Thai Marriage and Wedding Ceremonies
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Marriage in Thailand

Traditional Wedding Ceremonies
Thai Customs and Rituals

Is it legal?  What is dowry?  How come?

Speaking of Thai marriage, there are two separate matrimonies (types of wedding) taken place in Thailand. One is reckoned as a Buddhist religious ceremony of traditional Thai wedding with several unique rituals observed step-by-step. The other is an official procedure of legal marriage registration. Nowadays, a procedure of legal marriage registration more often than not is preceded, followed, or deliberately coincided with the wedding ceremony, if any.

Wedding Planning

To comply with Buddhist religious beliefs, and to uphold the cultural and traditional heritage, most Thai girls (and especially the parents) would be very happy to have a marriage ceremony of traditional Thai wedding, albeit the fact that it is not legally recognised as a marriage. The legal marriage in Thailand is effected in person at any Thai amphur (Civil Registry Office) countrywide, a governmental office that handles all registration matters regardless, be it a foreigner marrying Thai, a Thai or foreign couple. Marriage certificates issued in Thailand are recognized as such by the authorities of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia, Australia, the USA, Canada and likely many other countries. In fact, we know of none it will not be legal.

Marriage Registration Made Easy

Click on  Thai Marriage Cerificate  to see how it looks like.

The routine of legal marriage registration isn't too complicated. Produce all required documents, present them to the officer at amphur ... and shortly after, you'll have your marriage certificates. Although, one shouldn't enter into that bureaucratic procedure lightly. For the sake of tranquility, you will be better off contacting the experts at , who specialize in the preparations of all relevant provisions, including translation and certification of all required documents. Take the hassle out of registering your marriage in Thailand. A complete marriage registration service of mixed couples (foreigner marrying Thai) is only THB 15,000 (~US$ 500.00). A prenuptial (premarital) agreement binding under the Thai Law* and tailored to your specific needs can be arranged upon request.

* - Counties with an Anglo-American based legal system viewed marriage as a matter of contract between two consenting adults. The terms of marriage contract are dictated by laws of the country (state) where the married couple lives, unless they have a prenuptial agreement ('prenup' for short) containing different terms. Since so, a prenup based on Thai law shall not only preclude the unforeseen impacts or unwanted consequences, but it may also entail rather noticeable privileges.

Wedding Ceremony

Thai traditional marriage ceremony
Ritual of bonding the bride and groom by sacred strings -- a focal point
of traditional wedding ceremony performed in the Northeast of Thailand

According to Thai customs, a couple traditionally become engaged during a ceremony known as thong mun. This is literally the giving of gold by the prospective groom to his fiancée. Parents, friends and relatives will attend this ceremony. In place of a diamond ring as common in the West, Thais opt for the gold, normally in the form of jewellery. Actually, it is almost 96% pure gold made in Thailand. When traded locally, its weight is measured in baht. One baht of gold is equals to 1/2 a troy ounce or 15.2 grams. In practice, an odd number is never given (as it were for a couple), so the minimum should be two baht of gold.

Dowry – SINSOD

Thai marriage at large, and definitely, the ceremony of traditional Thai wedding interlinked with an ancient tradition called sinsod (sinsot). A custom of paying a dowry (dowery) presumably to compensate a family of bride “for mother's milk”.

A concept of sinsod was initially brought in to ensure that one's daughter does not marry below her potential standing in life. To stipulate that her social, financial and professional status and reputation is preserved and secured.

Before the in-law family accepts you, they should know who you are, and whether or not you are a suitable suitor. There is no set amount, the sum of sinsod is typically determined on the one hand by suitor's perceived wealth, and on the other hand by the “value” of the future wife. Her beauty, personality, background, education and other qualifications, if she is a virgin, or has got a child, and so forth.

It is rather customary to “negotiate” the amount and terms of sinsod. But bear in mind that by and large Thais reckon all farang (Thai name for caucasians) as rich and wealthy. Even though the odds are that you're already aware of the beauty and attentive to the mindset of young Thai girls, it will not hurt to have a look at the title Thai Sexy Outfits.

As an aside yet practical for some fellas comment, and without any attempt to overlook the value of Thai brides, a dowry is normally waived in case of re-marriages.

Nowadays, many parents-in-law hand the dowry back to the married couple as a wedding gift, some families do not require a dowry, and some need to keep the money. Traditionally, sinsod is reciprocated by the parents-in-law. More often than not, a part of the money is used to pay for the wedding ceremonies, parties and other related expenses. Dowries or sinsod payments range from THB 50,000 to 250,000 and up, although these upper figures are rarely asked for, except the marriages amongst celebrities being motivated by extraordinary figures to create sensation.

Thai Style Wedding

Traditional marriage ceremony in Thailand
Bonding ceremony of marries during Thai traditional wedding in central Thailand
Thai bride and farang groom are greeted by guests with best wishes on their marriage

In the past and until today, for the most part wealthy Thai women often forgo the official marriage registration for a variety of reasons, in particular because they loose scores of legitimate civil rights. Instead, they prefer to perform a ceremony of traditional Thai wedding. This marriage is taken quite seriously by all concerned, and regarded as a lifelong commitment made by the couple. In the eyes of Buddhist religion, the marriage is recognized and sacred, albeit the fact that in contrast to other religions, a religiously sanctioned marriage is void in Buddhism.

Thai Traditional wedding ceremonies and rituals need not be conducted in the presence of monk and are usually performed at someone’s home. Simply put, there is no such thing as “Buddhist Wedding Ceremony”, and if monks are present at the wedding, they are not directly involved. Whenever monks are invited, which is happened quite often, there always should be an odd number: 3, 5, 7 and the maximum could be 9 monks.

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According to Buddhist faith, to assure a lifetime of love marriage or what is called “a marriage made in heaven”, there is an old Thai ritual of 'Merit Gift' -- a donation to the local wat (Buddhist temple) to perform a wedding blessing ceremony. Even it is not directly related to marriage, a merit-making ceremony would mean alot to the bride-to-be and in turn to her family, to have a gift made in their name by you. It shows that you care about her religious beliefs, value the Thai ways and respect Thai culture.

Thai traditional wedding ceremony
Thai Traditional Wedding Ceremony

Wedding of Foreign Couples in Thailand

Thailand has recently became quite a popular destination for fellow travelers to register their marriages. Very few formalities are required for non-Thai couples to get married. It is fast, easy to arrange and inexpensive. The complete service is roughly US$ 880.00.

Contact    for arrangements.

To marry in Thailand, in addition to the passports a couple must provide a proof that they are both single and free to marry – a statutory statement or affidavit of non-attachment notarised by your respective Embassy in Bangkok. Some embassies may require a proof of your marital status from your home country, some other, like the UK and US Embassies, will provide an Affidavit or Statutory form, and after completion will notarize it for you. If you have previously been married, which ended by divorce or death, you will need the original certificates. All documents should be translated to Thai and attested by the Thailand Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Note:   A traditional Thai style wedding with the blessing ceremony in Buddhist temple, or a western-style wedding ceremony can be arranged upon request.

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