Thailand – Whether you choose an intimate ceremony in an ornate Buddhist temple, a grand gala on a white, sandy beach or a balloon ride high above lush green forests, your Thailand destination wedding will forever be remembered by both you and your guests. Buddhist and Christian weddings are both offered in this worldwide wedding haven, where some of the most unique and imaginative ceremonies can be found. Have your most special day planned by either a wedding coordinator, resort or other organization at a very affordable price.
Affordability, natural beauty, convenience and hospitality are just a couple of the reasons that couples flock to Thailand from around the globe to recite their vows each year, said Mrs. Kaneungnit Chotikakul, International Public Relations Director for the Tourism Authority of Thailand [www.tatnews.org].
“In recent years, Thailand has become one of the world’s most popular travel destinations for weddings and honeymoons,” said Chotikakul. “Many couples choose Thailand, an exotic tropical paradise, because they wish to tie the knot in a land renowned for its irresistible combination of rich culture, welcoming traditions and warm and caring hospitality that displays the true sense of grace and style.”
And of course no wedding would be a valuable one-in-a-lifetime affair if it didn’t have high value for money and a modern state-of-the-art feel.”
Northern Thailand is especially popular for couples seeking a romantic way to explore nature and culture, adds Chotikakul.
To the north, in Thailand’s Lanna region, the city of Lampang is popular for brides and groomsmen dressing in traditional gowns and proceeding elephant-back down municipal streets to the ceremony. Central Thailand proves a perfect location for those who want a more cultural or traditional Buddhist wedding, said Chotikakul, while the south is popular for its beautiful weddings on the beach and the exotic and annual Trang Underwater Wedding Ceremony.
Held each Valentine’s Day in the Thai Province of Trang, the underwater wedding has been occurring for over a decade now below the surface of the Indian Ocean. The bride and groom don scuba apparel and wedding outfits and descend 10 to 15 meters below the surface to recite their vows, in the company of witnesses of course. It’s one of the first ceremonies in the world to have couples sign their marriage registration certificates underwater and is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest wedding of its kind. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) offers a 3-day/2-night package deal [http://www.tatnews.org/events/events/feb/2328.asp?id=2328] to couples who are ready to take the plunge.
Other unique wedding opportunities include ceremonies on hot air balloons, tropical islands, river boats or in quiet rainforests. Overall, a wedding in Thailand will cost about half the price it would in other countries, said Chotikakul.
The TAT offers nine Thailand wedding destination packages, the details of which are available in brochure form at offices around the globe.
When to Go:
Plan on holding the wedding between February and March, when the weather is drier and warmer.
Where to Go:
Many resorts and hotels in Thailand will provide help in setting up your wedding. Do your research beforehand to find a resort right for you. Some of the more popular locations include Phuket [http://thailandforvisitors.com/south/phuket/weddings.html], Krabi [http://thailandforvisitors.com/south/krabi/weddings.html], Chiang Mai and Bangkok. In Chiang Mai, Thailandweddings.com owner Somchit Srimoon “Jit” can help you plan your experience with either a Christian wedding, Civil wedding or any number of Thai wedding packages available. Packages can include exciting details like Thai fireworks, elephants and fire balloons, or “Kom Loi”, which are traditional paper lanterns lit on fire to keep bad luck away. Other Thailand destination wedding organizers include Creative Events Asia [http://www.creativeeventsasia.com/index.html] and Weddings Faraway [http://www.weddingsinthailand.com/index.php].
What you’ll need to do:
Foreigners and residents should expect some legal formalities when getting married in Thailand. In addition to providing a copy of a passport from foreigners, and both party ID cards and House Registration Certificates for Thai residents, they’ll need to fill out a Letter of Affirmation issued by an Embassy or Consulate. The completed affirmation documents must be returned to the Embassy, along with other necessary documentation of divorce, previous spouse death, income, two references from their home country and a list of children and their ages. The signed Affirmation Letter has to be translated and certified by the relevant Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, then taken, with other necessary documents, to the Legalization Division of Consular Affairs Department [http://www.mfa.go.th/web/150.php] in Bangkok. Afterwards, documentation must be brought to a local District Registrar office, also known as an Amphur. Several Amphur offices are located in Bangkok. Lastly, the marriage certificate should be translated back to one’s home language before leaving Thailand. Expect two to three days at least to complete all the paperwork.
Weddings in Thailand are legally accepted in most all other countries. Thailand marriage registration requirements include that a bride and groom must be at least 17 years old to file for marriage. Otherwise, permission must be granted by a court and by their parents. Other requirements include that a widow or divorcee can not marry less than 310 days after the previous marriage has expired unless she has given birth to a child, is remarrying the same person, is not pregnant or an approval from a court to remarry is obtained.