Getting married in Bangkok requires a lot of preparation and planning before you can enjoy your special day. Our wedding pages have useful information you might need when you first begin your research.
We have listed the different types of ceremonies, both western and Thai, and some of the legal issues surrounding getting married in a foreign country. We have also provided links to other useful pages, such as:
- The Best Hotels for Weddings in Bangkok
- Wedding Photographers in Bangkok
- Wedding Planners in Bangkok
- Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Tour
- Banyan Tree's Apsara Dinner Cruise
- Vertigo & Moon Bar Rooftop Dining
- Ayutthaya Ancient Capital Tour with River Cruise
- Shangri-La Hotel's Buffet Dinner Cruise
- Bridge on the River Kwai & Historic Railway Tour
- Siam Niramit Dinner Show
- Calypso Bangkok Cabaret Show
- Chao Phraya River Dinner Cruise
- Grand Palace & Emerald Buddha Half-Day Tour
Thai Wedding Ceremony in Bangkok
Traditional Thai wedding ceremonies are noticeably different to western style weddings in several aspects, although more and more parts of a typical western wedding are becoming popular in Thailand. For example, the bride will sometimes have two costumes on her wedding day: a traditional Thai outfit called a Thai Phra Ratcha Niyom (literally translated means The Dress of Royal Endorsement), which is worn in the morning during the monk’s blessing, and a white, western-style wedding dress which is worn during the reception in the afternoon.
It is quite possible to include some Thai ceremonies to your own wedding for an exotic touch. The two most renowned ceremonies are the early morning monk’s blessing and the water blessing ceremony.
The monk’s blessing typically starts in the early morning, sometimes even as early as 06:00-07:00, when the bride and groom will visit a temple. Usually, there will be nine monks present because Thai people believe this to be a lucky number. There is a specific Buddhist blessing for newlyweds, although this is in an ancient language that few people know called Pali. In exchange for the blessing, the couple will then donate food and other basic gifts to the monks. Sometimes the bride and groom will be anointed with a white paste on their forehead.
This blessing is performed at the wedding reception with holy water blessed by monks. The water is poured over the hands of the bride and groom who rest on a silk cushion. It starts with the parents of both couples, followed by family and friends. As each wedding guest takes it in turns to pour the water, they also offer their blessing to the couple and wish them congratulations. There is also usually headdresses of flowers placed on the heads of the bridge and groom which are tied to each other with string. This is meant to signify the union of the couple, as they have committed themselves to each other.
Western-style Wedding Ceremony in Bangkok
Western-style wedding ceremonies in Bangkok are common and will usually be officiated by a secular celebrant. They can be performed anywhere although it is most common to hold the wedding in the ballroom of a hotel or in the gardens of one of Bangkok’s Riverside hotels.
The two most popular wedding receptions are either a sit-down set course dinner or a buffet. Considerations such as floral and seating arrangements, wedding cakes and music can be handled by many hotels, although for more particular requests you could consider a wedding planner.
Religious Weddings in Bangkok
For those who require a religious wedding, it would be best to ask for the help of a wedding planner. There are several churches dotted around central Bangkok but if it is a Christian wedding you require then you must provide a Baptism Certificate (a copy is usually sufficient). You must start planning a religious wedding many months in advance due to the technicalities of booking a priest or other religious person authorised to deliver sacred rituals.
Wedding Legalities in Bangkok
Foreign couples can be legally wed in Bangkok, although there are several very important steps to take. It is time consuming and a little bewildering for people new to Thailand so you could hire a wedding planner to do it for you, however you can do it all yourself if you have a few days spare and want to save money.
Firstly, you must complete a Letter of Intent at your country’s embassy. This must be done in person and could take anywhere from a few hours to several days. There are several documents you will need to bring with you from home:
- Completed statutory declaration
- Original Birth Certificate
- Certificate of Divorce if previously married
Each of these documents must be translated into Thai and taken to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Once you have been registered you can then go to any registry office in Thailand to be legally wed, or you can ask the registrar to attend you wedding reception for an additional fee. The final step, have your wedding certificate translated back into your native language for your marriage to be recognised in your home country.