Thai the knot

We reveal how readers gave their big day that extra sparkle.

By Anthea Gerrie, November 12, 2012
Alison and Justin married under a canopy of Justin's barmitzvah tallit

Alison and Justin married under a canopy of Justin's barmitzvah tallit

They married on an oriental beach, on the night the earth came closest to the full moon in 50 years. It sounds like the kind of exotic celebration that only a professional wedding planner could pull together, but Justin and Alison Freeden made all their own arrangements for their dream wedding on a Thai beach.

The north London couple had already made Thailand their adopted country before marrying at one of its classiest resorts. "We moved here together in 2005," explains Justin. He worked on the Financial Futures Exchange in London for 13 years before he and Alison, who was brought up in Edgware, followed their dream to the Orient.

Fifty people attended their wedding at a beach-front villa at Phang Na, near Phuket: "It's known as the Hamptons of Thailand. Our villa had a beautiful lawn leading on to the beach, where the chupah was located." Rabbis may be thin on the ground in Thai resorts, but Justin wanted as Jewish a service as possible within the geographical limitations: "I may not go to synagogue very much, but I'm 100 per cent Jewish in my heart, so using the tallit I wore on my barmitzvah 27 years ago to make the canopy was an important and very emotional touch.

"Alison also walked around me seven times, I broke the glass with my shoe and the celebrant, who has Israeli blood, reminded all the guests - not all of whom were Jewish - to shout mazeltov at the right moment."

Food was at least as plentiful as at a traditional British simchah, with drinks and reception nibbles before a sumptuous main meal.

Each guest was given a fire lantern to release beneath the Supermoon

"Our friend Mario Carlino is one of the best chefs on Phuket and he was so happy when we asked him to cater our wedding," says Justin.

Guests feasted on spicy salad leaves, smoked salmon, mozzarella with tomato and rocket salad and ginger-flavoured tuna tartare before going on to a choice of mains, including vegetarian.

After finishing dinner with a tropical fruit platter, each guest was given a Thai fire lantern to release into the night of the Supermoon.

The disco started with some Israeli dancing, followed by entertainment provided by DJs and Grammy-award-winning singer Keithen Carter, a friend of the couple.

But the real magic of the evening, says Justin, lay in the atmosphere: "Imagine cool disco lights moving around a lush acre of garden on the beach with funky house music, a bit of sax and vocals, beanbags spread around the grounds and floating candles in the pool."

It sounds priceless - and there was no sting in the tail.

"The cost? Way cheaper than London," says Justin.

Last updated: 3:51pm, November 12 2012