Exotic Celebration in Thailand

Olivia and Ryan's White Sand Wedding

How They Met

When ex-pat Aussie Olivia Hudson went to an Australian themed bar with her housemates in March 2007, she thought it was just a regular Sunday. At the bar a very cute boy, Ryan Knight, caught Olivia’s eye but missed her first few attempts at talking to him. Olivia persisted and Ryan finally caught on and they got chatting. Ryan, an emergency medical technician, was leaving to do a tour of Afghanistan the next week and didn’t want to get involved in anything serious, but the two realised there was a spark and decided to email each other while he was away. The couple gradually got to know each other through letters, emails and occasional phone calls; and it was when Ryan returned for his rest week in June that the couple realised they were falling head over heels.

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The Proposal

In December of 2007, six months after they officially started dating, Ryan and Olivia were spending a few days in Bath relaxing after a friend’s wedding. Ryan was unusually quiet all day but Olivia thought it was just tiredness so they continued to sightsee. Later that day when getting ready to go out for dinner they started to chat about their plans for the future. “All of a sudden Ryan looked me square in the eye and asked me to marry him,” remembers Olivia. “It was a complete surprise and it took me a few seconds to regain my composure before I said yes!”

The Wedding Ceremony

“We both decided we wanted a white sand, romantic wedding, building on our version of paradise,” says Olivia. “We had our hearts set on beautiful Thailand: halfway between each of our homes and families.

The ceremony was held on a private island with a celebrant and we got to personalise our vows. The aisle was lined with parasols and lotus flowers with an arbour at the end, which was covered in white material and more lotus flowers. Our guests sat on large beanbags with individual parasols.”

The Wedding Dress

Olivia knew her Cymbeline wedding dress was The One when she tried it on at Blackburn Bridal Couture. “I really loved the look of lace wedding dresses and needed one that was light and cool because of the heat in Thailand,” explains Olivia. “We went to Blackburn Bridal as they had a Cymbeline weekend, with the complete collection over from Paris. As soon as I put my dress on all I could imagine was walking down the aisle.”

The chosen lace gown had a fitted bodice at the top with a beautiful layered skirt creating an attractive tiered silhouette. Olivia completed the look with a long veil dotted with Swarovski crystals and pearl and crystal jewellery from the UK high street.

The Wedding Party

As morning dress seemed too formal for their exotic ceremony, Ryan and Olivia decided that the groom would get a bespoke suit for the occasion. The couple visited London tailors Cad & the Dandy, where Ryan got to choose the style, fabric and lining of his suit. Personalised stitching on the inside pocket commemorated the day.

Olivia found the perfect dresses for her bridesmaids in Coast, choosing aubergine to match the overarching wedding theme of purple orchids.

The Wedding Venue

“The location was the focal point as we wanted to thank everyone for making the trip to celebrate with us. It took everyone’s breath away,” explains Olivia. “We hired fantastic wedding planners Take us to Thailand, who helped us find the perfect venue and styled and co-ordinated our big day. The Sri Panwa resort in Phuket, Thailand was absolutely idyllic. We had exclusive use of the Baba Pool Club for post-ceremony cocktails and canapés on the deck, followed by a wonderful reception at the Baba Q restaurant”

The Wedding Flowers

“All of our flowers were provided by Sri Panwa. We were able to choose any amount from lotuses, orchids, roses and frangipani so we jumped at the chance,” says Olivia. “Exotic flowers are my favourites, so we had purple orchids, which are a symbol of Thailand. My bouquet was made of an assortment of white roses, orchids and lotus flowers wrapped in banana leaves. Floating lotuses in the reception venue pools were a perfectly elegant touch.”

The Wedding Breakfast

The resort’s catering staff provided the wedding breakfast, creating delicious traditional Thai food. “They were very flexible with dietary choices,” remembers Olivia. “Fresh, fragrant main courses of lime, chilli and garlic snapper, Massaman lamb and chicken with cashew nuts were perfect for the heat.

“As it was very hot, we decided against a traditional cake. Instead we had a table of desserts including exotic fresh fruit, decadent chocolate brownies, crème brûlée and panna cotta.”

The Wedding Favours

“The female guests were given buri fans (traditional hand woven fans) with which to keep cool, tied with ribbon and a date card from Beaucoup,” reports Olivia. “The male favours were great too! We had a family member draw up sketches of Ryan and me with a beach scene behind and the date of the wedding. These were then printed onto stubby holders, which were so necessary in the heat and proved to be a hit!”

The Bride’s Top Tips

“As half the guests lived in Australia, we decided to create a wedding website, allowing us to keep everyone in the loop about our plans,” explains Olivia. “It saved a lot of time and heartache with vital info like timetables and dress codes. There was even a section to request songs!

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“I would recommend getting married abroad to any bride-to-be. We had a whole week of celebrations with our friends and family. Plus it can work out cheaper in the long run. If you are worried about your budget, get friends or family members with a skill to help out; they’ll be flattered that you trust them with something so important.”