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 a Thai marriage, there are two separate matrimonies (types of a wedding) that taken place in Thailand. One is reckoned as a Buddhist religious ceremony of a traditional Thai wedding with several unique rituals observed step-by-step. Another is an official procedure of legal marriage registration. Nowadays, a procedure of legal marriage registration is often 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 recognized 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 a 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 Certificate  to see how it looks.

The routine of legal marriage registration isn't too complicated. Produce all required documents, present them to the officer at Thai Amphur, and shortly after, you'll have your marriage certificates. Although, one shouldn't enter into that quite a bureaucratic procedure lightly. For the sake of tranquillity, peace of mind, and to expedite the process of marriage registration, 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 (a foreigner marrying Thai) is only THB 20,000 (about US$ 650.00). 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 the marriage contract are dictated by the 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.

Thai Traditional 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 becomes engaged during a ceremony known as thong mun. This is the giving of gold by the prospective groom to his fiancée. Parents, relatives, and friends will attend this ceremony. Instead of a diamond ring, as common in the West, Thais opt for gold, normally in the form of jewelry. It is almost 96% pure gold made in Thailand. When traded locally, its weight is measured in baht. One baht of gold equals ½ 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 the 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 are preserved and secured.

Before the in-law family accepts you, they should know who you are - 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 the 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 quite customary to negotiate the sum and terms of sinsod. Just bear in mind that Thais, by and large, reckon all farang (Caucasians in Thai) as wealthy. Even though that you're probably aware of the charm and beauty, and attentive to the mindset of young Thai girls, it definitely won't hurt to take a look into the title Thai Girls in Sexy Student Uniforms.

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 the extraordinary figures to create a sensation.

Thai Style Wedding

Traditional marriage ceremony in Thailand
Bonding ceremony of marries during Thai traditional wedding in central Thailand The guests wishing happiness to Thai bride and farang groom 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 lose scores of legitimate civil rights. Instead, they prefer to perform a ceremony of a 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 the Buddhist religion, 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 a monk and are usually performed at someone’s home. Simply put, there is no such thing as a “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.

As per the 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 a lot 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 the Thai culture.

Thai style traditional wedding ceremony
Thai Style Traditional Wedding Ceremony

Information and Visa Application Inquiries

Wedding of Foreign Couples in Thailand

Thailand has recently become quite a popular destination for fellow travelers to register their marriages. Very few formalities are required for non-Thai couples to get married in Thailand. It is fast, easy to arrange, and inexpensive. The complete service is just about US$ 900.00.

Contact    for arrangements.

To marry in Thailand, in addition to the passports a couple must provide proof that they are both single and free to marry – a statutory statement or an affidavit of non-attachment notarized by your respective Embassy in Bangkok. Some embassies may require proof of your marital status from your home country, some other, like the UK and US Embassies, will provide an Affidavit or a 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 into Thai and attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand.

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

Marriage in Thailand

Thai Marriage Copyright & Privacy Information

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