To celebrate the month of love, we met with Jacob and Angie Ritter, a lovely couple who has helped many couples to marry in Phuket and Thailand.
You two have been involved with hundreds of weddings in the Phuket region. Tell us about your backgrounds and how got involved?
Jacob (JR): After taking a gap year to travel Asia following university, my career started as a lecturer in the Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism at Prince of Songkla University here in Phuket. I later got a role at the Katathani Collection of Resorts, training staff and handling all types of communications for the owners and management. During that time, I was asked to step-in as a wedding Master of Ceremonies. Although I continued to be involved with opening luxury resorts; I had seen firsthand about how challenging yet rewarding the wedding industry can be, which sparked my interest.
Angie (AR): I came to Phuket from Lampang when I started working at Koh Racha to manage a resort front office, and later to Amanpuri and finally helping with opening Rosewood Resort. All throughout my life, however I’ve had a passion for beauty, makeup, and any creative pursuits involving styling. I used to have a clothing boutique to support myself through university. After friends and coworkers were pleased about my styling work for them as a hobby, I finally decided to take the plunge. I took many courses in Bangkok with top stylists and pursued my dream to become a professional. Well, after 300 weddings I am still learning and spending time with my teachers. New techniques and tricks are endless.
Is the wedding business challenging? For example, did you ever meet a “Bridezilla”?
JR: There can be no mistakes in weddings. Emotions are running high at a couple’s once-in-a-lifetime event. That is why early in my career, I never really saw myself getting so deeply involved; who wants that kind of pressure? Gradually I became an expert however, yet I still need to double and triple check that everything is ready for each event. After all, many people in the business find themselves giving up, after only a couple of years due to pressure.
AR: One of the rewards of working in this industry is that we get to work closely with associates who are great at what they do. Those who stick around tend to be excellent, or else they would not last long.
What kind of funny, surprising or exciting experiences have you witnessed at weddings?
JR: I’ve seen an elephant knock over a groom’s mum. Pouring rain on a beautiful ceremony with guests holding umbrellas, and people getting completely soaked from champagne bottles opening. I’ve seen a wedding guest accidentally fall into a pool during the recessional and we’ve had an entire wedding canceled and then put-on again at the last minute, due to relationship issues. On the other hand, some really amazing vows, speeches and performances such as fire dancing, opera and choreographed first dances come to mind.
AR: One time, a wedding couple’s taxi ran out of gas when they were just 5 minutes from the venue. Their driver had to stop traffic and demand that another taxi assist them right away. One of the best aspects about my job is that I get to spend a lot of quality time with the brides on their special day. During that time, I often try to relax them by bringing up nice topics for small talk.
What tends to be the costs for weddings that you are involved in?
JR & AR: There is a huge range. We help with small elopements and vow renewals or big three-day luxury events with all kinds of entertainment. Sometimes we are working in a very affordable guesthouse, other times at a luxury suite. In either case, of course we try to put forth our best efforts.
Do you have any advice for people planning a wedding?
JR: You don’t need to contact every wedding planner or celebrant when you are planning a wedding, just check their reviews! Most of the prices are similar among practitioners, so it is best to find whom you really resonate with for your Phuket Wedding or Thailand Wedding. Write your own vows, it is not always easy — but very worthwhile!
AR: Be sure to get a hair and makeup trial done before your wedding day, if you can. At least prepare photos of inspiration for how you wish to look like. A lot of concepts can be lost in speaking or writing, but a picture says a thousand words.
What would you say the future has in store for lovers in Phuket?
AR: More and more grooms are asking to have their hair and makeup done by a beautician. It is an exciting new aspect of wedding styling.
JR: It is a great idea to tie the knot in Thailand because you can come back every 5 or 10 years to renew vows and go back to the same romantic, favorite spots where you pledged your undying love. Phuket and the region has options for all budgets of weddings, from the flashiest to the bare foot, toes-in-the-sand style.