Categories: AllBeachBohoDestinationFestivalReal Wedding

Lovebox | Festival: Destination Wedding

I’m a little bit in love with today’s real wedding. OK a lot. I am a lot in love with this beautiful Lovebox, festival themed, destination wedding.

Tianjin and Ben’s relaxed, boho wedding was set in a gorgeous villa in Koh Samui, it’s so pretty I’m sure you’ll be dreaming of sacking off the English wedding and running off with your man to stage your own beach festival wedding!

We met at a music festival in London called “Lovebox”, hence the Lovebox theme for the wedding. It was a twist of fate as we bumped into each other the first time by accident, Ben said “Hi” and I said “Hello”, we danced, and sparks flew.

Then we lost each other and had not exchanged numbers. Later that night, in amongst thousands of festival goers, Ben saw me (“The Crazy Aussie”) running for the tube at the end of the festival. He grabbed my number before anything else was said… and the rest is history.

We chose the island Koh Samui in Thailand for a number of reasons. It is half-way between Australia & UK/ Europe where all of our friends and family are spread around the world. We also chose Koh Samui as we have spent a lot of fun times on the island together and it is a magical place.

The amazing food, gorgeous people, beautiful culture and stunning environment made it easy to choose Koh Samui as our wedding location. Because everyone flew a long way for the wedding, the wedding was a week long celebration, in true festival style.

We organised Welcome Drinks, A fancy Dress party, Yoga in the morning (as Tianjin is a yoga teacher), games on the grass, The wedding, & finally a farewell gathering. As guests arrived at the welcome drinks we had “Lovebox” festival wristbands made for the wedding week.

Like all good festivals, we were completely exhausted by the end of the week… but with HUGE smiles on our faces!

Benjamin definitely didn’t want to wear a suit and he wanted him and the guys to be comfortable but stylish.  He went for the classy crisp white fitted shirt from Calibre with neatly rolled up sleeves. 

He sourced fitted navy cotton chinos from Canterbury of New Zealand with a small green kiwi emblem above the back pocket and red stitching detail at the fly button and down the side seams. 

None of the boys wore shoes for the ceremony but they did have boat shoes to match the outfits. Benjamin wore oatmeal rope plaited braces with the groomsmen wearing matching belts from Scotch & Soda. To finish the look my brother, Tusyan, found some amazing summer neck scarves from Orlebar Brown.

Benjamin and Tusyan wore matching navy and white colourways with the other boys wearing the plain navy. It had an air of nautica without looking too much like they were on their way to the yacht club. 

I knew I wanted something a little different for my wedding dress, something a little hippy and beachy, and fun! I definitely wanted it to be short, but at the same time elegant. When I met with my amazing wedding dress designer Leonardo Salinas we decided on having 2 dresses in one.

A lace, fitted mini-dress with a removable, more elegant dress over the top. I spent most of the wedding in both dresses and removed the top dress for our first dance and then it stayed off for the rest of the night, so I had more freedom to dance.

We couldn’t find any bridesmaid dresses off the rack that we liked, and Leonardo Salinas was doing such an amazing job with my wedding dress that we decided to have them made as well. We wanted them to be ivory and comfortable, with a focus on beautiful jewellery. They looked like angels on the day!

We wanted to use local flowers & I wasn’t too fussed what flowers they were so long as they were white, cream and green to fit with the earthy, natural theme. I was very pleased with the lotus/ rose combination that were used and I brought some material from my wedding dress over with me so that I could have my lace wrapped around the stems.

My bridesmaids had some ivory material also from my dress wrapped around their bouquets.

As we were barefoot, and the girls needed a belt to pull their dress in at the waist. We ended up having most of our jewellery made by our friend Eliza Pross who custom makes jewellery for weddings. She made my foot jewellery with a tiny blue stone at the toe (something blue), the girls belts & their anklets. We loved them all!

I wore my long hair loose with natural curls. I also had an amazing flower headpiece custom made by Melbourne designer Connie Cao which completed the look. 

We knew instantly that we wanted Sarah Christensen to be our wedding photographer from the moment we were engaged. Having seen a lot of her work and been in her presence many times, we knew that she had the perfect personality, vibe, ideas and natural skill to shoot our wedding.

We couldn’t have been happier with the photos she took (and there are many!). It’s going to be a very hard task to choose our wedding album with so many beautiful photos to choose from!!!!!  She went the extra mile and took the time to explore the nearby area to find different locations for the photos, capturing some magical moments.

On the day she was extremely professional, caring, fun, laid back, and basically, amazing! We would not hesitate in highly recommending her to friends for their special day.

We custom designed all of our décor styling to fit the festival theme and decided on everything from the “Chapel” sign at the ceremony, the heart bunting, the beautiful chairs (we didn’t want the plastic ones with material covering), the floating candles, the decorated trees, the lanterns and lights, the festival table finder board, the festival table settings (each being a different festival that we have been to together), the guestbook puzzle, and the blackboards with our “cocktails of choice” and “our love story” board.

