Weddings can be mighty expensive. The good news is tying the knot in Samui is considerably cheaper than having the wedding of your dreams right in your hometown. The fact that you’d be having the celebration far away means that your guest list will automatically shorten. In addition, since you will be in a beach destination, you can hit two birds in one stone by combining the wedding and the honeymoon in one trip. If you need more money saving tips for your Koh Samui wedding, read on.

Get your wedding face on your early.

If you have gotten engaged and you know then that Koh Samui is the wedding destination for you, start with the planning early. Don’t delay looking for possible venues and plane tickets. It may seem that you have plenty of time but the clock ticks quicker than you think. If you make the venue reservation and ticket purchases just when you need them, your possible savings can go down the drain.

Book an all-in-one accommodation.

It might be tempting to just book for a hotel for a place to stay and book a separate venue for the celebration. You might think this is the less expensive way to do it. In some places, it could be. In Koh Samui though, it is more practical to book a lavish villa that could be your accommodation prior to the wedding and at the same time the venue of the ceremony itself. It can also be where you will hold the reception and if it is romantic enough, the place for the honeymoon. You may be overwhelmed by the upfront price of a luxury villa but if you analyze, do the math and factor in the extra costs commercial hotels manage to slip into your bill, you will end up saving money with a private hideaway.

Amp the romance factor naturally with a beachfront wedding.

If you want to save on romantic ornaments and embellishments, just pick a beautiful location for your ceremony. It could be right at the beach. With the clear blue waters, far off mountains, palm trees, and fine white sand as your backdrop, even simple decor will do. In fact, elegant ornaments and minimalistic aesthetics are called for so as  not to overpower the naturally serene beach setting.

Compile your own wedding music.

Live band music is romantic, which is why many engaged couples book for live performances for their special day. But then this could mean additional spending for you. An alternative would be to compile a wedding album with songs hand-picked by you and your partner—songs that call out to you or mean something to you as a couple. Music is a good memory trigger and trust us when we say that if the song you first danced to as a couple or the one that was playing during your first date is played on your wedding, the memories of those key moments will come back.

Do your own makeup and hair.

Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, did her own bridal makeup. She is a modern elegant bride in every way so if she can do it, so can you. Unless you have serious cover up issues that need to be addressed professionally, you have no excuse not to do your own wedding “face”. If you have no skills in applying makeup, maybe someone in your entourage does. Maybe your sister or your mom is good at it. Seek their help and save money. Instead of paying a makeup artist to do it, just buy quality makeup. As for your hair you can grab bridal do ideas on Pinterest or magazines that you can take inspiration from. Or a better way to do it is to just let your hair down and tuck a nice flower behind your ear. With that pre-wedding glow, you’ll look fab au naturel.

Dress down.

You may have imagined getting married wearing a bespoke beaded gown or maybe in something from the latest catalog by Vera Wang. If that’s what you want, then so be it.

Brides can still look amazing for their Samui wedding even if they forego the pricey designer bridal gown. Being a tropical destination, Koh Samui actually gives the best excuse to dress down for a wedding and opt for a flowy white dress instead of the more luxurious silk and organza creation. For the groom, it is possible to skip the tux too and simply tie the knot in an island inspired outfit. Maybe a simple linen shirt in crisp white or baby blue will do the trick and is more in keeping with the venue.

Keep the reception casual.

A formal, multi course dinner as your reception can cost an arm and leg. If your guests are not royalty but are well meaning friends and family, a casual, less restrictive reception might sound like a better idea and is a lot cheaper too. It can be a buffet style meal if you want to give your guests various food options or you can make it even more casual by having it outdoor barbecue style in your own villa rental. You can cook the food yourself or hire a caterer if you prefer. Still, this is more budget friendly than a formal meal with the fancy Chinaware and cutlery.

Also know that dinner is pricier than lunch or brunch so if you are not very particular about the time, then set your wedding early in the day. Actually brunch is more forgiving and flexible, allowing you to play with the menu a little like serving pancakes, sausages, tea sandwiches along with local dishes, fresh seafood, and local fruits.

Serve Thai food.

Sure Norwegian salmon, lobster, and filet mignon sound very wedding-y. A cheaper alternative is Thai food. You’ll be getting married in Samui anyway so why not serve your guests good local food? This is less hassle free than having a French or Mediterranean themed reception dinner. Also since the ingredients that will be used for your food are locally sourced, they are cheaper too.

Give local items as souvenirs.

It is possible to buy your party favors in your home country and just bring them with you to Thailand. This could work if they are really small and are just a few.

What you could also do is just buy your gifts in Koh Samui. There are lots of high quality items locally that you can give as souvenirs to your guests. Plus shopping for them actually adds to the fun and will give you something to look forward to other than the ceremony.