Couples around the world dream of having their wedding in Phuket – on the beach, with beautiful decorations and hundreds of guests. But it takes more than just flight tickets to Phuket and a booking in a great hotel to pull off a perfect wedding. To have one of these, a wedding planner is indispensable.
Because behind every great wedding, there’s a great wedding planner – always there, in the background, creating, managing and making all these stunning weddings happen.
To learn more about their craft, we sat with one of them, a Phuket based wedding planner and founder of The Wedding Bliss Thailand, Nanya Tanthapaiboon.
How did you start your wedding planning business?
I wanted to be a wedding planner since I was in high school, I knew I simply could not do any other job. I also got inspiration from the movies in the 90’s, like ‘Wedding planner’ with Jennifer Lopez, or ‘Father of the Bride’. I love all these romantic movies and I also love to decorate. I started wedding planning in Bangkok right after I graduated, but weddings in Bangkok always happen in a ballroom, it’s not much fun. So I decided to move to Phuket and launch my own company, together with my sister.
What does exactly a wedding planner do?
Our job is to help couples create a dream wedding. We find the right venue: if they have the budget it can be a luxury villa or a 5 star hotel. After the venue is settled, we move to the wedding elements – decorations, design, menus, and entertainment. A great deal of our job is also to make sure that a bride and groom have a stress-free wedding day. We are there to listen to them and implement their dreams.
How much time does it take to plan and prepare a wedding?
On average, it takes around six to eight months. Yesterday I got a call from the groom, who just proposed to the bride and he wanted to marry her the very next day; I had to reject this one, as it was impossible. The shortest noticed we got and we still pulled off a beautiful wedding was one month. However, since our clients are mainly from overseas and we work on destination weddings, our couples take their time and start planning their wedding in advance, to make sure that they can take their holiday to come here, as well as their invited guests.
How would you describe your clients?
Our clients are from all over the world. We don’t want to say they are upper class or middle class, but I would say the majority are sophisticated and well educated. We also have a lot of couples from Bangkok, Hong Kong, and all around the world these days, because they want to have a beautiful outdoor wedding instead of traditional ballroom event in their cities.
What are the favourite locations for such couples here in Phuket?
Properties around Kamala, Mai Khao and Natai beach are the most popular among our clients. It’s serene and private; wedding in Patong is hard to imagine, though there’re exceptions of course.
Do you remember any special wedding, something that stuck in our mind?
Once we had a 5-day Indian-Vietnamese wedding. During these five days, we had 11 events. It was like a one-week festivity. I don’t think a lot of planners do this kind of thing here in Thailand. We had to research Indian and Vietnamese wedding traditions and incorporate them into a stylish and modern wedding, as the couple grew up in Canada.
Any unusual requests from the clients?
Sometimes it happens. Once an Indian groom wanted to walk with a tiger during the ceremony, but luckily he changed his mind. And there was one bride, who wanted to cut their wedding cake and then send a piece of the cake to England, to her mother who couldn’t attend the wedding. Of course, we couldn’t make it happen, but we found a way to make her mom feel closer and we set a live Skype connection with her, throughout the day, on an iPad. We have to be creative at our job!
Does every wedding go as planned or do you lose control sometimes?
A lot of things happen backstage and we have to handle all of them. We once had to stop a fire! We turned from wedding planners into firemen! At another wedding, the groom fell into the swimming pool and got a serious fracture. It happened right in the middle of the after party. He spent a few weeks in a hospital, but now he’s fine and happy with his wife.
How do you survive all this stress?
It is said that wedding planner is the 5th most stressful job in the world, right after policeman or surgeon. However, no matter how many difficulties we face along the way, when we see the results of our work on the wedding day, it outweighs all of it.
We recently came back from Destination Wedding Planner Congress in Italy, where we met Sharon Sacks, a celebrity wedding planner (she planned a wedding for Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, for example), and she said that being a wedding planner is a choice. We work hard, we get tired and stressed, sometimes we think it’s too much to handle, but in the end of the day, no matter what job you do, you have to be good at it, and you have to work hard to achieve your goals. We need to appreciate what we do, but always remember to make time for ourselves.