Elaine and Tony live in Taipei, Taiwan. But Bangkok has always been a playground for them, a place they go to escape, eat great food, and soak up the electric atmosphere of this dynamic city. So Bangkok is where they chose to lure their friends and family for their destination wedding weekend.
We spent a lot of time with Elaine and Tony over several days, doing a family portrait session with them and their sweet baby boy Oli, attending a walk-through of their venues, the Sukhothai Bangkok and the Hansar Hotel, photographing the welcome party at Sala Rattanakosin on the Chao Phraya River, and spending all day with them on the wedding day.
There was a lot going on, and with a baby in the mix, and being in another country, and trying to make sure everything is perfect so your guests are entertained and impressed, it would have been easy to get distracted from the real reason we were all there. But through it all, what struck me most was how Elaine and Tony were always a unit. They strategized together, they solved problems together, they parented together, and they found moments to tuck themselves away and just giggle together. And most notably, a few times when things got a little stressful, they pulled away from the crowd and just hugged each other tight, and then laughed some more. The reason we were all there in Bangkok was not lost on these two. Their love and strength as a couple was at the heart of everything.
I felt like I learned a lot about marriage from Elaine and Tony as I observed them in these moments. And this is what I got out of it: There will always be a lot going on, with other people and other commitments pulling at you. But if you just extract yourself from the madness, and focus on that person who holds the other half of your heart, who knows you better than anyone else, you’ll be reminded that everything is really OK after all. And if it’s not, the two of you will figure it out together, and probably even get a good laugh out of it someday.
If nothing else, you’ll definitely get a good laugh out of the photos from this wedding reception. As one of the guests told me, “This is what Taiwanese people do! We love to drink!” At some weddings, drinking is a means to other things – to get the courage to dance, or to get through a speech. At this party, the point of drinking was to drink. And drink some more. And then ditch the glasses and drink straight from the bottles. Then use those bottles to pour wine and liquor straight down your friends’ throats. And then find unconventional objects to drink out of or pour on your friends’ faces. The result was silliness, and hilarity, and innocent recklessness.
Bangkok may be known as an adults’ playground, but at a good destination wedding, the playground could just as well be in one room at a hotel, as long as it’s filled with your friends.