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Before getting married, Vanessa and James asked themselves what it would take to create their dream day. As it turned out sun, sand and some pad thai was all they needed. “A holiday at the beach”, says Vanessa of the inspiration behind their wedding which first featured in our annual Real Wedding Special.

Soon enough they found themselves in Koh Samui, Thailand surrounded by their closest friends and family plus their very own media crew made up of legendary photographer Lucy Spartalis and cinematographer Alastair Innes of She Takes Pictures He Makes Films.

“With family and friends coming from every corner of the globe, half of whom had not met previously, we wanted everyone to be relaxed and have time to get to know each other… We arranged a weekend of activities before the wedding day, with a beach barbecue reception, a boat trip around Ao Nang National Marine Park and lots of pool side cocktails.”

By the time their ceremony took place, it looked like their plan had worked. All beautifully caramelised by the determined Thai sun, their guests gathered outside The Library, a waterfront boutique hotel, carrying on like they’d known each other forever while Vanessa and James stole a few moments alone at Akaryn for a first look photo shoot.

“We got to have that intimate time to ourselves before the ceremony, which wiped out all the nerves so we could relax, enjoy and remember the ceremony and vows”, says Vanessa who looked incredible in her Carl Kapp gown from David Jones Bridal, candy-coloured flower crown and turquoise heels.

Once pronounced husband and wife they ditched their shoes and made their way onto the sandy shores of Chaweng Beach, where The Library had arranged a spectacular reception, boasting an outside bar, DJ and a canopy of hanging lights. “I DIY’ed the fans for our guests and also the animal place holders on the table”, Vanessa says of her input, admitting she tried not to get too caught up in all the itty bitty details.

“At the end of the day it’s about you and committing your love to the person who you want to spend the rest of your life with, and sharing that with all the people who you love most in the world.” It seems a sweet suntan was just the icing on the metaphorical wedding cake.

If you missed out on our first annual Real Wedding Special then make sure you grab a copy of issue nine, on sale now at all good newsagents nationally and via our online store. Also be sure to check out our Instagram and Pinterest page for oodles of wedding inspiration.

Contemplating tying the knot in Thailand? Be sure to check out our friends from Take Us To Thailand… they are absolute pro’s at planning destination weddings!

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CREDITS Photos and cinematography She Takes Pictures He Makes Films // Bridal gown Carl Kapp via David Jones Bridal // Shoes Siren // Flowers, ceremony, reception, styling, catering and cake The Library, Thailand // Rings Cerrone // Bridesmaids dresses Sheike // Groom and groomsmen suits M.J. Bale // Hair and makeup K.Mam // Celebrant Mr. Steward // Entertainment DJ Dean // First look photos Akaryn // Accommodation The Akyra // Legalities Bliss Events.