Nothing could keep them apart. Neither distance, nor time. What love had promised, even the pandemic could not unbind.
I could say that this is a story about our breathtaking wedding villas in Phuket. About romance and magic. Enchanting views and sunset hues. But no, that would not be right. This is a story simply about two lovers who were meant to be. A time tested love story. There’s drama, there’s suspense. There’s romance, and a little mermaid called Sienna. The joy of their life. But above all, this is the story about Rebecca and Glen. Who met one fateful night in 2010 while on holiday in Langkawi, Glen with his parents and Rebecca backpacking through Malaysia.
Love at first sight may sound cliche but that’s what it was. So much so that when Rebecca travelled to Kuala Lumpur only a week after their chance encounters, she and her friend found themselves staying at Glen’s place. She returned to Sydney soon after but realised that she had left her heart behind.
This is where their story deviates from the classic fairytale. Where other love stories end, with the lovers deciding to be together, theirs began. Only 24 years old at the time, Rebecca decided that if they both had to build a life together in the future, she had to find a career that would travel with Glen’s expat life. Rebecca (Bekki) went to the UK to qualify as an English teacher. Often close but not always in the same place, Glen spent years working in Dubai while Bekki got a job in Qatar and they continued to grow up together yet apart. This is the beauty of a love that is true. It blooms regardless, with only the intent and promise of tomorrow to nurture it.
Finally, Bekki and Glen moved in together eight years ago and started building the life that they had always imagined. Always the planner, Glen looked at life 10 years hence, while Bekki loved to live in the moment. Yet, the one thing that they agreed upon, was the promise to hold and cherish each other forever.
It was on a 2018 trip to Banff and Casper in British Columbia, Canada that Glen got down on one knee and proposed to Bekki. They moved to Malaysia and in 2019, started looking at wedding venues. They chose Thailand for their destination wedding as it had international airports, making it easy for their families to fly in. Their families, incidentally, who had not met each other until then.
“When it came to the wedding venue, we were quite certain that we didn’t want a hotel,” said Bekki. “They come with so many rules and restrictions, what caterers to use, limited choices for rooms, etc. We saw plenty during two recce trips to Thailand but nothing clicked.”
“And then we saw Villa Jia,” smiles Glen. It was love at first sight all over again. A beachfront property spread over 6,400sqm lush Thai land, with gardens spilling onto the sand, the sheer enormity of the villa and its picturesque setting won them over instantly. The entire wedding party could be accommodated in the villa in separate pavilions while friends could be put up nearby. They immediately booked Villa Jia at Jivana Beach Villas for their April 2020 destination wedding in Phuket and preparations began with gusto.
Little did they know that the world was soon going to turn completely upside down.
The invites were sent out. The bookings were made. The dress was bought and the flowers chosen. Friends and family were all set to fly from all over the world into Phuket to join their wedding celebrations and bless the couple.
And then Covid-19 struck. One after the other, countries started announcing border closures. Glen and Bekki would wake up each morning, surrounded by uncertainty. Guests had to change flight reservations, some dropped out, others joined in. And finally, merely two weeks before they were slated to say “I do” on the white sands of Natai Beach, Thailand closed its border and the wedding had to be called off.
“To be honest, we gave a sigh of relief when Thailand finally announced a lockdown,” said Glen. “There was so much uncertainty, so much confusion, that we couldn’t relax and look forward to our wedding day the way we had always hoped to. When we sent out the notifications about the wedding date change, it was with a tinge of disappointment, but with a dash of relief as well.”
Fourth time’s a charm
The wedding was moved not once or twice but four times over the next two years. Guests lists changed over time, the song list was redefined and the menu altered. “My dress remained the same though,” smiled Bekki. The gorgeous white lace dress that she had picked for her wedding in 2020 was the same dress in which she walked down the aisle in 2023.
But moving a wedding so many times was not easy. “We’re grateful for the support of everyone at Elite Havens,” they said. “They were so supportive and flexible, allowing us to change our bookings. There was a lot of trust between us, and they stood by us the way we stood by them.”
“We don’t mind the fact that the wedding had to be moved so many times,” shared Glen. “There were too many restrictions on the events and number of people, plus RT-PCR tests that had to be taken. We’re glad we moved it to April 2023 when Thailand is back to normal. Things are calmer, and so are we.”
There are many things that go behind the scenes while planning a destination wedding in Phuket. “A destination wedding is not like simply planning your perfect wedding day,” said Bekki. “It is planning a wedding week or weekend filled with events and activities for your beloved guests who have flown from all over the world to be there on your special day.” You want the best experience for your wedding guests and with that comes additional planning and preparations. It is about finding the right balance between planning events, dinners and activities that don’t impose too much on your guests’ holiday but equally provide relaxed opportunities to come together as a wedding party. “We went with a pre-wedding sunset beach BBQ and a relaxed buddymoon with friends and family who wanted to extend their trip after the wedding.”
Here are Glen and Becci’s top 3 tips on how to plan a fabulous destination wedding:
- Visit the venues – Wedding venues can look stunning online but actually visiting the venues and getting a real feel for a place is so important.
- A wedding planner – Having a wedding planner who is local to the area to help with all the wedding preparations makes everything so much easier.
- Wedding website – A good detailed wedding website for guests is really useful to cover all information in one place. “We included information about the wedding destination, travel requirements, accommodation, FAQs, the wedding itinerary and other wedding events we had planned.”
Wedding in Phuket
Finally, the day arrived. Bekki stunned the crowds in her trailing white gown, gliding down the aisle carpeted with white flowers on her father’s arm. Glen waited for her at the end, under a canopy of tropical flowers. And as they took their vows against the backdrop of the emerald green sea, their friends and family celebrated a love that stood strong despite all odds. A love that was meant to be. A forever kind of love.
Experience a fairytale wedding in Phuket, miles away from home, surrounded by loved ones. Elite Havens simplifies your destination wedding planning by providing a picturesque villa venue, luxurious accommodations, and connections to top-tier planners and vendors. Enjoy a seamless and unforgettable experience as you say “I do” in an enchanting setting.