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The best time to tie the knot in Thailand (and it's not when you think)

Say the words ‘off-season in Thailand’ to most people and they’ll probably think of monsoonal rains, limited transport options and tumbleweeds blowing through empty resorts. 
But savvy travellers know that with a bit of research and clever timing, the low and shoulder seasons can actually be the best time to visit Thailand – and to get hitched there. Not only is there less competition for the most popular venues and suppliers, but there will also be fewer crowds, meaning your beautiful wedding pics won’t be photobombed by tourists in Singha singlets and beach braids. Oh, and did we mention the fact that your (and your guests’) flights and accommodation will be MUCH cheaper? We break down what you need to know with the help of an expert wedding planner.

When exactly is off-season?

The first task on your destination wedding to-do list will be to pick a date. Once you’ve taken into account your annual leave, your SO’s footy season and the myriad other weddings on your calendar, think about the seasonality of your preferred location. 

“Seasonality is one of the first discussions we have with our clients,” says wedding planner Anna Robinson from Take Us To Thailand. “While hot all year round, Thailand’s two most popular wedding destinations, Koh Samui and Phuket, have very different weather patterns, creating many great times throughout the year to enjoy a wedding with amazing weather, or on the cusp of high season while enjoying low season accommodation rates.” 

In Phuket and Krabi, low season generally runs from May to October, while on Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, it’s from May to June and then October to December. According to Anna, it’s the weeks around these periods that offer the greatest value for money while minimising the chance of bad weather. “Aim for shoulder periods, for example, on Phuket we encourage couples trying to benefit from the low season affordability to choose early-mid May or mid-late October, in the hope of great weather and fantastic value,” she says. 

Choosing a venue

One of the biggest benefits of getting married out of peak season is being able to indulge those champagne tastes on a beer budget, and nowhere is this more the case than with your venue. “Brilliant resorts and villas at lower costs mean you can choose a more luxurious wedding venue, offering greater privacy and a higher standard of food and beverage quality and service,” says Anna.

When picking your venue, look for features that will work with your low season wedding, rather than against it. Phuket’s Cape Panwa Hotel, for instance, boasts its own private beach that’s totally protected from large waves, so you can still take a dip even if the water’s a bit choppy. The resort also has a range of suites to choose from, including a beautiful three-bedroom beach villa that can be used as accommodation or even as an intimate wedding venue. Want to go all out? Book The Cape Absolute Suite, an amazing two-storey suite with glass walls, an infinity pool and 360-degree views of the ocean where you can watch both the sunset and sunrise. Nope, not making that up. 

Pick of the bunch

The other benefit of getting hitched in the low or shoulder season is that you’ll have your pick of suppliers, which is important when you’re dealing with destinations that don’t have all that many to choose from in the first place. “Good suppliers (celebrants, hair and make-up artists, photographers, etc) are limited on these resort islands, so choosing low season not only saves you and your guests money but can give you the pick of the bunch for quality people involved on your special day,” says Anna.

Oh, and did we mention your guests will love you for choosing this time of year? “Low season also allows guests to stay somewhere more luxurious than they otherwise could afford, or to make the trip at all with more options available at their price point,” says Anna. “Flights are very competitive and these periods away from high season often see more sale fares released too.” Once you’ve picked your date, sign up for email alerts with the relevant airlines so you can let your guests know when flights go on sale.

Things to keep in mind

While there are many pros to an off-season destination wedding, there are a couple of important points to think about now to avoid any nasty surprises when you step off the plane. Firstly, be prepared. “Tropical weather is unpredictable and a back-up option in case of rain is essential,” says Anna. “Ensure it’s a space that you like, where your seating plan can be accommodated, and that can be used without much delay. Booking a villa designed to accommodate 12 guests is a hopeless wedding venue for 80 guests if it rains and you’re not prepared.”

Secondly, do your research – and we don’t just mean a Google search. “Make sure you have the correct information,” says Anna. “Many couples call us telling us about the weather patterns they’ve found online, which are incorrect generalisations. One time of year may be awful on one side of the country but fine on the other – if the date is important, we can help you choose the perfect location to maximise the weather and affordability.”

And lastly, manage your guests’ expectations. “If guests are escaping winter to enjoy the sun in Thailand, low season typically offers less sunny blue skies and calm oceans for swimming than high season. There may be a movie afternoon instead of another pool day at some point during a low season getaway!”

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