So, you’ve decided you want that dream tropical island wedding? You adventurous little soul, you!
Well, get excited. Get pumped. This is going to be one of the best adventures of your life! You’re putting your hard-earned cash into the most epic group holiday imaginable. Oh yeah and there’s a wedding too, lol. So come on then.. let’s get to planning!
O.K. We’re gonna do it. So where do I even start?
Woohoo! First, give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve picked one of the most beautiful destinations on Earth to get married. The Thai’s know the drill, they’ve been receiving guests for wedding-related holidays for years, particularly in Koh Samui (there’s a reason it’s known as “wedding island”). Anyone who has flown into Koh Samui’s outdoor airport will tell you the same thing; the whole experience of arriving in paradise starts there. So now that your heart is set on Koh Samui, what next? You need three vital pieces of information before you can even think about wedding planning:
1. Wedding Date
2. Budget (that you’ve both agreed on.. I mean it!)
3. Guest Numbers (sending Save The Dates/Invites early will help with this, start with a realistic number)
With this information, you can start sending out email inquiries for quotes. It’s an overwhelming experience as, trust me, there are a lot of venues to choose from. Whether it’s hiring out your own private villa, going with a standard resort wedding package or DIY-ing every detail with a wedding planner based in Koh Samui; the easiest filters will be your 3 non-negotiables above.
When is the best time of year to get married in Koh Samui?
November to January is the official “dry and cool” season, but heat and humidity are always present. Summer (from February to May) is the warmest, while the rainy season lasts from June to September, and you’ll get cooler temps from November to February.
We wanted a warm climate with the least chance of rain and based on the statistics that Ryan compiled (he created a spreadsheet with climate trends for the past 5 years!) mid to late February was the ideal time of year. Right before peak season in March avoiding the price tags and high temperatures (and sweaty wedding photos.. ew!) and right after the tourist influx from Chinese New Year in early Feb.
Not to dampen this blog with climate change rambles but these days, the weather is pretty unpredictable regardless of the season. We struck it lucky on Saturday February 21st, yet the couple on the following Saturday had rain for most of the day. So it’s best to have a wet weather alternative planned just incase, even if it’s highly unlikely that you’ll use it.
Which are the best resorts in Koh Samui for Weddings?
Let’s be real, everyone has a budget to work within. Even in one of the most economical places in the World to get married, there are still overpriced hotels. They are everywhere. So before you accidentally fall in love with a 5-star hotel way out of your price range (like I did.. eeek!), check out this list of Best Wedding Resorts in Koh Samui on TripAdvisor and start sending out those enquiry emails with your guest numbers, dates and food/drink requirements and wait on those quotes to return.
Dee’s tip: Keep in mind that some resorts have a rule that a certain percentage of your guests must stay at their resort in order to have the wedding there. So if you choose a pricey resort, you can add that to your budget too. Oh and did I mention a minimum nights stay requirement too? Set-up fees? Corkage? Yeah.. it’s called hidden fees and there are a heap of them, so make sure you ask about everything! A huge benefit of booking with the Kala Samui was that they didn’t have any requirement for guests to stay at the resort, only the Bride & Groom, which was what we wanted to do anyway.
Should we have our ceremony on the beach?
First of all, I highly recommend having both your wedding ceremony and reception at the same location. That way, your guests can book to stay at that resort or at least don’t have to go far between the two events.
If you’re thinking of getting married on a public beach in Koh Samui; be prepared for random tourists in your wedding photos. Yep, I know they didn’t show you those photos (below) on their websites, but why would they, right?! If this totally kills your “romantic wedding on a secluded, tropical island” buzz, this will cut your wedding resorts list right back to a handful on the island as only a few have their own private beaches and viewing decks.
What time should we have our wedding ceremony?
In the hotter months (from late February onwards, when we decided to get married) resorts tend to hold their wedding ceremonies from 5pm, as it is the coolest time of day. And if you time it just right, it also means you can get those killer sunset/dusk photos.
Do I need to go to Koh Samui and see the resort in person or can I just pick one online?
With the wedding resort, I took a total stab in the dark, I’m not gonna lie. I was taking a huge risk planning an overseas wedding and I knew it. I’d never seen the wedding resort or knew anyone that had gotten married there before.
