Wedding Planning

This comprehensive timeline provides you with advice that will help you plan a wedding to remember, without forgetting the most important details. Keep in mind however, this is meant only as a general guideline and there will surely be additional steps unique to your wedding. Good Luck and Enjoy!

6-12 Months

Articulate your Vision

wedding-planning1The bride and groom should each begin by writing at least one full page of their “dream” wedding. This will help them to see what is and is not important for the day. Go wild with ideas and sort through the reality of those ideas as you plan. Decide on how many and what events you would like to have. Discuss a ballpark figure of how many guests are expected from both sides. This will impact the choice of city, hotels, and venues available. Discuss if you would like to pay for your guests’ accommodations or arrange special rates for them. The same would apply to flights and local transportation. Discuss with both families if necessary and make sure everyone is on the same page. Know who the key decision makers are.

Decide on Budgets

Be clear about your entire budget – if others are participating in the funds, know what they are willing to give in the beginning so that you can plan around the figures. Sometimes the bride or groom will say that their mom and dad will pitch in but they are unclear how much. It may help to make a chart of each event and put budget estimations to each event and then see what the total amounts to. Leave room for unexpected expenses, which may arise.

Set Dates

Decide what time of the year you’d like to get married and set the dates. It’s important to bear in mind that due to the high volume of tourism Thailand attracts, one day – either before or after your chosen date – can have a dramatic difference in price. Where possible, enquire about the availability over a five-day range of dates. The monsoon season in Thailand runs from May to November but it does not rain every day and when it does rain, it may only last for a couple hours.

Location

The location you choose will influence the theme and style of your exchange of vows. Are you looking at a city, river, beach, or mountain experience? Do you want a destination that involves domestic flights within Thailand? Do you want a resort-style wedding within driving distance from Bangkok? This may be influenced by the size of your wedding party, whether it is an intimate or a grand scale celebration.

Hotel category

To save time and energy, it is important to identify the category and type of hotel you would like to use. Five-star hotels range from US$100-300 per night and four-star hotels range from US$50-100 per night. Prices tend to be lower from May to September and higher from November to February.

Contact a Travel Agent

Travel agents often have the ability of securing the best rates for flights, hotels, and transportation for you. Contact a local travel agent in India for your flights to Thailand and contact in Thailand for hotels and transportation for the best available prices. Your local travel agent in India will have relationships with airline offices there, while agents in Thailand will have similar relationships with hotels and vehicle suppliers. Discuss your budgets, preferred locations, star categories, and requirements with your agent in order for them to make the best suggestions. You will find a large section in this publication on hotels that are keen on welcoming Indian weddings at their properties.

Meet with a Wedding Planner

wedding-planning2Choosing to have your wedding far from home is not a decision to be taken lightly. The planning can be complicated threefold if you choose to organise it alone. Thailand has several professional wedding planners/organisers who can make your planning process smoother, simpler, and more cost-effective. Inquire with local wedding planners about their services; they have already done the legwork and have strong contacts to make sure your marriage celebration is full of a lifetime of memories. From your inquiries, the wedding planners will respond with quotes for their fees as well as recommended hotels. They can also check availability of venues for you. You will find contact information for Thailand’s leading wedding planners in this book. It is suggested to make a trip down to Bangkok to meet with some of them and get a feel of which one you are comfortable working with. Your wedding planner can also suggest hotels and venues for you to visit.

Hotel Inspections

It is now time to make a first visit to Thailand and meet the wedding specialists or travel agents whose mission it is to ensure that your special day runs smoothly and surpasses your expectations. They will discuss your preferences and accordingly take you on hotel inspections and make informed recommendations. Discuss hotel policies in detail before selecting a hotel. Does the hotel allow open flame pheras in their ballroom? Will the hotel allow outside catering from a caterer of your choice? Are elephants or horses allowed on the property for the baraat? Can you play loud music past 10pm during your sangeet? Feel free to ask all these questions and more before making a decision on the hotel that you will use. Follow up discussions with written confirmations either via email or in the hotel contracts for future reference.

Decide on Venues

After you have visited all venues and received quotations, it is time to shortlist your top 2-3 favourite venues and let your wedding organiser/travel agent negotiate the best rates, terms, and conditions from the venues for you. Local travel agents in Thailand enjoy a good relationship with hotels and can not only get you special rates but they can often help you get perks such as free nights, upgrades, Wi-Fi, use of club lounges, welcome by hotel staff and more. Pay attention to payment requirements such as deposits. Due to high demand during peak periods, if deposits are not paid in time, hotels may release bookings.

Meet Decorators

wedding-planning4Wedding planners will often have certain decorators that they work with frequently. If you have selected a wedding planner but have also been recommended a decorator, discuss with your planner if they are open to using another decorator. Meet with the decorator who is selected and they will show you their portfolio of previous work. Talk to them about budgets and time frames to ensure both expectations are well managed.

