A Match Made In Paradise26 Jul 2016
In this globalised world the days of dreary, chilly wedding days are a thing of the past. Many people now strive to spend their special day basking in the sunshine on a tropical beach or soaking up the culture of an exotic new destination; and there’s nowhere better for this than right here on our doorstep.
Malaysia has an abundance of beautiful locations to suit the wishes and wants of any soon-to-be married couple. From pristine beaches to rolling hills, you can’t help but be spoilt for choice.
Langkawi Island is a world-renowned wedding destination popular with people both in and outside of Malaysia, and for good reason. Its vast stretches of world-class beaches and the lush jungle creeping right down to the shores make it an ideal location for both beach and rainforest ceremonies, and it also has its own airport, which makes this small slice of paradise easily accessible for all those family and friends coming from afar.
The Datai Langkawi’s pristine private bay sets the scene for their romantic beach wedding package, with the secluded crescent of white sand and the majestic mountains behind providing the breathtaking backdrop for your walk along the rose petal aisle. Alternatively, they also offer a traditional Malay wedding set in the kampong-style Gulai House in the forest, which offers some time-honoured local essentials for the ceremony such as a decorative pelamin (wedding dais), live gamelan music and of course a feast of Malay proportions.
The Andaman is also a highly popular option for exotic unions here. The range and variety on offer here is impressive to say the least. The Andaman has countless options for your big day including a villa wedding, numerous beach locations, an indoor ballroom and tying the knot on the Titi bridge with fun added-extras including a traditional Malay floral bath the morning of the ceremony, the playful hornbill feeding ceremony or the coral saving ritual, where you can transplant live coral colonies on to heart-shaped substrates that are then returned to the sea, forever cementing your bond.
Your guests won’t be stuck for things to do in Penang, and it’s a great place to stay on after the wedding ceremony to explore the island. The element that really sets Penang apart is its delicately restored heritage sites, with George Town listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 2008 and comprises some of the most spectacular traditional heritage buildings in Malaysia. Many of these restored establishments now cater to tourists and many provide wedding services.
One of the most lavish of these is the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, known as the Blue Mansion. This award-winning 19th century grand estate was once home to one of China’s wealthiest tycoons but is now converted into an 18-suite, four-star hotel. The Blue Mansion team are experts in tailoring the wedding experience to your tastes, providing a traditional hair-combing ceremony (for Chinese weddings), ‘fetching the bride’ games, Baba Nyonya kuehs (cakes), and even a roaring lion dance to usher in all things auspicious among others.
Another heritage venue on a grander scale is the Eastern & Oriental Hotel. Here, you can exchange vows on their immaculate lawns with the ocean on one side and the stunning whitewashed facade of the old colonial hotel on the other. Whilst the ceremony takes place in the gardens, the reception moves inside to the hotel’s tiered ballroom. The E&O offers Chinese, Western and Malay wedding packages to suit most tastes and these come inclusive of a decadent eight-course dinner and floral decorations for your big day.
If it’s seclusion you’re looking for, you can’t get much better than Pangkor Laut Island. As there is only one resort on this island, it exudes exclusivity and you will have the beaches and virgin rainforest all to yourselves. The resort has been sensitively developed to cover only a fraction of the island’s 300 acres and rooms come in villas nestled into the hills, chalets perched on stilts stretching out over the ocean, and character-filled 2-4 bedroom private estates that hark back to the British colonial days of old Malaya.
Exchange vows under a floral gazebo in their atmospheric lantern-lit courtyard service, or have a champagne toast to your nuptials at the award-winning Emerald Bay as the sun sets behind you. Alternatively, lock yourselves away in the estate villas for an intimate ceremony tucked away in the hills. They also offer the more unusual opportunity to have your wedding at sea on the hotel’s own 65ft motor yacht. Conduct the service on the petal strewn deck and enjoy cocktails and canapés out on the open ocean before returning to shore for a seafood banquet and champagne toast.
Included in all of these packages is a couple’s spa treatment based in deep-rooted Malay culture, a live acoustic band, five-course dinner, wedding cake and even a tree-planting ceremony to commemorate your union. A package here also comes along with a complimentary two-night stay in any YTL Hotel within Malaysia or Bali so you can get your honeymoon off to a running start.
Cameron Highlands has a lot to offer as a wedding destination. Its arresting natural beauty of rolling emerald hills is incomparable to anywhere else in Malaysia. This, paired with quaint colonial architecture, gives a real taste of being transported to the traditional English countryside. The cooler temperatures also help with this elusion and can be a welcome feature at any outdoor ceremony. Cameron Highlands is 1500m above sea level and temperatures have been known to drop to 16C, which can be a great draw for all of those out-of-towners who may not yet be acclimatised to the 30C sizzle fest that we enjoy in the capital.
The convenient location may also be a major plus for some people. Cameron Highlands is just a stone’s throw outside Kuala Lumpur, making it an easy destination for local friends to get to for the day, as well as allowing those coming from further afield to fly directly to KLIA. There are a few choices for wedding destinations in Cameron Highlands, notably the Cameron Highlands Resort for a touch of pure luxury, but if you want to fully indulge in the old English feel of the place, I would suggest The Lakehouse.
Set in stunningly lush grounds, this Tudor-style boutique resort radiates old English charm. The immaculately groomed gardens and distinctive Tudor décor make this an ideal spot for wedding photos and a country garden-themed reception. Enjoy champagne on the terrace overlooking the Sultan Abu Bakar Lake and indulge in an afternoon tea of scones, jam and clotted cream. Once the excitement of the day is over, snuggle up in front of the log fireplace in the antique-filled lounge or retire to your romantic suite complete with sunken bath, walk-in wardrobe, and four-poster bed.
Situated off the coast of Terengganu, the Perhentian Islands are considered some of the finest islands Malaysia has to offer. Still relatively untouched, this collection of tiny islands captures nature in its purest, unadulterated form. These islands can only be reached by speedboat, which helps the area to preserve its pristine environment.
The smaller of the two main islands, Pulau Perhentian Kecil, retains its picturesque feel with a complete lack of roads and limited beach development. It also boasts some of the best snorkelling spots in Malaysia. Here, you have the luxury of going right off the sandy shores or catching one of the boat tours out to some of the more spectacular sites. Turtles and sharks are almost a guarantee in this area so keep your eyes peeled!
Bubu Resort and Villas, located on Long Beach, really offers up the dream desert island experience. Walking along the white sand to the driftwood floral wedding arch, just metres away from the lapping crystal seas, it is easy to feel you’re the only two people in the world. The resort provides wedding coordinators and has a private wedding planner to assist you with all of the planning, with the package including a couple’s massage, wedding photographer, complimentary champagne and cake, and the planting of a coconut tree to symbolise your new life together.