The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is an official Host Partner along with the other partners and sponsors including Laguna Phuket, Banyan Tree Phuket, Angsana Laguna Phuket and The Wedding Bliss.
Thailand is the first country in Asia to host the event, which brings together high-end destination wedding planners to do business with the most unique destinations, extravagant hotels, resorts and venues along with leading wedding suppliers and creative partners such as, couture designers, photography partners, furniture rentals, jewellery partners, cake designers and more.
The event also includes groundbreaking conference sessions, networking functions, ritzy cocktail receptions, lavish luncheons and themed gala dinners, all designed to help participants capitalise on the multi-billion-dollar industry.
The line-up of confirmed speakers includes Preston Bailey, Katherine Apostolidis, Koby Bar Yehuda, Marcy Blum, Mohomed Morani, Joe Blackman, Wendy El-Khoury, Bryan Rafanelli, Evelyn Mills, Alison Hotchkiss, Matthew Oliver, Michelle Rago, Innayat Khubchandani, Christina Holt, Bhavnesh Sawhney, Funke Burknor-Obruthe, Joanne Brown, Kevin Lee, Janine Closs, Sumant Jayakrishnan, Joann Gregoli, and Aleit Swanepoel.
Kevin Lee’s celebrity clients include Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Drew Barrymore, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Oprah Winfrey. Also, he is said to have been the inspiration behind the character Franck, played by Martin Short in the early ’90s movie classic, Father of the Bride.
Preston Bailey has been designing and planning weddings for celebrities, royal families, CEOs and athletes for more than 33 years. He has worked with renowned names; such as, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas, Jennifer Hudson and Donna Karan, to name a few.
Bryan Rafanelli runs Rafanelli Events, one of the biggest event planning and design companies in the United States since 1996. He has worked with clients such as, President Obama, Chelsea Clinton and Hollywood star Matt Damon.
Meanwhile, Evelyn Mills heads Marriage Maestros, which specialises in creating signature weddings in Hong Kong, Bali, China and across Asia.
Organised by Dubai-based QNA International, the DWP Congress has been held previously in Greece, Mauritius and Italy.
In revealing that Phuket was to host the event, Thailand Tourism Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul last September noted, “Thailand will leave no stone unturned in ensuring the best of preparations for this Congress in order to become a global wedding hub for couples of every nationality. We definitely have to work as a team. If we want to be the World’s Best Wedding Destination, we really need to enhance our expertise and better understand all our source markets.”
The global weddings industry is estimated to have a total value of US$298 billion (B10.31 trillion), of which the value of foreign country weddings is US$80bn (B2.76trn).
TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn noted, “This will be the first of Destination Wedding Planners Congress to be held in Asia. We expect the Congress will go a long way towards raising the image of Thailand as a wedding destination globally, and showcasing our superb range of destinations, venues, as well as the unique products and services that make each event memorable and extraordinary.
“Such events have an enormous ripple-effect benefit as they generate income for numerous suppliers of products and services; such as, decorations, gifts and souvenirs, party arrangements, F&B, audio-visual equipment, musicians, singers, and many more.”
“This (event) is exactly in line with the policy to focus on high-spending, long-staying, niche-market visitors, distributing income and creating jobs in the provincial areas. Wedding ceremonies typically involve at least 20 people, with an expenditure of B5-20 million per event, depending on its size,” he added.