The options include a lavish ceremony in a five-star hotel, a floating wedding with a cruise down the river on a teak converted rice barge, or a ritual in a Thai cultural house. The celebrations do not need to be confined to the capital – luxury venues and boutique properties next to the Chao Phraya River in Ayutthaya offer a sublime experience with the ancient temples and spires of this UNESCO-listed destination providing the perfect background.
All the luxury hotels along the riverside have seized upon this amazing backdrop to stage stylish social weddings. The major hotels have dedicated teams to take care of all of the details from the planning stage to final delivery, with expert advice about the related legal issues. Couples can also choose from a range of packages for Western, Thai and Indian style ceremonies.
The major riverside hotels, including the Shangri-La, Anantara, Peninsula, Mandarin Oriental, Millennium Hilton, Royal Orchid Sheraton and Chatrium Hotel Riverside, offer a combined total of 3,612 rooms, 40-plus restaurants and 17 bars. Some of the ballrooms at these properties can accommodate up to 1,000 guests at a sit-down banquet and 1,600 for cocktail receptions. Function rooms provide space for more intimate weddings.
Besides providing the wedding space, all the fine details are taken care of. All the riverside hotels have hostesses to greet guests in the lobby and guide them to the function room. Most also provide complimentary rooms with refreshments for the bride and groom to prepare for the ceremony. Spa packages can also be booked to provide relaxation before the big day.
Situated on 11 riverside acres of verdant gardens, the Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort and Spa combines urban living with rural tropical luxury and this hotel has a range of stylish indoor and outdoor wedding venues that reflect this diversity.
The grand old dame of Bangkok’s luxury hotels, the Mandarin Oriental is one of the classic colonial-style hotels of old Indochina and this elegant property is an exceptional venue to hold a traditional Thai reception or a Western-style wedding. Couples can hold their ceremony within the hotel as it has been granted a licence to conduct wedding services in all of the banqueting suites.
For those seeing a high-tech ceremony, the Royal Orchid Sheraton’s Grand Ballroom has some of the city’s best hardware, including sound-proof partitions that can block noise up to 53 decibles, five drop-down screens, LCD projection and an intelligent lighting system. Panoramic river views in all guest rooms and resort-like amenities make this hotel an ideal honeymoon setting.
The Millennium Hilton Bangkok hotel is a romantic choice as it sits on the banks of the river and offers views of the glittering Thai temples and the majestic Holy Rosary Church. Jesters at the Peninsula Bangkok offers unique features such as tall French windows, a seven-metre high ceiling and doors that open out onto a graceful terrace that brings guests closer to the Chao Phraya River.
For those who prefer to skip the ballroom and head outdoors, the opportunities are endless as the riverside has spectacular open-air venues. The landscaped gardens at Suan Thip Baan Chao Phraya are an ideal spot for an outdoor wedding. This venue can accommodate up to 350 guests on the expansive lawn which features lotus filled ponds, gazebos and swings perched under ancient trees. This Thai cultural house has one of the capital city’s finest restaurants and this combined with the manicured gardens make it a perfect wedding choice.
In a similar vein, Chakrabongse House set on the banks of the river in the heart of Old Bangkok is a perfect place for river terrace wedding ceremonies and evening garden receptions. Built in 1908 by His Royal Highness Prince Chakrabongse, the property was used when the prince attended royal ceremonies in the Grand Palace and also for picnics and excursions on the river. Today it has been transformed into a boutique hotel.
For those who prefer a more traditional wedding ceremony in a church, the riverside is home to three prominent Christian places of worship. The Santa Cruz Church is a legacy of Thai-Portuguese relations that originated in the 16th century. It was built during the reign of King Taksin from 1767-1782. Situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, the Santa Cruz Church is a prominent landmark in Thonburi and a historic place to exchange vows.
The Assumption Cathedral is located near to the Oriental Hotel and next to Assumption College. This place of worship was originally built in the Romanesque style in the early 19th century. The high ceiling and an elevated altar space offer a spacious atmosphere for wedding rituals.
The Holy Rosary Church is an ancient Roman Catholic church that dates back to the Rattanakosin period. Built in the Western Roman Cross style, this riverside church contains images brought in by Portuguese traders during the Ayutthaya era.
For those couples who prefer to take to the water, weddings conducted on a luxury cruise boat, or aboard a converted teak rice barge are a great option. Many of the cruise companies offers assorted wedding packages that range from cocktail receptions to sit down dinners, with flexible itineraries that can include overnight cruises to the ancient city of Ayutthaya.
This former capital is also a good choice for those seeking a ceremony in the splendour of a UNESCO-listed destination. The Sala Ayutthaya is a stylish resort hotel located in the heart of this cultural enclave along the banks of the Chao Phraya River. It is situated opposite the famous Wat Phutthaisawan temple and surrounded by a wealth of historic and archaeological sites that date back to the Ayutthaya Kingdom.
Whether it is an elaborate ceremony extending over several days, or an intimate celebration to be shared between closest family and friends, the possibilities are endless. Wedding vows taken against the majestic backdrop of the Chao Phraya river in a garden setting and celebrated later with family and friends on a sunset cruise will provide memories that will last forever.