You’re flying a long way for a destination wedding in Thailand.
Of course, you want to celebrate with people you love, but how can you best enjoy your holiday on the side? Let’s leave the wedding planning to the couple, you just need to sort out shoes, sun, and a few other details.
Packing and what to wear
What to wear to a wedding in Thailand?
What’s suitable in Thailand? Choosing suitable clothes for a destination wedding in Thailand starts with Thai culture and the climate. Find out how to A) scrutinise what you’ve got in your closet or B) go shopping with savvy:
A tropical outfit that travels: A tropical wedding outfit has a few other demands: it needs to travel reasonably well (three cheers if you can roll it up in a suitcase without needing to iron it at the other end), and must keep you cool during the ceremony. Very likely, the betrothed have chosen a Samui wedding to embrace beach casual, so ask for specifics they haven’t elaborated.
Jewellery: While I’ve never experienced theft personally on Koh Samui, everyone has heard a story about things going missing from hotel rooms – leave beloved and irreplaceable jewellery at home, just in case.
Sun protection: Finally, consider the ceremony’s time of day in regards to the sun. Make sure to bring along a pashmina to cover your shoulders from burning and a sun-hat, if appropriate.
What should women wear to a wedding in Thailand?
A dress will be your best bet – in light silk, light cotton or thin jersey material. Aim for ‘Middleton modesty’ without anything too tightly-fitting. You neither want to burn nor suffocate yourself. Golden rule: nothing with a polyester lining. Too hot! All of the dresses below are 100% cotton with no lining (or a light cotton lining) so you’ll stay cool and comfortable. Their length and cut are appropriate for Thailand, too.
What should men wear to a wedding in Thailand?
Ask the groom (who will ask his bride) whether it’s a suited affair, or very casual in khakis and sandals. When choosing shirt colour, keep sweating in mind (that means white, boys, white!).
What should children wear to a wedding in Thailand?
What’s an appropriate kid’s outfit for a Thai beach wedding? Same as above, just miniature. Thick satin dresses and patent leather shoes are best left at home. If your children are expected to participate (and/or behave) at the wedding, see what you can do to minimise heat combustion. Think little hand-held fans, sun hats, and definitely kids’ Wayfarers.
What shoes to wear to a Thai wedding?
Women’s shoes: If the wedding will be on the beach, dressy sandals will be far preferable to heels and, for the reception, you might prefer bare feet or more casual wedges (like these slingbacks).
Fancy flip-flops: Thailand is a barefoot culture within homes, so if it’s a villa wedding don’t spend time or money worrying about shoes – they’ll be left at the front door. Flip-flops are perfectly fine footwear all over Samui – if they get you to the
church beach on time, no worries.
How to pack for a destination wedding?
Carry on: If at all possible, carry your wedding outfit as carry-on. I know the poor guy who had a suit made for his best friend’s wedding, travelled across the world to find that his suitcase – with custom suit inside – was lost. He had to wear jeans, and the suitcase turned up the day after.
Arrive organised: For the rest of your luggage, you’ll want to be as organised as possible – especially if your time will be spent helping the bride with preparations. Make sure to pack using suitcase cubes, as well as bringing the requisite travel adapters (see more details in our Thailand packing list).
What else to bring?
Photographic extras: Bring more memory cards and camera batteries than you think you’d need – you might not be able to get to your laptop to download your photos as often as you’d like. A travel tripod might be the most useful photographic addition you can bring to a beach.
Do you get time off for good behaviour? For the rest of your time on Samui, enjoy a little vacation for yourselves! Let The Koh Samui Guide take care of your fun-in-the-sun itinerary, as everyone sets about living happily after ever.
6 gift ideas for a destination wedding in Thailand
Need to find a gift for a destination wedding in Thailand? Assuming you’re the well-intentioned guest and want a small token to take with you (something for the bride and groom to enjoy in Thailand), or a lasting Thailand-themed wedding gift for back home… I’m happy to share just a few ideas.
The hardy, go-anywhere video camera to help remember every scrap of sand at a Thailand beach wedding, and all the boat rides, snorkelling, scootering and general merriment to follow. If anyone’s getting thrown in a swimming pool, this is the video camera for the job.
‘Thai Street Food’ by David Thompson is a six-pound tome of home-cookable genius, with gorgeous photos of Thailand on every page. Ideal for use in the kitchen and otherwise as a coffee table objet d’art. Easier to write a sweet inscription on this than bath towels!
Luckies Scratch World Map is available in white and black backgrounds, the travelling couple can scratch off where they’ve been and start to plan the rest. A lasting and interactive present!
Always appreciated and the one thing of which you can never have enough. Champagne is e-x-t-r-e-m-e-l-y expensive in Thailand (a standard 750ml bottle costs £82/US$135 at Koh Samui Tesco). Spare a little space in your suitcase and bring the bride and groom a bottle to enjoy. Maybe bring another for yourself!
A very light-hearted token – but a perfect little extra for the massive bathtubs found in Thailand’s wedding suites.
Of course, it’s always the thought that counts and a handwritten card can get them sobbing happy wedding tears more than any wrapped gift. Enjoy!