also several companies who specialise in wedding planning in Thailand: these are the people to contact if you need advice, ideas and something really special – though such service will not come cheap.
Included in all packages is pretty much everything you would have to do for yourself if arranging your wedding back home: all location set ups, sound systems if required, a celebrant / master of ceremony (religious or non), hair and make-up stylists, a photographer, flower arrangements, including bouquets and corsages, wedding cake, reception drinks and dinner – and anything else you might desire!
Some places can also arrange an official Thai registration of your marriage – though many couples prefer to register their wedding in their home country and simply have the ceremony here, as this avoids the extra embassy paperwork required in order to clear the way for the Thai registration. If you do want to do it “for real” here, factor in a 2 – 3 night stay in Bangkok (during the week rather than a weekend) prior to your arrival to organise this – and contact your embassy there to find out the steps required.
Guests, weather and what to wear
Other practicalities to consider before jumping on a plane: the number of guests you wish to invite and where they will stay. Some people prefer an intimate wedding with only close friends and family – others invite up to 50 people or more. Bigger hotels can offer more convenience in this respect as they will often have a range of accommodation, from the honeymoon style suite for the bride and groom, to more modest rooms for family and friends, as well as group rates for 15+ rooms. Though if you don’t all need to be in one hotel, there will usually be a good choice of places nearby.
You may also like to think about the time of year you wish to get married: though spring and early summer weddings are traditional in Europe, this time of year in Krabi is the changeable rainy season, so you are equally likely to have a grey, overcast or a clear blue sky.
On the other hand, if you are shy, you may prefer the risk of bad weather in the “low” season (May – October): beach weddings obviously attract a fair amount of attention from onlookers and, while rarely intrusive, you will have less of a crowd during these months than during November to April, when there are lots of holiday makers around.
Those on a budget may also prefer May – October when accommodation prices are slashed by up to half. The weather is not all bad, either – all the photos on this page were taken during these months, for example.
For 99.9% guaranteed good weather, however, we would recommend a February or March wedding: these months usually offer hot, sunny weather with blue skies and calm seas.
Last but not least: your wedding outfits. It is possible, with a little forward planning and perhaps a few days here before the big day, to get your dress and / or suit tailor made in Krabi. If you would like to wear Thai traditional costume, these can also be rented – just some possibilities to consider before you try to fit a giant dress and veil into your suitcase!
I do, I do, I do
We leave the final word to an Australian couple who recently got married in Railay: “Our wedding day was truly so perfect & ALL of the staff at [Railay Bay Resort] went to so much trouble to ensure this would be a day to remember. We had a beautiful afternoon ceremony on the beach under an arch decorated with divine flowers. All of the flowers they arranged for us were just beautiful & our banquet dinner was just delicious […] We had an a amazing photographer too that [they] had organised & the stunning scenery made for some great photos to cherish forever.”
This unbiased report on Weddings in Krabi was commissioned by Siam Weddings, an independent wedding consultant and planner, operating throughout Thailand. Sarah is a good friend and we can recommend without hestitation!