My first post on Our Wedding in Thailand Explained has proved to be hugely popular – one of the most popular posts on this blog in fact. Finally, the time has come to reveal the finances behind the destination wedding! Thank you to those of you who have emailed me asking to post this information – it is wonderful to know that people are engaged in my blog :D!!
I have thought for a while about the best way to write this post. I have a spreadsheet which has all our expenses for our Thai wedding listed in categories – and I think this is the probably the best way to give you all an overview. Here goes…
The dress is every girls dream and every guy’s worst nightmare. Well not quite… but it is a very expensive dress to wear only once in your life – and in our case to get wet, covered in sand and have an elephants footprint permanently marked on the bottom (NO JOKE)! To be honest I think it is pretty awesome that the dress looks like this now – it shows what a great fun day we had and proves to me that I am extremely lucky to have Mrs Scot as a wife. I think a lot of girls would be in a strop if an elephant stamped on their dress 😉
The dress was something we had to take care of in the UK. I suggested that we get it made out in Thailand (we had 2 weeks vacation there before the actual wedding) but Mrs Scot wouldn’t take the risk. I realise that the dress is very special and meant a lot to Mrs Scot, so agreed that she could pick any dress she wanted. Her dress cost £1095 [$1700] (alterations were free as her Mum did them) but was 100% worth this cost considering how stunning she looked on the day! She almost decided to buy the dress from where stores get dresses so we could save money, but she was already in love with the one she had chosen.
Total – £1095 / $1700
We planned this one well. We had our rings made during our visit to Thailand in Summer 2011. This allowed us time to sort something else as a contingency plan if the result was a total disaster. We ended up getting 2 white gold rings (they can be seen here) made which were absolutely perfect. Neither of us are a fan of regular gold, so the choice was perfect. Total Cost – £354 [$550]. This is less than half the cost of what we were quoted in the UK.
Cumulative Total – £1449 / $2246
The Venue and Extras
This is the big one – the venue. We got married at a 5 star hotel in Thailand, which I can honestly say, is one of the most amazing places I have ever been. There was a package price for the venue which included the rental of the venue, the service (celebrant etc.), seating, decorations, cake, layout, wedding trio band for the service, photographer, flowers, etc. The extras on top of this are detailed below. The price was £1550 [$2300]
Hiring the Photographer for an Extra 3 hours:
I love photographs and thought this was entirely worthwhile. The photographer actually came with an assistant who also took photos from different angles, helped with the lighting and to organise the group shots. Total additional cost – £250 [$388]
Make Up /Hair
This included a trial run the day before for Mrs Scot and 3 others. Total Cost £129 [$200]
Baby Elephant Surprise
We surprised our guests with the appearance of a baby elephant. Nobody had any idea she was coming. The celebrant announced the arrival of a special guest who had made it for the wedding and it was hilarious watching everyone’s faces as they were thinking who it could be that had just arrived. Down the aisle came a beautiful baby elephant, holding a basked of flowers in her trunk. After being kissed (and a little molested) we spent an hour on the beach taking photographs with her. Mrs Scot even got to ride on her! We are SO glad we opted for this 🙂 !! Total additional cost – £313 [$485]
Finger Food and Drinks Reception
This was £16 per head [$25] and included an hours worth of canapes and unlimited drinks from the bar. Absolutely fantastic! We had a total of 14 guests so this worked out at £224 [$347].
This is the big one – or is usually the big one. We found in the UK that hotels would charge a minimum of £50 [$78] a head. We spoke with the Chef and customised the most amazing 5 course set menu of our favourite Thai food. This even included Lobster and Steak in some dishes and worked out at £25 [$39] a head. An absolute bargain. Total Cost – £350 [$543].
