Marriage in Thailand

If you are a foreigner looking to marry in Thailand it is important to follow all of the legal requirements. Firstly, you must appear in person at your Embassy with both passports to complete declarations stating that you are single and free to marry according to your country’s laws.

You must also take a translated copy of this document to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for it to be legally recorded.

Thai Culture and Traditions

In Thailand family approval is key, and a couple often must seek out the blessing of their parents and elders before getting married. Social status is also highly important, and parents often aim to marry their children into families of a higher social standing. This is reflected in the practice of sinsod, which is a payment to the bride’s family in advance of the wedding day.

All foreigners wishing to get married in Thailand must first obtain an official certification that they are free to do so from their embassy in Bangkok. Once this is in hand the documents along with a translation must be taken to a District Office (known as an ‘amphur’ or ‘khet’) to register the marriage. This process is quite quick and creates a legally binding marriage in accordance with Thai law that is recognized worldwide. It is a good idea to obtain legal assistance for this as the documentation required is not standard.

Thai Marriage Customs

In Thai culture, marriage is not just a personal choice; it’s a family affair. Parents and extended family play a huge role in wedding planning, with many couples having to get their families’ approval before marrying. This can include the payment of a dowry, known as sinsod, to show respect to the bride’s family and acknowledge their social status.

On the day of the wedding, the groom and his family form a procession and walk to the bride’s house carrying gifts and a dowry on special trays. This is called the Khan Maak Procession.

Inside the venue a special blessing is performed with a rod nam sang (poured holy water out of a conch shell) on the couple’s wrists to wish them a long and happy marriage. A Chinese tea ceremony may also be included if the bride or groom have Chinese heritage. It’s a great way to celebrate cultural traditions and pay respect to the ancestors.

Getting Married in Thailand

A wedding in Thailand requires a great deal of paperwork and preparation. It is essential to have a legal advisor to ensure that the marriage is recognised in your home country and that all procedures are met within Thai legal parameters.

For foreign couples, the most important step is to get an official certification from your embassy that you are free to marry. This should feature an affidavit signed by both parties and certified copies of your divorce or death certificates (if applicable).

Once these documents are in order, you will be required to submit them to the local district office, known as an amphur, along with two witnesses. Then the marriage is registered and becomes legally binding. The groom is then allowed to enter the bride’s house, which he does through a symbolic set of doors built by her friends and family that they playfully prevent him from passing easily. This is a very romantic and joyful time for the couple.

Getting Married as a Foreigner

For foreigners wishing to marry in Thailand, the first thing you need to do is obtain an official certification that you are free to marry from your Embassy (this document is usually called an Affirmation of Freedom to Marry). You then need to take this affidavit to a translation office where it will be translated into Thai.

After obtaining the verified affidavit and certified translation you can then take this to your local district office (called an amphur in Thai). Here both parties will need to publicly declare that they are accepting each other in matrimony before a District Registrar who will register the marriage.

Then the registrar will issue you a marriage certificate in Thai. You will need to bring these documents together with the original copies of your passports and authenticated affidavit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok for legalization. At this point your marriage will be considered legally binding and recognized all over the world.

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