Confessions Of A Bride: Destination Wedding At Le Meridien, Koh Samui
This Malaysian bride met her Australian groom while working in Hong Kong. They frequently walked to work together, and a relationship blossomed. He proposed in the Napa Valley after three years of courtship. This is more than just another beautiful wedding shoot by Chris Spira; it also provides great insight into the bride’s wedding planning process.
Bride: “We wanted a simple, cosy and intimate wedding. We wanted all our guests to get together for a holiday and hang out as a big family somewhere relaxing and calm, somewhere that most people hadn’t been to. Koh Samui was a strong choice – it was relatively easy to travel to and quieter compared to the more popular Phuket. We chose the date 13.12.14 because in Chinese, it sounds like ‘one life, one heart, forever’.
“Initially I wanted a lawn overlooking the sea, but it was very difficult to find a location in Koh Samui that could house the number of guests we had. We eventually chose Le Meridien because of its size, and we also fell in love with the idea of having The Pier that floats in the sea for the ceremony, and the lawn for the dinner.
“Both the wedding gown and qipao (cheongsam) were tailor made in Hong Kong, co-designed by me and Tina from Tina Classic Bridal. The evening dress was actually a replacement gown – my first wedding gown failed terribly, but the bridal house managed to replace it with a simpler dress inspired by one of the dresses in a James Bond movie. I chose this gown because it was light and had a detachable train, which was perfect for the weather.
“All the girls were allowed to wear their own grey or silver shoes, my Maid of Honour wore pink shoes to stand out, and her name is Pink. I kind of put the bridesmaids’ dresses together – Herve Leger top, a grey tulle skirt (bought online), and a gross grain sash. I wanted something modern and different from the common one-piece bridesmaid dresses. Most importantly, the top can be worn again. The bridesmaids’ gifts were Eternity Knot bracelets from Shanghai Tang. The groomsmen’s gifts were Paul Smith belts.
“Our photographer, Chris, is very natural and easy to work with. She’s quiet and sensitive to the environment, which makes her photos unique. The song that I walked down the aisle to is ‘Sea of Love’ by Cat Power, and it was chosen by the groom. It made me cry the moment I heard it. He gets me.
“Everything was kept to white, grey and peach. I’m a DIY bride; all the decorations were mostly done by hand. The candleholders were wrapped and hand sewn with lace from my old dresses. Many of the vases were collected from cafés and restaurants where we had hung out with our friends, hence it felt like everyone was part of our wedding. The overall theme was rustic, simple, a little boho and from the heart. The bridal bouquet was a mix of eustomas, roses and baby’s breath. The escort cards were strung with peach ribbons and hung on a tree by the lawn in place of a guestbook. The wine markers were personalised with each guest’s name; however the wind was too strong that night and some of them flew away – lesson learnt!
“Every guest was given a welcome bag with a mix of goodies: tea leaves (The Grand Wedding and Sweet Romance from TWG), mini Tic-Tacs for novelty effect, mixed raisins and nuts, insect repellent, earplugs for those needing an early night’s sleep, Advil and PeptoBismol for the hangover kit, Bath & Bodyworks hand sanitiser in tropical flavours, and white fans for the girls and beer koozies for the boys. Each tote bag was personalised by the bride, using stencils and silver paint.
“Tiffany chairs almost always instantly glamourise the whole look, and they were used for both the ceremony and dinner. We also ensured that the venue was well lit with lots of fairy lights. There wasn’t a specific theme – it was really just from our hearts to our guests. Ole was our wedding singer – we liked her voice very much from a friend’s wedding two years ago in Krabi, so we had her over at ours too!
“We didn’t have a wedding dance, but we had a special song when the fireworks went off at the end of the reception – a jazz rendition of ‘The Moon Represents My Heart’ (月亮代表我的心) by the Malaysian singer Khalil Fong. This song represents so much; the groom wanted a tune that both old and young could relate to, and it’s a classic love song for the ages.”
Tips from the bride: “Spend more on the things that are really important. For us it was food and alcohol, the photographer, flowers and chairs. On the big day, have a good event coordinator, especially if you have a destination wedding. At the end of the day, you want your guests to enjoy themselves. No one but the bride notices when things go wrong. Always steal a quiet moment away from the crowd and look at your party from a distance. Remember that moment.”