I remember that the 2brd villa at the Sala works out to be more affordable than the pool villa as it is spreading the cost of the shared space between 4 people. They have only three 2bird villas tho. If that doesn’t work, Sala is located right next to Renaissance and JW Mariott (?). So what you can do is negotiate a group rate with the hotels next door and have your ceremony at Sala. The 3 hotels are all within walking distance to each other, they share the same beach.
My spreadsheet shows that Aleenta is also quite competitive in pricing, but since our wedding factors are different, it would be best if you provided them your specs.
Since there’s still a long lead time to your wedding, you should checkout this page where all the new open ending Thai resorts are listed: http://newthaihotels.com/2014-thailand-hotel-opening-master-list/
From a business point of view, all the young resorts will be more aggressive for business as they have timeline targets to provide a return to their shareholders so they’re much more willing to negotiate a good deal than the more established resorts (I.e. Indigo Pearl).
When it comes to Thai vs Malay weddings, I would say there are a lot more choices in Thai and it is embedded within the Thai community to provide good service. As for Phuket vs Khao Lak / Hua Hin / Samui…
Hua Hin: the drive is anywhere between 2-3 hours depending on traffic out of Bangkok. All things considered, this is a wedding destination, do you really want you and your wedding party to risk 2-3 hours on the road? Wouldn’t you rather have your guests spend those 2-3 hours drinking and enjoying themselves on the beach?
Khao Lak: I have not been so I can’t say but if it is a long drive, the above applies.
Samui: my sister in law got married there a year ago, from her spreadsheet, the prices are more competitive in Phuket since there’s more competition. For example, if your’re looking for a florist or a bakery, chances are there will be no more than 2 of each in the town. So limitations on choice and hence pricing.
The only other thing I have to say which applies to Thailand excluding Bangkok is: taxi mafia. Since that is another topic, I’ll input if someone asks.