Mrs Scot and I decided quite early on that we would be paying for everything all night. Given that we were expecting our guests to travel thousands of miles around the world to Thailand, we felt it was the least that we could do. We paid for unlimited drinks for everybody, all night. There were various ‘packages’ available to choose from (premium spirits, local spirits, beers, softdrinks, wines etc.) and we chose something that covered everything. This worked out at £49 per head [$76] and a total cost of £686 [$1063].
We organised the band ourselves. 😀 Whilst in Thailand in Summer 2011, we heard a fantastic band and took their contact details. I exchanged emails with them over the following months and asked them to play at our wedding. Total Cost – £200 [$310]
Lanterns / Centerpieces and Corsage / Gifts
The lanterns were one of our favourite moments of the day and relatively inexpensive! They worked out at £10 [$15.50] each and were big enough to fit 5 people. We bought four at a total cost of £40 [$62]
Centerpieces for the tables were made from thee most beautiful Thai Orchids (we had chosen the colours and some had been died that morning). Total cost – £38 [$59].
The total cost of 4 corsage pieces was £31 [$48]. Again these were hand made with fresh flowers that morning. Absolutely stunning!
Finally, we gave our guests a small glass elephant each to remind them of the day. Total cost £28 [$43].
Grand Total – £5159 [approx $8000]
This obviously doesn’t include our airfare (£1500 [$2325]) but gives you a good idea of the costs involved of the wedding itself. The cost of additional guests would be about £90 [$140] a head, which is quite affordable. The package prices for the wedding was truly all-inclusive – they provided us the most attentive servers, an amazing wedding planning team and the most beautiful flowers and decorations a girl (and guy) could wish for. While we only had 14 guests, they were people that were truly special and mattered to us. We have celebrated with other people in different ways who couldn’t make it and seem to have got the best of both worlds!
If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.
Daisy @ Add Vodka says
Cool post! I love that you broke down the cost of everything. The baby elephant surprise part mad me smile. Who doesn’t want a baby elephant at their wedding?!
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😀 ! The elephant (Nadia) was worth every single penny! She was absolutely gorgeous! One day maybe I will share more photographs..
Thanks for the detailed breakdown 🙂 It sounds like it was a fantastic deal for the final results. And the baby elephant… aww.
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You are welcome 🙂 Thanks for the email the other day.
Newlyweds on a Budget says
I agree that this was a bargain and at such a wonderful location! I like small weddings because then you know you have people there who really care about you and your happiness.
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Thanks for stopping by to comment! 🙂 Have been following your blog for a couple of months now and really enjoy it. You are absolutely correct – the people that flew all the way are the 100% genuine friends for life. The one downside is that older people can’t manage it and friends that have recently graduated. Given a second chance, we would still do it again in a heartbeat!!
Patricia GW says
Congratulations on marrying your soul mate!
I’m so glad you shared the finances that made your beach wedding possible, it proves you can have a beautiful, meaningful wedding (plus a baby elephant!) for a realistic price. It sounds like the event was everything you and Mrs. Scot wanted. What was your experience in booking everything abroad, including making the transaction in foreign currency?
Patricia GW recently posted..True Love is True Myth
Hey thanks for stopping by to comment!
Not a problem – it is nice to see so many people interested in it 🙂
Our experience was really fantastic, the team answered emails within a day and basically never said no!! We had a number of options for paying the wedding payment from abroad, including bank transfer and paypal. We ended up depositing the money directly into the resorts account via their banks website. This cut out the expensive fees from the bank and gave a considerably better exchange rate. I think I worked out that we saved about £70 (over $100) doing it this way 🙂
Patricia GW says
That really is ‘savvy’! 🙂 I’m going to keep this in mind for my own future. It sounds like a really great experience as opposed to the high-stress and over-budget stories I hear Stateside. Also, thanks for the welcome email – it’s so professional and sincere of you 🙂
Patricia GW recently posted..True Love is True Myth
Why thank you 🙂 ! I would be more than happy to help you out further should you ever require it! The fact that a lot of things are outwith your control makes it all remarkably less stressful. Strange but true! Hopefully you will continue to read 🙂
I love the baby elephant idea. As wedding costs go nowadays it looks like yours was very reasonable considering what came with it.
