Keep Calm, It’s A Destination Wedding In Thailand
Keep Calm: It’s a Destination Wedding in Thailand
Today’s real wedding submission had me tearing up with joy. Submitted by recently wed Kameliya, a Dubai resident originally from Bulgaria, this has to be one of my favourite destination weddings that we’ve featured so far. Kameliya married her multinational (Serbian, Austrian, Moroccan, Sudanese) British-born groom Tariq during an intimate ceremony on the tropical island of Koh Samui in Thailand.
Themed using the famous ‘Keep Calm’ quote, and featuring doves, fireworks, an Esty wedding gown and lots of wonderful DIY touches, Kameliya takes us through her special day, in addition to offering some invaluable tips on planning a destination wedding from Dubai.
It was a beautiful, hot Christmas Day – a day of joy, family and friends. We’d gathered both families together at the apartment, and I’d cooked a delicious turkey. It was noisy, cozy and fun for everyone. All of a sudden, Tariq disappeared into the other room with my father. No one noticed anything, or gave it much thought. They both came out after about 15 minutes. Tarig stood next to me, smiled, bent down on one knee and shocked everyone with a beautiful speech and ring.
To my surprise, no one else (except my father and sister) had any idea of this. Everyone shed a joyous tear and started hugging each other while congratulating us with the best words they could think of at such an emotional hour, after a long day of fun. It was a beautiful day, a beautiful year and I will never forget the expressions and warm feelings that each family member had on that day.
The wedding theme…
The wedding was themed around the ‘Keep Calm’ quote, using light blue, yellow and white hues. Special touches included a dove release, a tree planting, Thai dancers, fire dancers, fireworks and the lighting of love lanterns. My three bridesmaids and maid of honour each had a frame as they walked down the aisle (before me) saying ‘Wait- Till- You See- HER’. The two groomsmen and ring-bearer had embroidery on the back of their shirts saying ‘Happily- Ever- After’.
I really got into the DIY flow – here are some of my projects:
– Smiley yellow helium balloons placed on the bride and groom “sweetheart chairs”
– Napkin rings made out of beads and a ‘LOVE’ or ‘INFINITY’ sign, which the guests could take off and wear as a bracelet later on. Even men wore it! Along side the napkins, were small bottles, labeled with everyone’s name. For example: “Silvina, your menu in a bottle”, which served as a place card; inside the bottles were personalised menus (everyone had previously picked their favourite dish). Each bottle had a hanging key on it.
– I also had personalised match boxes made, for the guest sparklers.
– On every guest chair, there was a fan-like programme, a small bell so people could make a noise at the kiss, and a water gun so everyone could squirt water at us as we exited (or at any time they wanted – it was all fun and games).
– Each child received a personalised drawing book made specifically for the occasion with games and crossword puzzles inside that described all the things at our wedding. In addition, they got a set of crayons and a small box with animal-shaped biscuits.
– My husband received a personalised box with a checklist of all the things he should not forget (the box also contained everything on the list). The list stated that he should not forget: socks – to keep cold feet away; a handkerchief – to keep his tears away; mints – to ensure a fresh kiss; and a Ring Pop – in case he forgets the essentials).
The wedding cake…
We opted for a simple red velvet cake with white frosting on the outside and two blue hearts as a cake topper. It was delicious!
I loved my dress, although I took a HUGE risk purchasing it online (through Etsy). However, I did buy it way in advance just in case something went wrong. I was searching for a dress design that I loved, and wanted to create my own look by combining my favourite parts of a few dresses together. So I kept browsing different dresses for about two weeks and photo-shopping bits and pieces together, until one day I found a dress I fell in love with.
Even though it wasn’t exactly the design I initially wanted to make, the dress took my breath away and I decided I had to have it. And so I did :) I ordered it, hoping I hadn’t made a mistake. When it arrived, it was the perfect fit. It didn’t even need any alterations, so I was extremely happy.
Most enjoyable part of the planning process…
Even though it may sound clichéd, I loved every bit of planning my wedding! I love DIY, arts and crafts, so I spent most of my time in craft stores around Dubai, getting all the materials I needed. My sister and I designed, cut, stuck things together – the whole deal. I started about two months in advance as I needed the extra time due to having to work and do other things during the day.
I did everything at night, and at times went to bed at 3am or 4am as I’d forget about the time in my excitement. It was also fun because my sister was around and made me laugh. I had so many plans, and although I managed to pull off most of them, there were, of course, many things I didn’t have time to make. Some things got left behind, too, thanks to our luggage being overweight. My husband was laughing as I tried to fit everything into our bags and about a third had to be jettisoned as there was no space.
Most testing part of the wedding planning process as an expat bride…
It truly is a challenge to find good people who know what they’re doing and don’t overcharge because you don’t know the market prices in that country. When planning a wedding overseas, you need to be equipped with all the information out there (so you need to do A LOT of research), start early and, if possible, test the vendors beforehand.
A trip to the location and a meeting with the vendors will give you a much better idea of what the real deal is; however, always have a list of additional vendors who you can meet at short notice handy, in case the ones you’d hoped to work with were not what you’d imagined.
Top three tips for a bride-to-be…
– Knowingwhat you want will make it much easier to organise yourself. If you keep changing ideas and themes around, you risk feeling overwhelmed and might not get the job done properly.
– Always do your research. You are also bound to know (or know of) someone who has held a wedding at your chosen location; the more you know, the fewer surprises.
– Set a budget and try to stick to it, but be prepared for some additional costs. Budgets almost always get stretched. But the beauty is, even though you have spent more, at least you know where you stand and what amount you have spent. Walking around blind folded and trusting everyone with prices will only end up with you spending more than you should.
The Bride’s Little Pink Book
Photography: iCine / Wedding venue, cake and flowers: YL Residence (Koh Samui) / Wedding planning and décor: The bride and her sister / The dress: Etsy.com
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