Boutique Wedding Planning Services | Koh Tao, Thailand

We’ve written all sorts of blogs to help you with your destination wedding to Koh Tao and now we’re hitting the big topic of all weddings…the dress! With so many things to think about - the style, the cut, the fabric and, of course, the weather - where does a bride even start? Well… here would be a good place!

Wedding Dress Designer James Steward

Award-winning, couture wedding dress designer James Steward has kindly provided us with some simple guidelines to help you, our Forever Lovestruck brides, think of every eventuality and to ensure that your dress is simply perfect for your tropical island destination wedding.

Over to you, James! 

Forget the Blancmange…if you can!

In my honest opinion, a ball gown belongs in, well, a ballroom…not on a beach! A big ‘Cinderella style’ wedding dress may look Vogue-worthy against a tropical backdrop, but, believe me, with the heat, it will only hinder you during your tropical island wedding day.  Don’t get me wrong, people do get married on beaches in full gowns, and, of course, there is no rule against it. I would just advise that you look for a lighter fabric that allows for more movement.James Steward Bridal
James Steward Bridal

Attract the Ocean Breeze…Not the Sand

When deciding on the type of dress you’d like, think of the elements that surround you, in this case sun, sea and sand. Choose a lightweight fabric and immerse yourself in natural fibres that will match your environment. Stay clear of synthetic fabrics and think silk, cotton, linen, charmeuse and certain chiffons. All are lightweight and breezy, and will help you to keep your cool and they’ll flow perfectly in the ocean breeze.

Be careful if you want a long train; not only can it look like a sail in the wind, but you’re also more likely to have cleared most of the beach of sand by the time you reach your husband-to-be. If this is something you’re really hooked on, check with your wedding planner to find out if some sort of walkway can be provided to minimise sand collection. There are, however, so many other options out there: accessorise with a fresh flower crown or fascinator, rock the ‘Game of Thrones’ look with beautiful plaits, or ‘go natural’ with beach style, boho curls.

James Steward Bridal Design

Avoid Intricate, Delicate Detail…Keep it Simple

Lace is, indeed, beautiful and beading catches the sunlight perfectly, but keep these to a minimum on your tropical island wedding dress, especially towards the bottom. “Why?” you ask. Something that most of us will be unware of - lace attracts sand like a bee to honey! You’ll end up with sand everywhere and wrestling bits of shell out of your dress.
What you can do is opt for an intricate top half of the dress and keep the bottom lightweight and simple. Believe me, the elements will do the rest of the work to show off your dress to perfection. The dress below was made for an English summer wedding, but would be perfectly adaptable to a beach wedding simply by taking some of the fullness out of the dress. 

James Steward Detailed Wedding Dress




Comfort Doesn’t Mean Boring…Express Your Style

It’s your BIG day, and it’s going to be a fun-filled event where you’ll be dancing in the moonlight until, maybe, the early hours of the morning. Without sounding like your mum, comfort is key on your wedding day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with your dress. Be a little playful with your wedding look - add a splash of vibrant color, or maybe you want to forgo the traditional white wedding dress altogether and go short…hell, if you feel comfortable enough, then tie the knot in a bikini!
James Steward Nathan Wedding DressSo, you’ve heard my tips, but what would my advice be? I’d opt with keeping your beach wedding dress simple. The design and fabric need to be light to suit the setting and surroundings. If you want to jazz it up, then add some design touches - backless is a key element in a lot my bespoke bridal designs; timeless and elegant at the front, and then that eye-catching detail at the back.

‘Diamond Back’ Bridal Dress

The ‘Diamond Back’ is made out of soft Italian crepe with classic applique detail, and subtly hand-stitched on the back. This dress is cut on the bias so that it sits beautifully on the body, and is made to flow perfectly with the elements.


‘Nemesis’ Bridal Dress

Made from a structured, but soft, British fabric, the eye-catching pleats and angles of the ‘Nemesis’ bridal dress sit beautifully, framing the shoulders waist and hips to create that perfect ‘hour glass’ outline. The appliques on the shoulder provide the minimum of detail and reflect beautifully in the sunlight, whilst the detail on the back provides the shape and perfect fishtail for some added detail.

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Having said all this, it’s your day and you’re free to wear whatever you want. Just make sure you’re happy with the fit of whichever dress you choose and that you feel 100% comfortable; do not settle for anything less! As a designer, I can advise and help you to create your design, but it’s you that has to wear it, and the dress will ultimately reflect your style and individuality. I always encourage my brides to ask as many questions as they like, come up with as many ideas as possible and make as many alterations as needed - just walk away 100% happy!