Hi Joyce! Thanks for stopping by to comment. I agree that it was reasonable all in all – and there were definitely some elements that our guests will never forget! 🙂
American Debt Project says
That sounds like the perfect wedding! Beautiful and stunning yet modest with only 14 guests. It sounds amazing and at that price, way worth it!
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Hey! Thanks very much. That is exactly how we saw it. The small crown made it so much more personal and meaningful to us. A story to tell future generations and friends for sure – and some stunning pictures 🙂
Really loved reading this post. First stumbled across it when I started day-dreaming about getting married on a far flung beach and now I’ve had to seek it out again as I’m now, very definitely, GETTING MARRIED IN THAILAND! We’ve got a while before we do the deed – plan is February 2014 – but we’ve got heaps of saving and planning to do in the meantime as not only are we taking the wedding plunge, we’re (well me, as the other half is a native) emigrating to Australia! So you’ll see why I’m on a mission to gather as many money saving tips as possible.
I was wondering if you would mind sharing which venue you chose for your big day? I’m already working on a spreadsheet listing potentials based on online reviews and costs, so it would be great to see if it matches with any of mine. I guess I’m trying to piggyback on your success and skilful research! 🙂
Thanks for stopping by! Sounds like you guys have a great plan there! I am so happy for you.
The venue we used was the Katathani. As I mentioned in my post, it was absolutely amazing. Did you manage to read part 1 – https://savvyscot.com/our-wedding-in-thailand-explained/ ? Happy to help with any questions.
Thanks for that. I think we’re going to plump for a venue on Koh Samui, just waiting for all the email replies to trickle through so we can do a thorough comparison.
I promise I won’t be popping on here every other day with a new question, but am interested to know if you had a legal ceremony and, if so, did you go to Bangkok to sort it out yourself and was this a straightforward process?
I might of missed the detail but which hotel and what was the name of the band?
Okay this is great news!!! Im in the United States. I’ve been completely putting our wedding on the back-burner because we decided to buy a house first, and the cost of a wedding (now being a home owner) was just rediculous! This is WAY more manageable and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. So couple of questions and/or thoughts. Can we semi-copycat your wedding? Haha. We’d probably ex-nay the elephant, although good idea. Keep the lanterns (LOVE THIS), but provide our own music, as I’ve been building my ipod list since I got engaged last September. 🙂 We were only hoping to have about 12-16 people which includes the wedding party.
1.) Would it be faux pas to cut out the reception dinner and simply have it at a restaurant where guests could choose from a menu? And would it be asking too much to have guests pay for their own food and/or drink?
2.) Did this $8000 price include the making of the cake, decorating, cutting, etc?
3.) I think you may have mentioned this, but this overall price included your stay at the 5-star resort too right?
4.) And finally, would it be too much to ask who you made contact with to make this happen?
Our goal is to get the wedding and the honeymoon in one whole shibang! Any thoughts would help. 🙂
You can copy our wedding as much as you like 😀 – did you read the previous post too?
1- It would be entirely possible to do the reception somewhere else to further reduce costs. Your call on asking guests to pay for food/drink. You could consider paying for the first drink / a certain amount of time (i.e. 2 hours) or put a lump sum behind the bar
2- It did indeed!
3- We didn’t stay at the resort in the end, it was not inclusive of the cost and worked out to be extortionate! We stayed in a local 5 star place (honeymoon suite with a balcony jacuzzi pool) for a tenth of the cost
4- The hotel is the Katathani – If you want specific contacts then let me know 🙂
I would be interested to hear how you get on!
Yeah! Read it twice, and the comments… just to make sure I’m not dreaming. 🙂
Good call on the lump sum on the bar. We may do that instead and still pay for food.