Catering

With a flair for both international and traditional local dishes, caterers in Thailand will surely have something available to delight every palate. Your wedding planner/hotel will be able to discuss F&B options with you. Many couples opt to hire professional caterers either from India or within Thailand. Discuss menus for each function with your wedding planner as the menu may be influenced by the themes, decoration, and set up.

Your caterer will be able to show you a variety of options that they can prepare such as buffets, live cooking stations, wet bars, and more. Talk to them about your budgets and what you are looking for and ask them for a quotation. They may invite you for a food tasting, which will normally be complimentary if only for a few people. For a larger group they may charge you and then offer to discount the charged amount from the final bill. There are some great Indian caterers available in Thailand and it is highly suggested using one of them.

Get the Full Picture

Read all contracts carefully. Make sure that you understand what you have agreed to. Early check-in, late-check out, mini-bar use, use of function spaces after hours, damages to the property, charges for using function spaces for set up prior to functions, corkage charges, charges for bringing outside caterers, what is included and excluded in each function – all these points should be clarified before signing the hotel contract. Know ahead if the band will stay later if you and your friends want to dance longer, and know what the price will be. You don’t want any surprises on your special day!

Pay deposits

Once the venues have been selected it is time to pay deposits. Your wedding organiser, venues, and various suppliers will expect a 30 to 50 percent deposit along with signed contracts to confirm locations and services. Keep a record of what you are paying, who is paying for what, and when the next payments will be due.

Explore & Relax

During your planning process, take some time to explore this beautiful country and take it all in! Thailand has some of the best beaches, spas, restaurants, markets, and golf courses in the region. Enjoy!

Send out Save-The-Dates

Contact a card company and check out their options. They can design something that both of you like. You may wish to consult your wedding planner and see if they will do this for you. You may wish for the Save-The-Dates to match your overall wedding theme. Save-The-Dates can be either in print or via email.

Make a Website

Your wedding planner may be able to do this for you. If not, you may wish to contact a local company to do this for you. This is a good way for you to update your guests about events, changes, flight information and etc. A lot of people also opt to simply make a Facebook Page that is easy and quick to update and guests can also post their comments, pictures, locations, and LIKEs.

Outfits, Jewellery, Accessories

wedding-planning3Talk to friends and family about recommended designers, boutiques, and jewellers and start to research for what you are looking for. You may wish to select certain colours that are related to the themes of each event, or invite family and friends to also wear similar colours to identify themselves. Discuss time frames and schedules for fittings and be sure to keep enough time in between. Pay deposits as necessary. Discuss with your family about who is paying for what and how much is to be spent.

Plan your Engagement Party

You may wish to do this in your hometown and if so, you may wish to enlist the help of a local party planner to help organise this for you. Feel free to ask your wedding planner in Bangkok for ideas and suggestions.

2-6 Months

Plan your Bachelor/Bachelorette Party

This is normally the job of the best man and the bridesmaid. Whether a small intimate party between friends or a “Hangover” style weekend in Bangkok, this is going to be a celebration you will always remember!

Entertainment

Think about each of the events and what kind of entertainment you would like to have. There are plenty of good options for DJs, live bands, performers, artists, and other forms of entertainment available in Thailand. Talk to your wedding planner for ideas and they can set up appointments for you to meet with local talent. Ask for videos and photographs of their prior work and discuss budgets.

Videographers/Photographers

Thailand has some excellent talent in terms of videographers and photographers. Some are mentioned in this book. Your wedding planner may also have people who they regularly work with.

Invitation Cards

Most families who have destination weddings in Thailand have invitation cards made in India, although there are several suppliers in Thailand available. Your wedding planner can suggest some options and can advise on the design.

Plan the Baraat

You may need to make arrangements for a horse, elephant, carriage, helicopter, jet ski (or whatever your imagination can find) and your wedding planner can make this happen. Talk to your planner about dhol players, live bands, mobile DJ booths and more. The sky is often the limit in terms of possibilities in Thailand so feel free to dream BIG!

Hair, Makeup, Mehndi, and Sari Tying

Your wedding planner can give you some options for this and arrange for you to meet the suppliers if you wish to do so.

Transportation & visas

Communicate as regularly as possible with your wedding planner to relay information on guest arrivals. As soon as they touch down on Thai soil, the travel arrangements will ensure the celebration begins in style, whether it’s a collective or individual transfer. All guests are advised to obtain a tourist visa from their local Thai consulate one month prior to departure and ensure that all passports have more than six months validity.

Start to think about your Honeymoon and check availabilities

Talk to your partner about locations, budgets, time frames and what you would both like to do. There are some good honeymoon options in this book to select from.

