Once you’ve made your decision to go ahead and marry your Thai beauty, you’ll have to turn your attention to the Thai wedding itself.
In a traditional society such as in Thailand, the wedding is a very important part of your commitment to your new Thai wife and it’s well worth spending some time researching what the wedding will involve and making plans to ensure that, as far as possible, it all goes smoothly.
Thai wedding procedures
A Thai wedding usually consists of two parts: the legal and the ceremonial and these are separate functions. There is no requirement for a Thai wedding to have a religious, Buddhist ceremony, although this is usually preferred by most Thai brides.
Naturally, the marriage certificate is in the Thai language.
It may be that an Engagement Ceremony is also held on the day of the Thai wedding and it may also be necessary to agree an amount of dowry (or “sinsod” in Thai) with the parents of the bride-to-be.
Your Thai wedding: choosing the date
Thai women are generally very superstitious and the couple should fix their Thai wedding at an auspicious time and date in order to ensure a happy and prosperous marriage. Often a fortune teller will be consulted to see if the stars and star signs of the couple are compatible.
Thai wedding Invitations
Some parts of the wedding ceremony, such as the morning blessing by monks, will only be attended by relatives and close friends of the bride and groom and wedding invitations will be needed. The timing of the Buddhist ceremony is set to ensure good luck and will commence at an auspicious time.
For the evening reception, invitations are more casual and, often, a verbal invite will suffice.
At your Thai wedding: Buddhist Blessing and Merit Making
Although monks may be present during part of the wedding day, a Thai wedding is essentially a non-religious affair and will often take place in a private home belonging to a relation of either the bride or groom or, if preferred, in a wat or temple.
If monks are invited to attend the ceremony it will be to bless the couple and enable them to make merit. The monks will chant and say prayers whilst a lit candle is placed in a bowl of water. This lustral water is then used later to bless the couple and a bowl of white paste may also be blessed which will be used later to anoint the foreheads of the bride and groom.
Performing a Buddhist ceremony, however, does not in itself grant legal status on the marriage.
Making Merit at Thai weddings
Making merit is important to Buddhists and it is particularly important on special occasions such as weddings. Inviting monks to the wedding ceremony ensures merit because donations will be made to the monks. Another way that couples can make merit is by granting an animal its freedom and this is typically done by releasing a bird from a cage, or releasing a fish or turtle back into water.
Thai wedding: homage to the Bride’s Ancestors ceremony
Whilst not obligatory, this is a Buddhist procedure that usually takes place the night before the wedding. It’s quite a simple ceremony and the couple wear everyday clothes, but the principle is that the couple are honoring the bride’s ancestors.
Thai weddings can be as simple or elaborate and the groom and bride wish but the foreign man may find the various rituals and traditions more comprehensive than a wedding in his own country.