Having Your Dream Wedding Ceremony in Thailand is Easier than You Think
Do you dream of holding your wedding in a beautiful, exotic, tropical location on a beach? Thailand is well-prepared to make your dreams come true. In fact, an entire industry exists in Thailand to ensure that your every wish can be granted in providing you with the perfect wedding day.
Thailand is every bit as sophisticated as western countries in offering the venues, logistics, organizational capabilities and special features that a modern wedding dictates. The warmth, beauty and hospitality of Thailand have made it a favorite destination for weddings and the country has risen to the occasion by creating a professional industry that caters specifically to the wedding trade.
Getting Married Legally in Thailand
But, before we get into the joy that having your wedding ceremony in Thailand can provide, it’s worth noting that a marriage is both a legally binding declaration as well as a celebration. You and your partner need to decide how you want to approach your upcoming wedding from a legal perspective. There are two ways to do it.
If it’s important to you that the marriage certificate be issued in Thailand, it’s perfectly do-able, but be prepared to jump through a few official hoops and spend at least four days in Bangkok while you’re waiting for the paperwork to be processed.
By law, any couple that intends to marry within Thailand has to spend at least three days in the country, but the process of applying for your marriage certificate may take up to four days, meaning that you can start the process practically from the moment you enter the country.
First, you have to visit your country’s embassy in Bangkok (Americans will have to make an appointment on the American Embassy in Bangkok’s website) and obtain an affidavit that states you’re both legally permitted to be married in accordance with the laws of your home country.
Next, you have to have that affidavit translated into Thai by a reputable translation service. Then you have to bring both the original and translated documents, as well as copies of your passport and arrival card (and your passport, for verification) to the Thai Government’s Legalization Division of Consular Affairs Department, where the Consular Official’s signature will be authenticated. Generally, this takes 2 days.
You’ll then be issued with a document confirming the approval which you then have to submit to the District Registrar in whichever district of the country you are holding the wedding ceremony. They will register the marriage and issue the marriage certificate in the Thai language, in accordance with Thai Law.
Getting Married Elsewhere and Holding the Wedding Ceremony in Thailand
The other way to go about it is to get married in a legal, civil ceremony in your home country and travel to Thailand to exchange your vows and celebrate your wedding ceremony.
Although there is a bill pending in the Thai Parliament that would permit marriages between same-sex couples, the wheels of legislature turn slowly in Thailand. Currently Thailand doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages as being legally binding, so getting legally married in a different country that recognizes these unions is the only option for foreign, same-sex couples.
Getting to the Fun Part – Your Wedding Celebration in Thailand
There are still a couple of decisions that you and your partner need to make before the fun begins. Virtually every major resort in Thailand offers wedding packages as a part their services.
Several different types of weddings are offered such as: Chinese, Indian, Thai and Western. The different packages offered generally charge by the guest. The guest charges can run from US $60 to over $500 per person and the resorts charge a minimum that runs from just under US $6,000 to over US $15,000, depending on the venue and type of wedding celebration. The wedding packages can include flowers, a cake, backdrops, cocktails, food and music, etc.
But, what if you don’t want what the resort packages offer, or want to hold your wedding ceremony in a more private location? No problem. Every tourist destination in Thailand is home to a number of professional, English-speaking, wedding planning companies. They will happily provide you with references and testimonials by satisfied customers. They will also plan your wedding with you by email and will send you photo choices of everything on your wish-list, so you feel comfortable with the way that your day will turn out.
Nobody’s feelings will be hurt if you love a certain resort, but don’t care for what they have to offer as a wedding package. Wedding planners in Thailand maintain a good rapport with all the resorts in their area and can step in to supply you with whatever is on your wish-list, but lacking in the resort’s wedding package.
The local wedding planners are the ones to turn with any special requests. Do you want the groom to arrive by jet-ski like Bradley Cooper did in the “Hangover Part II”? Local wedding planners can make it happen. Do you want your wedding celebration to feature elephants, fire balloons and Thai dancers, and end the evening with a fireworks display? These are everyday requests made to wedding planners in Thailand.
Once you get an idea of the prices that are charged for wedding services in Thailand, you’ll be amazed at how much more you are able to get for your wedding budget than if you had held your wedding at home.
The main reason for the growing popularity of a wedding in Thailand is simply the sheer value that can be realized. Low labor and material costs mixed with a professional level of planning and organization and served up in a stunning, tropical seaside location are the things that dreams are made of.