Marriage in Thailand

Marriage in Thailand is a very exciting time for couples. It can be a very special and memorable occasion but it also involves some serious legal procedures that aren’t for the faint-hearted!

Thai weddings are very much about family and fostering a bond of love and trust between two people. The ceremony itself can be Buddhist, Christian, Hindu or Muslim depending on the couple’s faith and preferences.

The wedding itself is usually a celebration of love, happiness and goodwill to the couple, with many guests present and the bride and groom taking a lot of photographs. The day can also include a Buddhist blessing for the married couple and their children, as well as other rituals.

However, in order to become legally married in Thailand, the wedding ceremony must be followed by formal registration at a district office (known as khet or amphur). This is a very important part of any Thai wedding and can often be overlooked by tourists!

What’s more, the registrar in your local district office is responsible for officially recording the marriage and will issue you with a Thai marriage certificate that will be recognised globally.

You will have to submit a number of documents to the registrar, including:

  • An affidavit from your embassy confirming that you are free to marry, which will need to be translated into Thai and certified by an approved Foreign Ministry translator. There are a number of translation services and offices near the main embassies in Bangkok and typically it costs about 1,000 Baht.
  • Another important document is a copy of your passport with the correct stamps, which will need to be translated into Thai. You can then take these documents to the registrar along with a copy of your new marriage certificate and two witnesses.

The registrar will ask you to sign the register and a marriage certificate, which will then be issued to the couple. The marriage is legally binding and can only be annulled in a court of law.

A prenuptial agreement should be arranged before the marriage, which can help to prevent future disputes and division of assets in the event that one partner goes rogue. This can be a costly option but it is worth doing in order to make sure your assets don’t disappear if you get divorced, and you can rest assured that the paperwork will be dealt with by a reputable and experienced lawyer who knows exactly how to navigate the complicated and often confusing legal processes in Thailand.

It is recommended to allow at least four working days in Bangkok before registering the marriage as it can be quite time-consuming and stressful to wait for this paperwork to be completed. This can be avoided by hiring a wedding planner who will handle this for you, although they may charge a fee to speed things up.

A bride price is an important part of the culture and can be paid by the woman’s parents to the man who is about to marry. This is a tradition that dates back to the old times when women in Thailand did not have a lot of freedom to work and earn their own money. The bride price is a way for the husband’s family to ensure that the woman will have sufficient funds to live comfortably and start a family after her marriage.

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