An Exotic Thai Wedding by Koh Photography
Specialists in exotic Thai wedding photography, Koh Photography recently had the pleasure of photographing Tanya and Bobby’s spectacular wedding in Koh Samui. A truly international affair, wedding guests arrived from three continents to celebrate Tanya and Bobby’s fairytale wedding in Thailand.
Here Tanya tells the story of her dream wedding to Bobby in Thailand:
Bobby and I met in 2006, at a law firm where we met on our walk to the parking lot. We became fast friends until the summer of 2010, when our friendship turned into a relationship. We dated for three years, followed by a year and a half engagement – to ensure that our extremely far destination weddings were perfect!
Bobby proposed to me in June 2013 at my favorite park in St. Louis, USA. He was so thoughtful to have planned a surprise picnic for me, with both of our families present. He even flew in my brother from Philadelphia!
Both Bobby and I were born in the United States but have strong ties to our parents’ home countries. Bobby’s family is from Iran and my family is from Thailand.
Out of respect for our families, we had two additional separate ceremonies in Bangkok (one Thai ceremony and one Persian). We also decided to combine all three cultures into our third and final ceremony in Koh Samui.
A Family Affair
Organizing a wedding is a tough task on its own, but organizing three ceremonies – with three groups of people coming from four different parts of the world – is a task on a whole different level! But Bobby and I are extremely lucky that our respective families love each other as if we were truly one family.
Planning these ceremonies, especially the one in Samui, was a family affair – all members of both our families played a part in making sure every detail was immaculate. Even more, I am one of the few lucky brides to have married a groom who was equally, if not more, involved in the wedding planning.
This wasn’t just my wedding, it was his wedding, too… and this wasn’t just our wedding. It was a celebration of the union of our two families, and a celebration of our friendships that have spanned our entire lifetime.
With our extended families, and most importantly our grandparents, being so far from the US, there was no question that we would have our wedding abroad – to make it especially accessible for our grandparents to attend the ceremony.
Thailand seemed a natural choice – it was easy for my family to get to the ceremony, and it was much easier for Bobby’s family from Iran to fly to Thailand than to the US.
A Thailand Wedding
Not to mention, Thailand has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and that alone would make it worth it for all our guests coming from around the world.
Throughout our entire planning process, we were cognizant that all of our guests had to take time off from work, time away from their families and save money just to attend our wedding.
Overwhelmed with gratitude for those who planned to attend, it was our utmost priority to plan a ceremony that not only celebrated our union, but also celebrated our relationships with our closest friends and family.
We had around 60 people come to our wedding ceremony in Koh Samui… and it was the perfect size! Many more of my family and friends were on hand for the ceremonies in Bangkok.
For us, this was not just about planning our ceremony, this was about planning a celebration for all the important people in our lives, especially for those who made an effort to share in our union.
I bought my dress from a store in St. Louis named Clarice’s, a wedding boutique with fantastic service and wide array of dresses for all brides. Recognizing that wedding dress shopping is a pinnacle moment for all brides, Clarice’s allowed me to come back four separate times with my mom, now mother-in-law, now sister-in-law, and my closest friends to help me select the perfect dress.
It was important for me that not only did I feel beautiful, but that Bobby would think I looked stunning as well. I was thrilled to find this dress which perfectly hugged my figure – a mermaid style, strapless, all tulle dress, which was absolutely perfect for me, the beach, and for Bobby. The best party was that I was lucky enough to get this dress for under US$800.
The Bridesmaid Dresses
The bridesmaids dresses were a fortuitous find! I realized that I was asking my bridesmaids to (literally) fly around the world – and wanted to make sure that they were not spending too much money on the “bridesmaid essentials”. With that in mind, Alli and I went shopping one day and stumbled upon this dress for US$30.
This dress is called a “multi-way dress” and therefore, all the dresses are actually the same exact dress, but could be worn up to 50 different ways. They were cotton, light and inexpensive and most importantly, could be worn in any style to ensure that each bridesmaid felt beautiful.
The Bridal Party
My bridal party consisted of my closest friends. Two close friends from college, my sister-in-law, and the remaining bridesmaids I’ve known for over 10 years.
My Maid of Honor was Amrita Singh, my very best friend. There isn’t a week that goes by that we don’t talk almost every day! My bridesmaids were Layla Torgoley (Bobby’s little sister), Rachel Moeller, Kristen Meadors, Allison Gentles and Emilia Epperly.
Rachel, Kristen, Alli and I were best friends in high school and have never lost touch.
Emi spends months out of the year travelling the world. In fact, immediately following our wedding, she began travelling Southeast Asia and is currently in Laos.
Bobby’s groom’s party also consisted of his very close friends. Each of Bobby’s friends are just like him – loyal, loving and hilariously funny.
