After all the cancelled ceremonies, live streaming sessions, masks or no masks, and the list goes on, the big wedding business is back! And saying ‘I do’ at a destination other than your own backyard, is definitely back in vogue. If you are planning to get hitched whether on an island, or a completely exotic destination altogether be it a tropical jungle setting, a sunset beach overlooking the ocean or the cool breeze of the highlands, Malaysia is high on the list amongst many Southeast Asian destinations that couples opt for to take them on an incredible unforgettable journey of a lifetime.
We spoke to Irene Vairo, Resort Manager of Temple Tree Resort Langkawi, the quaint boutique resort on the legendary island of Langkawi well known for its exotic destination, and celebrity weddings.
When asked what were some of the key factors that contribute to this growth, Vairo explained that over the years, she observed some telling trends of couples looking for weddings away from home, the fun of getting everyone to somewhere anywhere they haven’t been before, something manageable and exclusive, and tailored made.
According to Vairo, based on industry trends, they project an average per annum growth of 29% this year for destination weddings. At the same time, they expect the destination wedding market to grow year-on-year with the enhancement of digitisation that will add to the frequency of weddings to the island. The 2023 Global Destination Wedding Market Report stated a remarkable global market growth from $21.31 billion in 2022 to $28.31 billion in 2023, and is expected to grow even higher to $78.89 billion in 2027.
“Malaysia is a multiracial, multicultural country with some of the best variety of tropical destinations to select from, be it in Peninsular Malaysia or East Malaysia. Additionally, the legendary island of Langkawi is known worldwide, thanks to massive promotions by the State government, Tourism Malaysia and industry players,” she said.
Vairo noticed that there are more mixed marriages – a wonderful myriad of cultures coming together at weddings, with families flying in from different countries far and wide. There are also couples who are more adventurous and want to explore new experiences.
“Language is a big factor attracting foreign wedding travellers here, and because English is widely spoken in Malaysia, we are at an advantage amongst others when making wedding arrangements,” she said.
“I have also noticed the trend of longer wedding celebrations, meaning spending more days than usual on different ceremonies and related activities. They want a wedding venue where the wedding party is staying in the same vicinity, and everyone is close by for an intimate setting.”
Apart from that, accessibility, transportation, location, hotel amenities, service and hospitality, accommodation, quality wedding packages, venues, high quality food & beverage options, competent wedding planning teams, value for money and overall experience are the essence in positioning ourselves in the region, she continued.
“So, while we expect to see growth in this sector, the primary factors that will push this forward would include affordability and accessibility to travel, extra flights into the island and more destination promotions in the international arena for the global wedding industry. And this can only be met with collaboration of all parties to support the wedding industry.”
Vairo believes that destination weddings are a good opportunity to increase local jobs and income. More destination weddings mean higher frequency and more earnings for local businesses simply because when guests spend more time and days at a location, they support the economy with purchase of local arts and crafts, and they visit local restaurants and bars. More sightseeing activities means a higher revenue for the ground operators.
Some of the most recent celebrity weddings that took place at Temple Tree Resort Langkawi were local actress Janna Nick, and top international model Shikin Gomez who fell in love with the rustic setting this resort has to offer.
“The Temple Tree Resort Langkawi is a resort that showcases restored heritage houses – Johor House, Colonial House, Estate House, Plantation House, Penang House, Negeri Sembilan House, Ipoh House and Straits House, all within its enclave. It is an ideal location to showcase to the world Malaysia’s heritage and culture all in one place,” said Vairo.
The resort is enveloped within a century-old rustic coconut tree plantation that offers 21 rooms and suites distinct in character, set in eight preserved Malaysian heritage houses, each between 80-100 years old. With this setting we can have at least 60+ guests staying at the resort at a given time, she said.
“What is unique to Temple Tree Resort Langkawi is the option for a full buy-out of the entire resort exclusively for a wedding party or choose non-exclusive terms,” she said. This option allows the whole entourage to live in the resort to enjoy the wedding process in complete privacy. Like your very own wedding village, big enough for a wedding yet intimate enough to contain the party.
For a full cultural experience, we offer signature dishes of States from where the houses originate from on our menu, to showcase our uniqueness and to impress your foreign guests. There is also a 44-feet powered catamaran that offers an alternative, intimate wedding experience or just a sunset party on board which can be organised, at additional costs. Guests are provided with local batik sarongs in each room and our staff can assist them on how to tie a sarong if they like. We also offer traditional massages at the resort upon request, she continued.
While word-of-mouth is still one of the most powerful tools there is in marketing, Temple Tree Resort Langkawi is present on popular digital platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, besides their website, online travel platforms and optimised on search engines.
In sharing about some of the resort’s preparedness for these wedding parties, Vairo said communication is key whether with the wedding planners or the bridal couple themselves. “We are available for discussions from across any continent online so that you will feel secured and assured of what to expect when you arrive,” she said.
Vairo, who is of Italian origin has been on the island for almost a decade and has managed countless weddings on the resort.