As one of the most romantic destinations in the world, Thailand is an ideal choice for a wedding or honeymoon. Thai hospitality, warm weather, and a host of incredible locations combine to make Thailand the perfect place to celebrate your love. From tropical island beach weddings through to a traditional Thai ceremony set against the backdrop of rice paddies or mountains, the ‘Land of Smiles’ is the ultimate wedding destination.
Thai wedding ceremony
Different areas of Thailand all have their own unique wedding traditions. For example, Peranakan-style Baba weddings are a feature of Phuket while Chiang Mai and North Thailand is home to the Lanna-style kinkhaek taeng-ngan ceremony.
Wherever you choose to marry and whichever style of wedding you opt for, the Thai wedding ceremony is a memorable cultural experience. Although there may be regional variations to the wedding ceremony, there are a number of traditions that are common at most Thai weddings and which serve as a symbolic way to wish the newlyweds good luck, health and happiness. If you use the services of a wedding planner or hotel, they can discuss with you which parts of the ceremony you would like to include. Multi-faith weddings can also be arranged.
Choosing the date and time
In Thai culture it’s common for important events like a wedding ceremony to take place at an auspicious time and date. This may be determined by a monk or astrologer after consulting the couple’s personal horoscopes. The number 9 is considered lucky in Thai culture and the ceremony may often commence at a specific time e.g. 9.09 a.m.
Procession of the groom and his family
On the wedding day the groom leads his family and friends to the house of the bride’s parents. The procession sees dancing and music to accompany the groom’s entourage who will carry with them banana plants and sugar cane plants. This tradition was born out of practicality because if the couple go on to have children, the plants provide added sustenance to the baby. The procession may also bring food for the ancestors who have passed away to show they have not been forgotten and are still part of the family. In addition, the procession carry the sinsod (wedding dowry) if it has been agreed.
When the groom’s procession reaches the home of the bride’s parents, they are symbolically blocked by silver and gold ‘gates’. The gates are usually coloured chains made from fabric and held up by women or children from the bride’s group of family and friends. To open each gate, the groom or his father must ‘negotiate’ with the gate-keeper and offer them an envelope of money to allow access. It’s all very light-hearted and a sanuk part of the wedding day.
White thread blessings
At different stages of the wedding ceremony, specially prepared white thread is used. This is first used to form two adjoining circles on the couple’s heads as a respected elder blesses the newlyweds. White thread is also tied around the couple’s wrists to wish them good luck.
Rod nam sang blessing
Inside the wedding venue relatives and friends take it in turns to bless the wedding couple. The rod nam sang blessing is usually performed using a conch shell filled with lustral water which is gently poured over the hands of the bride and groom.
Advice for attending a wedding in Thailand
If you are attending a Buddhist wedding ceremony, there are some do’s and don’ts to be aware of. Women should not touch monks and this extends to handing anything directly to them. If Buddhist monks are present, don’t sit cross-legged in front of them. Instead, you should sit or kneel with your feet behind you and try to keep your head lower than the monks. Monks will often sit on chairs or a raised platform so their heads are higher than the others in attendance.
While wedding couples and guests will want to look their best, this can be easier said than done in the Thai heat and humidity. Depending on the wedding, dress codes can range from relaxed to formal. If dress codes allow, opt for something loose fitting and comfortable. Traditional Thai wedding attire can be hired or arranged for you by a wedding planner or your hotel. In popular tourist locations such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Krabi, Phuket and Ko Samui, it’s possible to get an outfit tailor-made for you. Ask at your hotel for local recommendations.
One colour to avoid at a Thai wedding is black. Thailand is a superstitious country and it’s considered unlucky to wear a black shirt or black dress to a wedding because it is the colour worn at funerals.
Legal formalities of getting married in Thailand
There are some important legal points to be aware of if you are planning to marry in Thailand. Most notably, a marriage in Thailand is only legal once paperwork has been completed and officially registered at the district office. This office is known as the ‘amphur’ in most areas of Thailand or ‘khet’ in Bangkok. Although a religious ceremony may be part of the wedding, the ceremony by itself doesn’t make the marriage legally binding.
For your Thailand wedding to be recognised in the UK or Ireland, it must be valid under Thai law and must be properly registered at the district office. Wedding certificates issued in Thailand are written in Thai. For legal purposes in the UK or Ireland you will need an authorised translation.
As an alternative, you could opt for a low-key registry office in the UK or Ireland. This would mean you complete the legal formalities in your home country and can then enjoy a traditional wedding ceremony in Thailand as part of your honeymoon.
Although there have been moves to try to change the law, same-sex marriage is not currently recognised under Thai law (as of June 2022).
Visit your embassy in Bangkok
If you are a British passport holder planning to get married in Thailand, the official information here is helpful:
For Irish passport holders, see the information here:
If you use a wedding planner they should be able to expedite things for you, but be prepared to spend at least four days in Bangkok to complete the required paperwork. District offices and government services in Thailand are closed on public holidays, so keep this in mind when making plans.
Best month to get married in Thailand
There are regional variations in the weather which means that any month can be a good month to visit Thailand. For a beach wedding, from November-March/April sees mostly good weather on the Andaman Coast (e.g. Khao Lak, Krabi, Phuket) and April-October sees mainly sunny weather for the Gulf of Thailand (e.g. Hua Hin, Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan).
For a more detailed view of the weather, check out these month-by-month guides:
Where to get married in Thailand
There are an abundance of choices in Thailand for every style of wedding. Although it’s possible to arrange everything independently, unless you or your partner speak fluent Thai it’s easier to let a wedding planner or hotel with local connections make the arrangements for you. We’ve put together some links below to get you started.
To process the legal requirements for a wedding in Thailand, a stay in the Thai capital will usually be required. This can make getting married in Bangkok a convenient option and there is plenty of choice when it comes to hotels and wedding planners.
Known as the ‘Rose of the North’, Chiang Mai is an excellent choice for a wedding. As with Bangkok, the city is a well-established wedding venue for overseas couples. With convenient direct flights to Bangkok, Krabi, Phuket, and Ko Samui, it’s also a great option to visit other areas of Thailand on your honeymoon
Chiang Rai is another good choice for a wedding in the beautiful north of Thailand. Although there aren’t as many choices for hotels in Chiang Rai compared to neighbouring Chiang Mai, there are some unique locations to get married including the gorgeous Four Seasons.
Hua Hin and Cha Am
With convenient access to Bangkok, the twin seaside resorts of Hua Hin and Cha Am are a popular wedding destination and can also double as honeymoon locations.
In the Gulf of Thailand, Ko Samui is a perennial favourite for weddings and honeymoons. The picturesque international airport makes for easy connections to Bangkok and the tropical island fits many people’s ideas of the ideal wedding destination.
The outstanding natural beauty of Krabi province provides a scenic backdrop to weddings. And with frequent flights to and from Bangkok, this is a great choice for a twin-centre romantic getaway.
Thailand’s largest island is justifiably popular for couples seeking the ideal wedding or honeymoon destination. Stunning beaches, a wonderful selection of hotels, and an eclectic food scene all combine to make Phuket an ideal choice for couples.
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