Follow up on your outfit, jewellery, accessories fittings

See if any additional deposits are necessary. Be sure to check up on deadlines and make sure these things will be ready on time and the way you want them.

Put together a gift hamper to be placed in guest rooms if you wish. Your wedding planner can help you with this.

Alcohol

If you are planning on serving alcohol, discuss this with your wedding planner. Decide on what you would like to serve at each event and discuss the expected quantities. Your caterer can also advise on this. Talk to the hotel and other venues if there are any corkage charges. Clarify who will be providing mixers, glassware, ice, lime, straws, napkins etc.

Ask for quotations from suppliers and compare prices. Clarify payment terms and delivery schedules. Appoint someone to be in charge of all alcohol inventories.

Some hotels and suppliers will be kind enough to create special cocktails based on what you and your partner enjoy, and name them after you or places you have visited together.

Revisit Thailand

This is almost a dress rehearsal; it’s time to meet with your local organiser to ensure that nothing has been overlooked, and meet with suppliers. At this stage a further 30 percent deposit will be required, with the remaining 40 percent due during the wedding week.

Look into Details

  • Discuss song list with your partner and discuss with your wedding planner, DJ, live bands.
  • See if your hotel will provide guest books, pens, pen-holders.
  • Purchase gifts for your bridal party and close family members.
  • Contact close family members and friends for sangeet performances (optional).
  • Contact close family and friends for speeches during the reception and possibly at other events.
  • If possible, try to call as many guests as possible to personally invite them, as this is often expected among Indians. If this is challenging, delegate this to someone.
  • Ask your travel agent to prepare some excursions for your guests during the day incase you do not have wedding functions. Your travel agent can organize a “Travel Desk” at the wedding with special prices for your guests to go out and experience the city or surrounding areas of where your wedding is taking place.
  • Determine the order of the entrance of your bridal party line-up.
  • Prepare a timeline for all your wedding events.
  • Prepare a list of assignments for your bridal party and family members.

Keep the peace

Communicate with all members of your families what events will take place, at what time, locations and attire if necessary. People like to know in advance what is planned. At one friend’s wedding, the details of all the events were not sent to the bride’s stepmom and a lack of communication led to a rise in tension among the family members.

Confirm, confirm, confirm

At least two months before the wedding (if possible), confirm in writing with all vendors, especially noting any changes, no matter how small. Ask them to sign and fax back (or email) their agreement. Mistakes in scheduling can happen, even with the best organisations.

May I have that in writing?

If you make any change in your contracts before the event, ask for a confirmation in writing. If they are not willing to do so, you write it up and snail mail or email to the vendor. Make sure that they receive it and agree. If you have decided to change the colours of the flowers to match your dress, you want to know that the florist got the change.

1 Month

Communication

Last-minute travel changes, additional guests. During the organisational stages, your wedding planner is invaluable but they are not mind readers; communicate every day and share your thoughts and information. They are your adviser, organiser, troubleshooter, and manager; and their job is to make your wedding day as effortless as saying “I Do”.

Final Preparations

Get an updated list of all guests who have confirmed they will be attending and ensure that the hotel, wedding planner, transportation company all have the latest information.

  • Create seating charts and place cards as necessary. Your planner can organise this for you.
  • Prepare your toasts and thanks to family and friends.
  • Confirm all your final payments and have them ready to be mailed out or handed to vendors.
  • Hand over all favours, guest books, place cards, and programmes to your wedding planner or the venues.
  • Make a list of what you need to take along with you and ensure everything is packed and ready to go.

Create a timeline of the day

Do some research and find out how to make a timeline – it helps a family member or guest to know what to expect that day and call for help if something does not happen as it is planned. Someone who is helping on the day can know what all plans are and supervise arrivals and other operations. It’s very common to find your work colleagues standing around when they arrive as they do not know which side to sit on or where to sit.

The Week Before

Plan to be in Bangkok several days before the first event so that you can do a run through of the events, talk to your wedding planner, take care of any last minute things, and also enjoy Thailand’s warm hospitality. Go to a spa, go for a swim, enjoy world-class cuisine, relax and enjoy your time in the Land of Smiles!

The Big Day!

wedding-planning6This is what you have been waiting for! Enjoy your friends, relatives, and partner-to-be! Smile, laugh, dance, and treasure every moment. Take photographs with your loved ones. Enjoy every function and feel the energy, knowing that you are getting married in Thailand!

After

Tie up any loose ends such as outstanding payments, doing an inventory of anything you brought from back home, and making arrangements for your return. But before you leave, enjoy some of Thailand’s most romantic spots with your partner and take in all that this magical Kingdom has to offer! (Visit our Honeymoon Section for ideas)

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