Faraway Villa Wedding versus a Resort Wedding
Faraway Weddings has been arranging weddings on Koh Samui since 2004 and it has recently become apparent that the kind of wedding now wanted on the island has evolved. In our experience, the current trend is to opt for a private villa wedding rather than a resort.
This conclusion is based on our bookings over the last few years and also our future booking patterns. So, when preparing the relevant text for this website it seemed appropriate to look at the benefits of a Faraway Villa wedding in comparison to one held at a resort.
- The first and most obvious advantage is privacy. All beaches in Thailand are public and therefore there is never any guarantee of a private beach ceremony. However, the potential of other resort guests being present on the beach at the time of the ceremony is clearly greater than the risk of people using the beach at our private villa venue.
The Faraway Villa is located near other resorts, and so people can come to see what's going on when a wedding is occurring. A Faraway Wedding can be quite an attraction with Thai dancers and musicians and sometimes elephants all combining as an interesting event to witness.
Fortunately, Lipa Noi beach, where the villa is situated, is one of the quietest beaches on the island and so even if the wedding does attract a few onlookers it is rarely enough to cause any significant problem or noticeable distraction.
To prevent anyone getting too close we always rope and screen off the beach for the ceremony and have staff stood at the ropes to prevent anyone walking past during the actual ceremony. This is also done at our resort weddings.
Where the privacy can become an issue at a resort wedding is during the reception dinner and subsequent party. At a resort you are naturally restricted to using the hotel's facilities, which in many circumstances are also open to other guests. Some of the larger resorts do have private function rooms which tend to be away from the beach and gardens and lacking any ambience as they are mainly used for corporate functions.
At the Faraway Villa the only people present for the whole dinner and after party will be you, your guests and our staff; ensuring your total privacy throughout the evening. This is especially appreciated during the first dance and the speeches which are always very personal and only intended to be heard or seen by invited guests.
- Another major advantage with choosing a Faraway Villa wedding is that there is no tie-in to accommodation. In almost all cases with resort, and other villa weddings, it is compulsory for the bride and groom to stay at the resort for a minimum of three nights. In addition to this, the resort will also stipulate that a percentage of your guests also stay at the resort for your wedding.
This not only restricts you, but it also places an unnecessary demand on your guests to stay where you want to stay. This may not suit their tastes, needs or budget.
With the Faraway Villa we at Faraway Weddings do not make any demands regarding your own or your guests' accommodation. It makes no difference to the wedding if you are staying in a 500 baht per night beach hut or a 50,000 baht per night luxury suite or villa.
In fact we encourage you and your guests to consider which location works best for your individual needs and therefore get the best possible experience of the island. We understand that the primary reason for the guests being here is for the wedding, but they are on holiday too.
We have our own reservations manager who is available for you and your guests to individually book and organise the accommodation for those who request it. This is not a compulsory service but one set up to assist everyone in finding suitable accommodation. We can also usually negotiate a beneficial rate if the booking is made through us and this is especially evident when making group bookings.
- The next issue is the setting for the wedding ceremony and the reception. The Faraway Villa is purely and simply a wedding venue. It is not used for any other purpose and has therefore been designed and adapted to ensure that it is a functional and flexible venue to cater to all wedding circumstances.
Every aspect has been specifically built or created to ensure the smooth running of the day. The bride's room is a professional salon with individual hair and make-up stations to enable the best environment for the bridal party to prepare for the ceremony.
The function room has been designed to provide a back up for dining in the event of heavy rain. This function room is facing the beach, has opening glass doors linking it to the terrace and bar making it a light and airy space. The ceiling is draped to give the appearance of a marquee and the walls have been hand painted with Frangipani trees and flowers to add to the outdoor impression and natural ambience.
The function room is only normally used in times of rain, however the finish, style and atmosphere has actually led to some couples requesting that the reception dinner be held in there regardless of the weather. Sometimes having the dinner in an air-conditioned space is preferable.
Even the garden has had a stylish walkway created for the bride to ensure that the wedding dress has a clean dry surface to move along as the bride makes her anticipated entrance onto the beach.
It is inevitable with any resort that the general facilities, required for the smooth running of the hotel, have to be altered and adapted on the day to try and make the wedding day work. They will not have specific wedding ceremonial or reception areas allocated.
