There is a certain charm and romance in getting married through a traditional Thai wedding ceremony. As one of life’s important moments, a wedding is made more special the Thai way with its sacred customs.
Following Thai tradition, one of the closest friends of the groom formally asks for the bride’s hand in marriage from her father. He also helps in negotiating the amount of dowry (son sod) to be paid to the bride’s family as a way of expressing gratitude for their daughter’s good upbringing. In setting the date for the wedding, an astrologer is usually consulted regarding the auspicious day for the ceremony, which is usually held in August. On the evening before the ceremony, the couple must pay respect to their ancestors in a Buddhist ceremony officiated by nine invited monks.
The actual wedding ceremony takes place early in the morning at around 6am. Nine monks are invited once again to bless the couple. A string forming a circle binds the couple. After the monks’ prayers are over, the couple gives the monks each an envelope containing money. The newlyweds then eat lunch with the monks, concluding the morning ceremony, and will be making a donation to the local wat (temple) for the wedding blessing.
The main event of the wedding ceremony, called rod nam sang, is held in the afternoon. A flower chain connects the hands of the bride and groom as they are held in a wai (Thai symbol of respect). Usually the most senior and respected member of the group officiates this event. The couple’s hands are soaked in the conch shell containing water, followed by wishes of good luck. The parents, close friends, as well as other selected guests will also proceed to follow and soak the newlyweds’ hands.
The ceremony continues on until dinnertime, which is held in great revelry. Whether it be a buffet, a cocktail, or a formal sit-down dinner, expect around 100-300 guests to come to your wedding day, as the people you may have invited will most likely bring along their friends and family as well. Also be prepared to stock up on cases of whisky, as Thai people like to drink together during celebrations like these. After the dinner reception, the elders hold a traditional send-off for the newlyweds with decorated roses.
MARRIAGE REGISTRATION VS WEDDING CEREMONY?
In Thailand, a lot of people do away with the legal aspects of the marriage, opting for having a traditional Thai wedding instead. However, it is recommended that you register your marriage at the local Amphur (Civil Registry) so that you may be able to refer to this later on for legal matters. For foreigners, you will need to present an Affirmation of Freedom to Marry fom your embassy, along with your passport. You Thai bride/ groom will be asked to show a copy their National ID Card and House Registration. The Marriage Registration process need not be done the same time as the wedding ceremony, but can be done after the wedding day as well.
Since the Marriage Registration process involves a significant amount of time to be spent on paperwork, along with translation and legalization of documents, it would be best for you to seek the services of a Thai law firm who can not only handle the legal aspects of Marriage Registration in Thailand, but can also help make your wedding day an unforgettable event with their efficient wedding coordination services.