For all I knew, the photos online could have been photoshopped to all hell and the place was actually a complete dump. The reviews on TripAdvisor could have been written by resort staff and I could have just paid thousands of dollars for a shack by the beach that would give my guests food poisoning and bed bugs (trust me to always think of a worst-case scenario!!).
But whether it was a dump or not; the invitations had been sent, my friends and family had all booked their tickets and accommodation, so I was 100% committed.
There was no going back. So.. I crossed my fingers and toes and hoped for the best. It was all I could do.
Trust in your decision. Whatever you choose, at the end of the day, it’s Thailand. It will be beautiful regardless. So throw down some fresh coconut water and chill out Bridey!
I still don’t know which resort to choose. How did you choose?
Trust me, I totally know what you’re going through. It took me literally months to decide which island in Thailand to get married on, let alone which resort to choose once i’d decided on Koh Samui. It really depends on your personality and the things you find most important.
Ryan and I are hippy nutters. We love the outdoors, hiking, getting out into nature and really learning about culture and language when we travel. Going for a locally owned and run eco-resort was a deliberate choice for us (read more about their story here). We didn’t want to get married in some luxury 5 star resort that looks like it could be anywhere in the world. The Kala Samui was our venue of choice because it had three elements we adored, it was forest meets cliff-side meets the coast. It was an eco-resort built into a cliff around the existing terrain. A total bonus was that the resort staff were so accommodating and worked hard to make sure the day was perfect for us, they were such humble, beautiful people. I didn’t get any perks for writing this, I literally just want these guys to get the recognition for the hard work they do. We were totally blown away with how idyllic this place was.
Should I plan pre-wedding activities for my guests?
Yes. Totally. And not even because you should. Because it’s so damn fun!! I know adding extra activities into your budget kinda defeats the whole purpose of the wedding being cheaper overseas (took me a while to get my head around that one!) but it’s the perfect way to get your guests mingling and into holiday mode. It also gets people excited for your pending nuptials because they get to celebrate the lead-up with you. So try your best to fit something in, even if it’s only 1 or 2 activities, it’s better than nothing.
Any ideas on what pre-wedding activities I can arrange in Koh Samui?
First you need to consider your guests and what they’ll enjoy. One that works for all people, young and old, is a sunset cruise. We went with Boutique Yachting and surprised our guests with a cruise around the island the day before the wedding. It was such a warm and fuzzy feeling seeing everyone experience the island in their own way, knowing that we’d brought them all there on the adventure with us. There are plenty of other cruise companies, but this one had the best reviews on TripAdvisor and Dominic was so lovely to deal with that we decided to go ahead and book with him! Your resort can arrange these activities for you too, but we wanted to save costs where we could and arrange it on our own.
Whatever you decide on, we would love to hear about it. Comment below and get in touch if you have any questions!
Event Design + Styling | Me !
Location | The beautiful Kala Samui nestled on a cliffside overlooking Chaweng Noi
Ceremony + Reception Flowers, Catering | Incredible work by the team at Kala Samui
Cake | Vanilla-flavored purple ombre cake from Sompan Bakery. I decided to decorate it with real orchids, and finish off our theming with a cake topper from BetterOffWed
Photographer| Eak Samui Photography
Videographer | iCineAsia
Gifts for Guests | Each guest received a beautifully-wrapped piece of Sri Lankan wedding cake, made by my lovely Aunty Yeolande. Then, they were given a sky lantern to be released later in the night. Eco lanterns to minimize the environmental impact, of course.
Celebrant | Gavin Marsh
DJ | Ann Grapp Music
Vocalists | Fred James Koch (my brother), Alston Koch (my dad) and me!
Bridal Shoes | Windsor Smith
Engagement + wedding rings | Fay Cullen
Bride’s Reception dress | ASOS
Bridesmaid’s dresses | Forever New
Invites | Minted
Stationery | Each persons’ name was written on a leaf!
Guest Book | I purchased a globe from Typo and painted it lilac and gold for guests to sign
Thank You Cards | Wedding Paper Divas
Wedding Website| Wedsite
Sunset Cruise|Pre-wedding cruise for all wedding guests, booked direct with Dominic from Boutique Yachting
Latest posts by Danielle Steller | DanielleSteller.com (see all)
- Getting Married in Koh Samui: A Couple’s Guide - March 4, 2017
- Wilderness Walks: Hiking the Kalalau Trail to Hanakapiai Beach - March 2, 2017
- 10 Reasons Why You Should Have A Destination Wedding - April 12, 2016