About James Steward

James is an award winning fashion designer based in the North of England and is twice winner of 'Designer of the Year ' and twice winner of 'Yorkshire Brides Couture Designer of the Year' for his bespoke wedding dress designs. James was also the first British designer to show at Vancouver fashion week in 2010.

Throughout our lives, we regularly employ others to help us pick our way through major (and minor!) events in our lives: an estate agent to help us to buy or sell our home, a car dealership to buy or sell our car, a travel agent/website to arrange our annual holiday, delivery companies to ease the effort of getting our purchases to our door, apps to help us get the best online deals, to name just a few. We use intermediaries practically every day to help us to achieve our objectives without even thinking about it. So when it comes to your wedding, why wouldn’t you hire a wedding planner?!

Your wedding day will be one of the most elaborate events that you’ll plan in your whole life, whether it’s an elopement, a simple affair, or something larger with all the bells and whistles. Whilst most of us brides-to-be would like to think that we can do everything and organise the Wedding of the Century as well as carrying on with our already ‘bursting-at-the-seams’ lives, the reality of planning a wedding soon hits home, and for those of us dreaming of a wedding in a far-off land, it can seem like an even more daunting task.

This is when having a wedding planner for your destination wedding will very quickly make you realise that having eyes, ears and feet in the locality are not only a necessity, but a true blessing! Not only will a wedding planner be dedicated to listening to what you want for your BIG day, they’re be able to guide you through what to expect at your selected destination, the legalities of getting married abroad and all those little things that only someone living in the locality will know.

Local Knowledge

Koh Tao Beach WeddingWhether you know the destination or not, having a wedding planner who lives at your chosen destination, who understands the local culture and more importantly, knows who to contact and how to get things done, means that you can have your cake and eat it – literally!

When my friend asked me to be her Maid of Honour (and only bridesmaid), I was delighted…and terrified! What did I have to do? What would the bride’s expectations of me be? What would the rest of the guests expect of me? OMG…I had to organise the Hen Party!  My biggest concern was that it was a destination wedding, so I wouldn’t be able to check things out in person beforehand. As with the majority of destination weddings, it’s pretty normal that most of the guests won’t have been to the destination, so for them it was going to be a great holiday with the added bonus of a wedding. For the wedding party, it’s also going to be super exciting, but there will be a number of additional steps that they’ll need to plan for as they may not be personally familiar with the location, or know what to expect regarding the local culture.
Map of Thailand

I was lucky – I had previously lived at the destination and the bride, groom and most of the guests were still residing there; so at least I knew what to expect, but I was now living in the UK…!! How was I going to be a supportive bridesmaid from a distance? As it turned out, it didn’t really make any difference – it’s not uncommon for brides and their bridesmaids to live in different parts of the country; so just like them, we messaged, Pinterested and WhatsApp called…a lot!

We’ve all been there - you’re off on holiday, you’ve done your bikini diet and now it’s time to enjoy all the local cuisine and cocktails that are on offer. But what if you want the best of both worlds? How do you mix entertaining your guests with delicious food and sunset cocktails whilst maintaining a healthy lifestyle?  Whether you’re coming here for your destination wedding or are just coming on holiday, Koh Tao is a holiday destination where it's surprisingly simple to Live Well and Eat Well.

Live Well

A previous blog, ‘Why you should get married in Koh Tao – Part 2’, details the activities available on our little slice of paradise that range from rock climbing and cliff jumping to paddle boarding and hiking, but there’s more…

Grounded Yoga Koh Tao

Grounded is a wellbeing centre that offers classes in yoga, Pilates, meditation, primal flow, Latin dance and functional strength workshops as well retreats and hosted hikes to the breath-taking viewpoints of Koh Tao. They also work closely with the community offering the space for Saturday weekly markets and Wednesday "Crafternoons', plus they organise beach clean-ups, which anyone can join.  Their classes, which are 300THB, are small and intimate. You can pick from beach yoga, at Maya Beach Club, in the morning, or rooftop sunset yoga, at Summer Guesthouse, in the evening. You also have the option of a guided paddleboard tour after your morning beach yoga; what a great way to further relax and explore Koh Tao!

When it comes to beach weddings, heels are most definitely overrated. Whether you chose to wear sandals or go barefoot, it’s the one place where formal wear will look out of place; so kick off your shoes, feel the sand between your toes and forget you ever voluntarily wore high heels!

Check out our alternatives so that your tootsies look wedding ready and as pretty as a picture.

Photo: Etsy