Getting Married to a Thai Bride: Customs and Traditions
Oftentimes, marriage is one of the biggest milestones in a person’s life. This is why, if you happen to be marrying a Thai bride, you should learn all there is to Thai marriage customs and traditions, which, luckily, isn’t much. This way, you can get a deeper appreciation of your bride’s native culture and experience the excitement that comes with lifetime romantic commitments in a traditional Thai setting.
The customs may be alien, and to some extent a little strange, but keeping an open mind will go a great way in helping you connect more deeply with the culture that has provided you with the love of your life. Here are some marriage customs and traditions a man marrying a Thai bride should know about.
Thong Mun translates into ‘gold engagement’. This is the Thai version of giving your bride-to-be an engagement ring. In Thai culture, you do not have to give an engagement ring per se, but you are expected to give a 24 carat gold jewellery to your bride. You can also throw in the engagement ring if you feel that the jewellery is not enough. Usually, giving the engagement gift is done in a ceremony with the bride’s family as a way to demonstrate that the groom has the capacity to take care of the bride. At the close of the ceremony, you and your Thai bride will be considered engaged to be married.
Sin Sod is what would be considered as a dowry in other cultures. Some Westerners may not look favorably upon this marriage requirement, but for Thais, it is a very important part of the marriage process, which means you should be willing to go along with it if you intend to marry your Thai bride without violating her customs. In Thai culture, Sin Sod is considered compensation to the family for their daughter, and, like the engagement gift, also demonstrates that you can take care of your bride. The amount of Sin Sod will have to be negotiated between you/your family and the bride’s family. Some families actually return the dowry back to the bride and groom after the ceremony.
A traditional Thai wedding ceremony is taken quite seriously in Thai, even though it is not recognized under the law. It is not unusual for people to marry through a traditional ceremony and be expected to lead a committed married life even though under the law, the marriage is not recognized. The traditional marriage ceremony is made with regard to Buddhist religion. The ceremony is usually performed at home, and monks might be involved. Even if monks are involved, it is usually in an indirect manner. The monks are usually present in an odd number, with a maximum of 9 monks. For the weeding to be recognized by law you will need to have the marriage certified at a registry.
Under Buddhist religion, to ensure that the marriage remains full of love and lasts for a lifetime, a merit gift is usually presented. Essentially, this is a donation to the local temple (wat), which then performs a wedding blessing ceremony. Basically, you should make the gift in your bride’s name.
Marrying a Thai bride in accordance with Thai customs is actually not as intimidating as some people think. The traditional ceremony is very similar to what happens in the West, with a few differences. Basically, you just have to offer an engagement gift, pay dowry, participate in a traditional wedding ceremony, and give a merit gift to the local temple for a blessing on your marriage.