So it’s a done deal!!! I showed my fiance the site. He is completely sold on the idea and we’re doing it at Katathani in Phuket. Made contact with Kithani yesterday (fast response time). It’ll be $2000 – $4000 which isn’t bad at all for all that you get!!! They no longer can do the sky lanterns or fireworks which is a complete bummer, but it’s okay. They have floating lanters that you can release into a private pool. I’m stoked! Now we have to choose the 12-16 people we’re going to invite. More questions, I know, I know… 🙂
1.) Did you just send invites to your personal 14 people, or everyone and only 14 showed up? And how did you let the rest know about your wedding?
2.) Did you end up having a small reception when you get back for those who couldn’t make it? We’re considering this as well.
This sounds amazing!! Thailand is #1 on my bucket list of places to visit (we did Europe already) but will be very expensive trip from Canada especially…sigh…I can dream.
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Hey Catherine… Thanks for stopping by to check the post out! It is cheap when you eventually get there!! 🙂
Can you tell me the babe of your venue? Me and my fiancé are planning our wedding just now and need as much help as we can get? X
Hi there. Just stumbled across this post while googling ideas for our wedding in Thailand next year. Your posts are great
We are getting married at the Santhiya Resort and Spa in Koh Phangan in July 2014. We both stayed on this beach teo years ago and it is stunning We are from Edinburgh and live there currently, but we lived in Thailand a few years ago. Totally fell in love with the place.
Our wedding plans are pretty much finalised and we have gone through creativeeventsasia.com. They’ve been amazing. Could I ask you the name of the band? The hotel provides everything else but if the band comes highly recomended then I would opt for them.
Hey thanks for commenting! It was actually just a 2-piece band we had who are based in Phuket. I can search out the email address if you are interested?
Loved reading about your wedding in Thailand! I would love to experience the same as what you did. What resort did you get married? I am planning my wedding now for early December. ANy help would be appreciated.
Hey – the Katathani – mail me directly with any qS!
Hi, I am not sure if you still check this as it was posted a while ago but Thank you so much for this post it is such a help… I know it was along time ago but I am in phuket trying to arrange our wedding for next year.Thinking Katathani but looking also at music. Is their any chance you can give me the name and details of the band so i can look them up while I am here. did they play for the meal as well as the evening…or just the evening?
I can forward you an email address – will do that now 🙂
Your wedding sounds exactly like the one my husband to be and I want.
Can you tell me the name of the hotel and band you had? Looking online it is hard to find a conclusive list of 5 star inclusive venues. We’ll have about 25 people and we need to make sure everyone has nice accommodation at the venue or near by so we can all enjoy our time together.
Hello! I have just read your blog. My boyfriend and I are travelling to bangkok and koh samui in April to a friend’s wedding. We’re getting married in June ourselves (in Spain) and we were thinking of buying things like suits and rings in bangkok. Would you mind recommending where you got your rings? And how long did they take to make?
Hi Karen! The Savvy Scot has changed owner and I am afraid I can’t help you with that. You may want to buy your rings before you go to make sure they fit on the day, or find a local jewelry store and risk the adjustments take more time, although you can bring them after the wedding to resize.
The idea of the Baby elephant is amazing! What about the stay? How much did you spend for the Resort? Did you had also extra package like SPA?
I am currently organize wedding and I am looking for some good ideas in Thailand, your post was a very good start! Thanks
Great read! Thank you for this.
I may have missed this somewhere so excuse me if I have but your prices look so reasonable!
Did you haggle for any of these?
Hey Anna, the site has changed ownership since, sorry I can’t help you!
It is great to see all this written. Very helpful, thank you for that. I only have one handful of questions, and i am trying to look for answers, since quite a while. Who pays for the wedding? And who takes the envelopes by the end? My girl claims that it is a tradition that the groom pays for everything from the monks trough the brides dress to the sandwiches at the midnight buffet. Plus the sin sod of course…