Samui Wining & Dining
Why everyone seems to be talking about weddings at Nora Buri Resort!


A few years ago, hardly anyone did it. Then it started to catch on. And today, coming to Samui to get married is top of the pops. The reasons for this are wellknown. It’s not only romantic, but it’s financially sound, too. But, whatever the reasons, every year more than one thousand happy couples make their vows on our little island. Which rather makes me wonder – just how do they know where to go?

        Of course, with the internet being a central part of all our lives, it’s not so hard to research the subject. But the ease of access to all this info is both a good thing and a bad. Sure, it lets you examine all the resorts and independent companies offering their services. But the downside is that there are so many of them – just how do you choose? Nobody wants to take potluck. And so you undoubtedly do what we all do at times like this; you ask around.

        Of course, you’ve been here before; that’s why you want to come here to tie the knot. And so you not only talk to people, you listen, too. And the best way to do this is by hooking back on to the internet again, but this time onto TripAdvisor. This is the one place where you really can listen to what

people have to say, both the good and the bad. It paints a big broad picture. And not only that, it makes you aware of lots of things that you hadn’t considered. Aspects of customer service, for instance. Extra facilities. Management staff being constantly accessible. And in all these respects one name appears again and again. And that name is ‘Nora Buri’.

         The Nora Group have established an excellent reputation on the island, beginning with the first of the group’s resorts, Nora Beach Resort & Spa in Chaweng. Then they added another two resorts along the way before creating their 5-star flagship, Nora Buri. Just a short way north of central Chaweng, it’s effectively in two sections, with one area on the slope down towards the beach, land-marked by the dramatically designed ‘The Barge’ restaurant, and with the sumptuous main part of the resort on the opposite side of the road, stretching in terraces up the hill.

          The facilities here are just what you’d expect of a 5-star resort. There are several swimming pools, the fitness centre is excellent and the spa is first class. The dining experience is outstanding, spanning the diversity of genres from beach buffets to air-conditioned fine dining, with several variations in between. All of this, and more, you’ll see laid out on their very attractive website. You’ll also see a section on the wedding services they offer, too. But Nora has one of the very few resort websites that takes this one step further. And so professional and extensive is their wedding program, that they have a separate website that’s dedicated to this aspect alone.

          Michelle Suwannasri is the group’s full-time wedding planner. “Some of the things we offer are unique,” she told me, “and we also have the expertise which comes from the fact that we’ve been arranging weddings for a very long time now. One of the more obvious aspects is the setting. We have a large lawned area that’s right on the edge of the beach. Everyone wants the picture-postcard beauty of a tropical beach setting. But photos here, with the green lawn, the sand and the sea, are so much more attractive. Another important thing is that we deploy all the resort’s departmental heads on each of our weddings; even the general manager is present. Our motto is ‘wedding creations beyond your imagination’,” Michelle added. “Whatever you can think of, we’ll make it even better still!”

          The process of setting this all rolling comes initially from an email enquiry. In the first instance, it’s normally just a few lines setting out the date and number of guests. And then this will escalate, becoming more detailed as a mutual commitment becomes established. There are three basic wedding styles here at Nora Buri - Western, Thai, and a ceremony which combines elements of both. But within these boundaries are other almost endless aspects. As well as the more direct choices of corsage, flowers and colour-keying, the facilities at Nora allow options of included spa packages, private beach dinners and even the planting of a dedicated love tree.

          Another element that’s unique to the Nora group is the flexibility that comes from interlinked resorts. It’s quite possible, for example, for guests to actually stay at the 4-star Nora Beach Resort, in Chaweng, thus maximising the cost-effectiveness. Indeed, if it’s requested, the group has two budget hotels also for wedding guests. And this option includes a complimentary shuttle service between resorts. This aspect is appealing: it means that guests can mix-andmatch between the more energetic atmosphere of Chaweng and the tranquillity of the neardeserted bay of Nora Buri, just around the corner.

          But I think that the bottom line with the Nora Group is something that all wedding operators pay lip service to but sometimes don’t put into practice – a prompt response and a personal service. Michelle is keen to respond to emails within 24 hours and to answer enquiries in detail. Considerations such as the photography or the catering can take many forms, and she’ll go through the options with you, securing a videographer as well as a stills photographer, for example, or designing a full Indian meal, if required. On occasion, she’s even arranged for the groom to arrive across the sand on a dune buggy, or come through the resort on the back of an elephant!

          Nora Buri takes its wedding seriously. At the time of writing there were already 65 bookings in place for this year, another 24 for 2015 and even one lined up for 2016. There’s a full team in place to provide the professional interaction that they have become known for, and a wide choice of options, including different levels of accommodation. Under the circumstances and with their assets and involvement, is it any wonder that everyone’s talking about weddings at Nora Buri?


 Rob De Wet


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