Burning Man Inspired Wedding in Thailand

As motorcycle-loving visual artists living in Laguna Beach, Dana and Michael didn’t want anything traditional for their December wedding. Inspired by Burning Man, they decided to fly to Thailand to have the non-traditional wedding of their dreams – complete with the bridal party in paper elephant heads!

“We wanted to take the opportunity to invite all our loved ones across the world to Koh Samui, Thailand”, Dana explained, “bringing them outside of their comfort zone in hopes of inspiring them, in much the same way that Burning Man inspires us each year. We incorporated details from our story together. Our wild three-day festival of events included ice-breakers across aquamarine waters, an all-white party with an elephant entrance, and the wedding where we asked all our loved ones to be our flowers (dress in floral pattern rather than making more trash) and participate in a Burning Man ritual to help us burn away the fears and hardships of the past, celebrate the now, and walk into the future together.”

The dinner reception that followed their ceremony was was jet-black with fish bowls and bubble decor. “It was totally Rock n Roll and unforgettable in every way!” she continued. “We decorated with banana trees and bananas in my bouquet, used colour-blocking as a theme and had an amazing white balloon installation filled entry. Guests were greeted by traditional Thai dancers who later performed what I like to call a ‘moon-dance’.”

Of their $50,000 budget, the geo-dome was, by far, their biggest expense (especially as it had to be shipped from the US to Thailand!) but for them it was worth every penny. “”My absolute favourite part was the geo-dome. We were determined to have that specific design there because it was an integral detail and Michael had proposed to me under one just like it at Burning Man. It served as our backup plan for rain and turned into the ultimate hangout where all our guests hookah’ed into the wee hours of the morning… We made sure it was comfortable by filling it with pillows, Moroccan poofs, comfy seating. It also had a candy station and full bar. We rented 10 hookahs that definitely served our party well.”

The bride’s incredible two-piece outfit consisted of a skirt and top worn with a feather hat and  Jimmy Choo moonstone suede pump with a faux fur ankle. She changed into a shorter skirt for the ceremony. Her outfit was such an important part of the day to her, and getting it just right was one of her biggest sources of anxiety in the run up. “I didn’t want just any dress”, she explained, “I have a pension for design and have strong opinions about the desire for a leather wedding dress… I worked for over a year with a very talented designer in the Ukraine, Olena Molchenova, who I found on Etsy.”

“When my dress arrived I wasn’t happy with how the pieces fit me when worn together, however I loved the pieces separately and basically rearranged them to create 1.5 dresses! One that I wore for the white party and one for the ceremony the next day. I bought a second skirt for the ceremony from Carmen Popa of A Bride By Samantha, it was a short skirt with an cape/ over-skirt at the back.”

Although wedding planning wasn’t always easy, Dana says the disagreements actually helped prepare them for married life. “I wish someone had told me that you would likely fight as a couple throughout the entire process  and that it’s OK and healthy to have disagreements. It shows you that it’s possible to work through things even when compromise feels impossible. Especially with a destination wedding, someone needed to take the lead. However, I also learned how important it is to listen and hear out your partner’s ideas because they are invaluable. I feel very lucky that my partner allowed me to take the lead but helped me at critical points especially with the wedding time-line and space planning.”

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