Bobby’s Best Man was Marvis Jones. They met in college and remain extremely close. If there is a secret that Bobby is keeping from me, there is no doubt that Marvis knows what it is!
Bobby’s Groomsmen were Sean Torgoley (Bobby’s little brother), Ben Askew, Garry Reuter and Mark Bresnahan – Mark is the one with all of Bobby’s foolish college stories and knows the mischievous side of Bobby.
This ceremony meant different things to different people. For our families, who were unusually close even before our engagement, this ceremony was a celebration of two families joining into one.
For Bobby and I, this was a celebration of all the relationships we have formed in our lives – from our friendships to our own relationship.
For me personally, it was the moment that I have been waiting for since I met Bobby – to be lucky enough to wake up every day next to this amazing man, who never fails to surprise me with his loyalty, his love and his passion.
The Wedding Location
Once Bobby and I decided to have our wedding in Koh Samui, my mom and I flew to Samui to find the perfect location. Neither my mom nor I had ever been to Koh Samui prior to this trip, and we were blown away by its natural beauty immediately upon landing.
We visited seven hotel locations and ultimately decided on Anantara Lawana for multiple reasons.
The beach location was surreal.
Anantara Lawana went to great lengths to create the best beach location, building multiple platforms, covering the platforms with sand, and decorating each item – from the menus to the flowers to the table decorations to my specific preference.
It was better than the pictures, better than we expected, and far better than we could have ever dreamed.
Very clearly the venue itself is stunning and has a great natural beauty, but most importantly the wedding coordinator, Pennapat Chuaysongkram, was extremely experienced, knowledgeable and shared my excitement as if she were the bride herself.
That enthusiasm is what I loved about her and of course, she made sure the wedding ceremony was perfect.
Everything about the ceremony, reception and every small detail was far better than we could have ever imagined!
The Wedding Reception
The wedding ceremony was nothing but perfect.
The view, the decorations, the flowers, the weather and the ceremony itself, made all of our planning worth it. I didn’t think that anything could top the wedding ceremony. But Anantara Lawana proved me wrong.
The reception was straight out of a fairytale: each table was decorated like a formal wedding – white table cloths with full formal place settings, stunning table decorations that Pennapat ensured was arranged to my specifications, and all perfectly arranged to our table seating chart.
Small lanterns made the whole area glow and Anantara Lawana lit up the water, emphasizing the white sand and crystal ocean. The buffet was extensive and delicious, the dance floor was perfectly sized for our group.
The DJ, DJ Ben Jenkins based out of Phuket (whom we would very much recommend for anyone getting married in Thailand), made sure that each moment was matched with the perfect song.
The highlight of our reception was the firework show, a gift from me to Bobby, to remind him that our marriage will never have a dull moment!
After the reception, the party continued! Family and friends joined us at our hotel room. Our room was a ‘Lawana Pool Access room’, which meant that we had access to our own private pool shared by four other hotel rooms, two of which were occupied by our friends.
We played pool games and shared the evening with our closest friends and family until the early hours of the morning – with no complaint from our understanding neighbours and the resort!
After our perfect experience at Anantara Lawana, Bobby and I set off for a quick honeymoon to Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau.
Wedding Photography provided by Tristan of Koh Photography
As you can imagine, finding vendors from around the world (with a 12 hour time difference) is stressful! I found Koh Photography through reviews on the internet and by looking at Tristan’s portfolio through his website.
But it wasn’t his website or the reviews that led to our ultimate decision, it was Tristan’s personality that got us hooked. I reached out to five different photographers, all of whom were responsive.
However, Tristan was the only one who offered a Skype interview, the only person who made himself available on my timeframe, and the only person who was genuinely interested in providing me with the perfect pictures to capture the memories of our special day.
Always open to our suggestions, he provided his expert opinion while ultimately allowing us to take control of when, how and with whom we wanted our pictures taken.
He had the forethought to suggest bringing an assistant and a second photographer (who both were not only extremely talented but very fun to be around) to accommodate our large party. His services did not end after the reception.
Tristan made sure that each picture was edited to perfection, then sent us a website that we could send to our family and friends. He THEN sent us a USB containing all 1200 photos that he’d taken during our special day!
From the very first day that we spoke to two months following our wedding, Tristan has provided exceptional service – and breathtaking photos to help us relive every moment of our wedding.
Wedding Photography by Koh Photography
That is professionalism: someone who not only is an expert at his work, plans ahead based on information he is given, provides services well past what is expected of him – and most importantly – is invested in the day as much as we are.
Tristan wasn’t JUST a professional photographer, he was an essential part of our day, and that is what sets Koh Photography apart from all the others.
Congratulations to Tanya and Bobby on their delightful wedding in the tropics of Thailand.
If you are considering a similar wedding, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with koh-photography.com!
By Mel Larcombe for Brides by Solo