Renewing wedding vows in Thailand

October 1st, 2017

Shailaja Khan tells us all about her wedding anniversary surprise in Thailand.

We didn’t realize we were making memories that would last a lifetime. We just knew we were going to have fun. With summer 2017 almost over and no chance of traveling with my husband, I am swept by nostalgia for the most enchanting holiday I had in Thailand last October.

It would be our 30th wedding anniversary. Phuket, Krabi and Ko Samui were great ideas for our getaway. But it was The Barai Resort & Spa, Hua Hin that took my hubby’s fancy. By default, we picked the quiet seaside resort town Hua Hin, without any clue that it would be synonymous with the most magical and unforgettable experience of my life.

A thrilling journey

I couldn’t have imagined that a plane journey would trigger excitement. While watching the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, a thought flashed through my mind “Why don’t we do a Thai wedding? Would be perfect!” I knew it was THE dream I had to catch.

I guarded my secret till the next morning. I waited to break the news to my husband after a good rest and sumptuous breakfast. And the reticent man said yes! I had climbed Everest.

Soaking it in

Hold on to that thought for a minute. The beauty of the expansive property and oodles of luxury in our balcony suite floored me. What wonderful décor! I loved the earthy colors. Can you imagine an aromatherapy and steam bath, two private vanity areas and a personal suite butler on demand? Then there was delightful food, surfing, lazing on the beach, catching the rain and more.

I was riding the clouds. Our Pearl anniversary was the next day. Would the hotel make a wedding happen in eight hours? Here’s how our amazing suite butler rescued us. Within minutes she organized a meeting with the wedding planner. We opted for the sacred and meaningful parts of a typical Thai wedding ceremony. The event would happen at 9.30 next morning. Instead of inviting nine monks to offer blessings, we went with the suite butler’s suggestion of serving breakfast to one monk before the ceremony started. And my guests? The resort staff! I felt so obliged.

After lunch, she ordered a cab to take me to a traditional wedding outfit rent shop in the city. I chose a beautiful rose pink and gold outfit with pearls on the drape, accessories to go and an off-white trouser and jacket for the Mister. I thought the pastels and gold would go well with the blue waters and sand. Wow! The best was coming my way, quick and easy.

My Spa Special

I returned in the nick of time for my spa treatment. The spa was a tranquil and beautiful place. I loved the colored glass and the gold on the wall. There were plenty of treatment rooms and each day, our suite butler guided us through a maze to get to one of them. As I walked the distance, I felt a hidden treasure was waiting for me; I was going to be spoilt.


Early next morning, two “Kathoeys” or ladyboys from the rental shop arrived to dress me up for the ceremony. Putting modesty aside, I focused on the fun of becoming a bride again. Geared up for the 'altar', I took my first step. Whoa! The lady boys grabbed me before I could fall. Yes... it would be smart to take baby steps. I held on to my suite butler for dear life. Aping the Thai bride, I reached the lawn facing the beach safe and smiling. A gold and cream arrangement with white roses was waiting for us. Our wedding planner invited first the bride, to sit on the left, and then the groom on the right.

The staff manager conducted the four-part ceremony and explained the significance of each part - the thread ceremony, anointing the forehead with three dots of white powder to represent the shape of a pyramid, putting the handmade garlands around the neck, and the water pouring ceremony. Our talented suite butler was taking umpteen shots, not wanting to miss a moment.

An emotional time, it was over in 12 minutes.

Breakfast followed suit. I was so elated I didn’t want to get out of my beautiful outfit. With love and care, my suite butler helped me get back to reality. I felt like a Princess in her vanity room.

A Romantic Dinner

The day was not over. The euphoria was growing. Family and friends joked, “You ran away again to get married!” Our loyal friend had not given up on us yet. She had organized a romantic four-course dinner served by a dedicated waitress overlooking the beach.


The 30th-anniversary celebration was something. I could do it all over again.


A little about Shailaja:

Shailaja is an architectural color consultant in Dubai. She founded ColorsWorth in mid-2015 after completing the architectural color consulting certification program, Color IQ in San Diego, US. Color is an intrinsic part of Shailaja's life and her goal is to create a living space one can live for years to come as well as set standards of excellence in color design.

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