- Faraway Weddings has a dedicated team of permanent wedding staff. Weddings are what we do, and the only thing we do. Therefore the staff know their jobs inside out, they know the venue and they are all very experienced at ensuring that each wedding day is a special occasion. At a resort there may be a single wedding planner working full-time at the resort, however the rest of the team on the day will be made up of people who are resort staff for 95% or more of their working lives.
On a wedding day they will be expected to perform different duties to their normal jobs and so there is more risk of mistakes or unfamiliarity causing unnecessary issues.
- No matter what your financial situation may be, money is always an important issue. The overall expense may not be an issue, but value for money, transparency and accurate pricing are always of interest.
One area which stands out at the Faraway Villa in terms of practicality and value for money is the bar system operated at the venue. At a resort you will always be subjected to resort prices for any alcohol purchased. Depending on the size of the wedding party some resorts will offer a percentage discount on the normal prices but in any event corkage will be charged on alcohol brought in by you or your guests.
Faraway Weddings do not prescribe to this method as it can have a very big impact on the overall cost of the wedding. Therefore we have introduced a much fairer system which has proven to be incredibly popular.
A bar set-up charge is calculated based on the number of guests. This figure covers the cost of labour in terms of bar tenders, glass collectors and glass washers. It also includes glass hire, and bar sundries such as napkins, straws, ice, cocktail stirrers and so on. Finally, included in this charge, is the physical setting up and preparation of the bar area.
A price list from local wholesalers is then provided for you to choose the alcohol you want to have at the wedding. Your personal wedding planner will assist with the quantities needed and what alcohol is required for your chosen cocktails.
Based on your needs the wedding planner will then order the necessary drinks at cost price and this is exactly what you will pay. All drinks will be collected and taken to the villa on the wedding day in time to be available for when the guests arrive.
The alcohol is yours and therefore, if any is left at the end of the night, it is yours to take away and enjoy during the rest of your stay on the island.
In addition to this we accept that certain beverages, especially champagne and wine, can be very expensive in Thailand. Therefore we actively encourage you and your guests to bring such items through duty free wherever possible to save paying inflated prices. We do not charge any corkage.
Similarly, if a guest turns up with a specific bottle of spirits or a crate of their favourite beer, then that's fine and again no corkage is charged.
This represents a very fair procedure and a major financial saving.
- To maximise the overall pleasure of your trip to Samui and of course your wedding day. It is often important to consider the location of where you stay and the location of your wedding as two separate issues.
The reason for this is simply that what you want or need for your holiday, honeymoon and general accommodation may differ from what you expect for your wedding day.
For instance it is common for couples and groups to want to stay in a busy resort area where they have many options for dining, entertainment and activities. The beaches in these areas are usually busier. The bride and groom may also want a more secluded or private beachfront setting for the time after the wedding.
However, for the wedding day it is more common to desire a more peaceful, less busy, beach for the ceremony such as Lipa Noi beach where the Faraway Villa is sitiuated.
Samui is a relatively small island and we can provide transport to ensure that all guests arrive at the wedding and are returned afterwards.
- When considering either a resort or Faraway Villa wedding another aspect is the photography. This overlaps a little with the privacy issue as it makes sense that there is less risk of having unwanted people appearing in your photos on a more peaceful beach.
But one element of the wedding photography which we know from experience is a very sought after and important aspect is the sunset.
Lipa Noi is positioned perfectly to enjoy the famous Samui sunsets all year round. Of course there are other resorts on the sunset side of the island, but as mentioned earlier these tend to be in areas where choices in terms of dining, shopping and entertainment are limited.
- There is one final element of the wedding which is often not considered when booking a resort wedding or even a private residential villa wedding and that is the wow-factor of your special day.
To explain further, it is undeniable that Samui has some absolutely breathtaking resorts and villas which will undoubtedly have an impact on anyone seeing them for the first time. But, if you've been staying there for a few days prior to the wedding then some of that impact will be lost when seeing the ceremonial set up.
Sometimes the build-up to the wedding doesn't generate the required anticipation and excitement because you can get changed 5 minutes before the wedding and step out of your room straight into the event.
With a wedding at the Faraway Villa the guests will all have to get ready earlier and then travel together in minibuses to the venue. This certainly creates a tangible build up and wedding atmosphere before the wedding begins. Then, on arrival, they will be seeing not only the ceremonial set up, but the gardens, the terrace, the beach and everything else for the first time, making this a more memorable and special moment.