An unexpected ‘proposal’ sparked this intimate and idyllic elopement to paradise.
“The entire experience was out of this world” says Claire of her magical elopement with sweetheart Josh to The Tongsai Bay, Ko Samui. “We felt like celebrities on a movie set!” Ah, but there’s a twist to the tale! This destination wedding almost wasn’t, as the couple initially embarked on an exhaustive search for a local venue. “But we quickly became disillusioned by what was on offer for our budget,” says Claire.
“Amidst some frustrated tears, after what felt like our hundredth venue visit, Josh jokingly suggested we just elope!” That throwaway line quickly turned into “a really logical and exciting prospect,” says Claire. “After some research — and sourcing the best wedding planner on the planet — we couldn’t believe we could get the wedding of our dreams in such a breathtaking location, within our budget.”
The stars were aligning, but there was one curve ball to come. “Our biggest challenge came when Josh was accepted into firefighter training and the dates clashed with our wedding day!” explains Claire. “Thank goodness for Natalie, who was absolutely outstanding and managed to reschedule the entire wedding without a blip.”
The long-awaited nuptials then unfolded in cinematic style, with Claire’s son Orran sharing the moment. “He was thrilled to be the most important, solo guest — taking on the role of best man, walking his mum down the aisle, incorporated into the ceremonies and celebrated in the festivities,” says Claire. An unforgettable scene awaited at The Tongsai Bay, with lush greenery, touches of gold, and exotic Thai decorations leading to a sumptuous floral arbour by the sea. The bride was a vision in white (that train!) while her dashing groom gave a nod to the locale in chic shades of blue.
“Walking down to meet Josh on the beach was the most special moment of my life,” says Claire. “A ball of nerves, excitement, and dream-like awe. Every time I look at our photos, I get brought right back to that wonderful feeling!” With the tranquil, azure bay as their backdrop, the newlyweds cherished their intimate “I do” before capping off the day with a romantic dinner by the beach.
And the honeymoon? After a long journey to find their wedding venue, this one was a breeze! “We stayed at The Tongsai Bay,” says Claire. “When you visit, you’ll appreciate why you would not want to leave!”
Ceremony & Reception: The Tongsai Bay, Ko Samui // Wedding planner: Natalie Hodgson, Dream Asia Weddings // Photography: Eak Kanjanamai, Eak Samui // Gown: Tuscany Bridal, Perth //Honeymoon: The Tongsai Bay