For couples marrying in Thailand, the marriage will only be legally recognised in your home country if you have followed Thai legal procedures. Part of this process involves completing some paperwork at the Thai embassy or consulate (usually in Bangkok). If it isn’t valid under Thai law then the chances are it won’t be valid under the law in your home country. Please refer to the Legal Formalities page on this site for more information. A religious ceremony may be part of the wedding, but this ceremony doesn’t make the marriage legally binding. In Thailand, a marriage is only legal once paperwork has been completed and officially registered at the district office (known as amphur’ or ‘khet’). Local address and contact details of these district offices can be found by clicking on the relevant location below.
Marrying Thai Partner
As a Westerner marrying a Thai partner you should familiarize yourself with all aspects of the traditional Thai wedding. Not all of the old traditions are upheld nowadays, but understanding the cultural aspects and symbolism will help you in the lead up to the big day and will impress your partner and your new Thai-in-laws. You should also take note of the legal requirements. One of the main cultural differences you are likely to encounter (if you are a man marrying a Thai woman) is the subject of sinsod or wedding dowry which is an issue which can lead to friction and cultural misunderstandings.
Traditional Thai Weddings
Depending on where you get married in Thailand, different regional customs and ceremonies may be incorporated into the wedding service. There is no set format to a Thai wedding which can vary from region to region, but the traditional Thai wedding section on this site outlines some of the common ceremonies and the meaning behind them.
On the Bangkok wedding page of this site there are a few links to local wedding planners. As these are local wedding planners, it will be of benefit if you or your partner can speak Thai or have somebody who can act as an interpreter on your behalf. Alternatively, some hotels in Thailand have their own specialist on-site wedding planner who will be able to speak English and arrange things on your behalf.
Weddings With a Difference
For many couples marrying in Thailand, part of the appeal is having a romantic wedding ceremony on the beach. This can easily be arranged along with a number of alternatives that include marrying underwater or having elephants at the wedding ceremony.
Trang underwater wedding ceremony »
Elephant wedding ceremony »