Some were made and supplied by the wedding planners and others we organised and either made ourselves and brought over with us or sourced when we were on the island.

Being foodie’s and very much into healthy eating, we were fortunate being in Thailand with not only their amazing cuisine but the abundance of fresh food, organic options, seafood and local produce we had at our fingertips.

There were canapes served of fresh rice paper rolls and chicken satay, and for the dinner, the tables were filled with healthy and plentiful dishes to share ranging from softshell crab, beautiful fish dishes, organic vegetables, curries, stirfries, thai salads, the works.

No one was left hungry… they were fueled for the evening.

The drinks were a huge focus for us too. We really wanted people to have choice and we didn’t want to get stuck with a drinks package, so Ben and I decided to source and buy all the alcohol ourselves. Guests had “Bride’s cocktail of choice” OR “Groom’s cocktail of choice” on arrival and beers, sparkling and wine ready to go.

When we sat down for dinner, each table was stocked with Liquor of choice and mixers to make their own drinks. Beer, sparkling and wine were also flowing.  Later in the evening, as a special treat to guests, we had a typical Thai pancake man arrive on his motorbike and set up his stall on the sand just outside the villa.  

We really wanted our guestbook to be different and fun so we had a big wooden jigsaw puzzle made for us which we took over to Thailand. Guests were given colourful pens to draw , design and write messages on the puzzle pieces for us to put together back home and one day, turn into a table.

And if you could impart any words of wisdom to future brides? 

The best advice we could give is to try to do as much of the planning and or decorating for the wedding as possible. We ended up doing quite a bit ourselves i.e. our guestbook, wedding gifts, menus, blackboards, purchasing alcohol etc, and not only did this save us some money, but we really felt it brought a piece of us to the wedding.

Also, choose a venue that doesn’t have a curfew. Due to our wedding being in our own private villa, we could keep the party going for as long as we wanted. It is your wedding day, do you really want it to end??? Lastly, take a moment together and take a step back from all the wedding action and watch all of your loved ones enjoying themselves for you. It is amazing!


And your most memorable moments?

It sounds so corny, but spending the whole ceremony staring into each others eyes was extremely powerful and magical. It made us realise, in our busy lives, how seldom we did that.

The ceremony was a magical moment as we felt as though we were in our own little bubble until we turned around and saw all our amazing friends and family sharing the moment. Also, having all of our favourite people all together for a whole week was the most amazing thing of all. Something that probably wont ever happen again!

What an absolutely uh-mazing mazing wedding! I would like to be invited to one of these please… Sarah Christensen captured Tianjin and Ben’s day so beautifully and don’t they make such a gorgeous couple huh!

Are you planning a beach or destination wedding? Where would your dream wedding destination be?

credits | photography: sarah christensen photography | wedding venue: baan suriya (sunshine villa), lipa noi, koh samui | bride’s dress: leonardo salinas custom made | bridesmaids dresses: leonardo salinas custom made | grooms formal wear: shirts calibre chinos canterbury of new zealand belts scotch & soda scarves orlebar brown wedding rings: brides: charles nobel grooms: south west trader | jewellery & accessories: eliza pross | hair: my beautiful friends; bec simpson & charissa liacolopoulos did our curls | headpieceand connie cao | makeup: my amazing sister; bianca lawless with mostly mac products | florist: part of wedding package | cake: rspa resort,  lamai beach, koh samui

Sonia Collett: Founder and Editor of the WTW blog. Sonia set up Want That Wedding over 5 years ago - after her own wedding day. During the planning process, Sonia realised she had a mad crazy love for all things wedding and continues to be a total wedding obsessive to this very day! Happiest when swooning over newlyweds real weddings or beautiful wedding dresses... she's also an incurable romantic who is rather fond of anything that glitters. Follow her on Twitter, (@wantthatwedding), Pinterest (wantthatwedding), Instagram (wantthatwedding), Facebook (wantthatwedding) and Snapchat (wantthatwedding)

View Comments

  • I'd give up a kidney for the chance to shoot a wedding like this! Okay, that's a bit over-dramatic, but it accurately portrays how much I love this.

  • Does anyone know where to find a short white lace dress like that one?! Really desperate to know!

    • Hi Becky, you could easily ask someone to make you a dress like this :) Where are you based? Sonia XxX

        • Any good dress maker should be able to help you with something like this, she wore a shot lace dress with a second dress over the top :) XxX

          • Yeah I really liked the thought of having a longer dress and being able to take off the top dress and wear a short one for reception :) Thanks for the reply!

  • would love to shoot a wedding in a country like Thailand, beats it raining in England!

  • Did the private villa itself offer the wedding venue? Or it was catered from a different restaurant?

    Thank you

  • Lovely wedding! Was there a wedding planner that organised this or did the bride do all the work? Any idea of a budget aside from the villa rental for this wedding? Love it, but not sure its in my budget...