Your Thailand Wedding day preparations; first of all, you should be aware that the procedure for arranging to marry in Thailand varies with your country of origin. You will need to get in touch with the Thai embassy/consulate in your home country to find out exactly what documents you will need to provide the Thai officials with.
Also, you should be aware of the many unique aspects of having a Thailand wife. Click the link to read about the dowry and other financial matters.
You can expect that, prior to your Thailand wedding, you will need to obtain a legal document from your Bangkok embassy. This should state that you are eligible to get married e.g. you are not already married, not recently divorced, you are old enough etc. This document will need to be translated by a certified body too; your embassy will most likely not be able to do this for you, but there are plenty of companies dotted around Bangkok that can.
The legal age for getting married is 17, both you and your girlfriend need to be at least this old. If your girl is under 20, she will need her parents to give their consent for the marriage to go ahead (same goes for her visa to visit you in your country if you are intending that, so you'd need to keep the parents happy). Apart from these small requirements, you shouldn't have any real difficulty preparing for your Thai wedding.
It is not customary for the groom to make the arrangements, so you can relax and leave it all up to your girlfriend and her parents. Obviously, if there are personal things you want included, you can just pass that on to your girlfriend and she will take care of it.
Thai wedding customs are quite different to those in the west. Obviously there are some similarities, both are a celebration of marriage and, above all, a good reason to have a party. That said, there are some things that will surprise you on the day, and not least because your girlfriend probably won't take time out to discuss the process with you!
A Thailand wedding, or rather a Thai Buddhist wedding, usually gets started early in the day and is normally all done well before midday - the party gets going after that!
When the wedding ceremony actually gets started, you will find yourself sat on the floor next to your bride and in front of the congregation. Seating is not provided, so you will spend most of the time trying to mentally block out the discomfort in your knees and back!
In front of you, and facing you, will be a row of nine Buddhist monks. At various points during the ceremony, you will need to 'wai' the monks - just follow your bride's lead on this one. Unless you speak Thai, you won't understand anything that's going on, and it will all just sound like a lot of chanting! The number nine is significant in Thailand, it's a lucky number and is meant to bring good fortune.
As the ceremony progresses, you will get to be greeted by the guests. You will be seated for this part, so your knees will get some rest! As the guests greet you, they will tie some string around one or the other of your wrists. This again is a gesture of good wishes and I believe it is meant to ward off evil spirits.
As well as the string, some water will be poured over your hands, and a donation of money will be given. Don't be expecting anything substantial in terms of money, it's really just a symbolic thing. After you have met all the guests, you will slowly walk past each of the monks with your hands raised in the form of the 'wai'; each of the monks then takes his turn to throw water over you! You'll end up half drenched!
Next up comes the food; in Thai wedding customs the first thing to do is to serve up some rice for your deceased relatives. Thailand is very spiritual about the afterlife, and this part of the Thailand wedding ceremony is intended to gain approval from your dead ancestors. Again the number nine comes into play. There are nine big bowls into which you and your bride must place some rice.
The next step is to serve up some food for the monks. It is symbolic for the bride and groom to hand the food over to the monks; I like to think of it as a thank you for the drenching!
The eating and drinking then gets underway and the party gets going. It's all very easy really, nothing to get stressed over. Just follow your bride's lead at all times and go with the flow.
It is not unusual for an actual Thailand wedding to be conducted without any formal
registering of it carried out at all. But, to make matters legal, you
will need to accompany your wife to the local 'amphur'. The amphur is a
You will need to take along your passport, certificate of eligibility to marry, your wife's family documentation and so on (remember to check with the Thai embassy in your country about exactly what is needed). You will then be issued a marriage certificate. If you would like to get some legal advice about marriage in Thailand, as well as more information about how to register a marriage legally, a good website to look at is: www.siam-legal.com.
One of the downsides weddings abroad in Thailand is that your own friends and relatives might not be able to attend due to the costs of flying out etc. For those that do manage the trip, a good way for them to save some money is to book the right hotels. My top recommended Pattaya hotels are:Sabai Resort, North Pattaya - cheap and very good
Thailand Wife; the cultural differences between Thailand and the west can seriously stress a marriage, click here to uncover a few misunderstandings.
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