When getting married in Thailand, there are two types of weddings. There is the traditional Buddhist religious ceremony and the legal marriage registration. The ceremony is the wedding, however, the registration takes care of legal aspects. This is paperwork to be filled out to officiate the marriage.
Here are some ideas on what to expect from the traditional ceremony.
How to Prepare
There are things to expect from both the bride and groom’s side of the family to uphold Thai wedding traditions. The groom will have two gifts to prepare. One will be a gift of gold jewelry given by him to the bride before the wedding. The second is the gift of a dowry he will later give to the bride’s parents.
For his proposal, the parents of both the bride and groom will meet the other. If the parents of the groom approve the bride, they will ask her parents if they allow the marriage. They will then negotiate how much the dowry will be.
The families will discuss a date for the traditional Thai wedding ceremony. They may decide to handle the legal registration on the same day, but this is not required. After a date is set, each family will hand-deliver invitations to family members and friends of the other.
The Traditional Bride
One of the Thai wedding traditions is for the groom to make merit to honor the bride’s ancestors. He may give money to the temple or release a captive animal. Monks will come and bless the marriage and home. The family will then feed the monks.
The traditional Thai wedding dress can be chosen from six different styles. Some modern couples choose to wear a Western-style white dress and suit, but most prefer to keep tradition alive.
The Traditional Groom
After he is given permission to marry the bride, and they have been blessed, the groom’s work is not over. In the past, the groom, his family, and friends would travel by foot singing and playing music. When they reach the bride’s home, the groom must go through a series of chains held up by the bride’s family. He must enter the gates by presenting the family members with envelopes of money. Once he is through all of the gates, the bride’s parents bring her to give to him. At this time, he will present the dowry to her parents. In more modern ceremonies, the dowry will be presented to the parents at the wedding reception.
The Traditional Wedding Ceremony
Now comes the heart of the ceremony. The couple sits or kneels next to each other with their hands folded in a prayer position. An elder will then place a Mong Kol on both of their heads. This is made of white cotton and is meant to join them together.
The shell ceremony takes place now. Guests will come forward, take a shell, and pour holy water over the couple’s hands while giving them advice.
Some couples choose to have a white thread ceremony. The elder will wrap thread around their wrists and cover it with holy water. The thread is torn, and the one with the longest piece has the greatest love.
If they choose to do a Sai Sin, the guests each come and wrap threads around the couple’s wrists to wish them happiness. They keep the threads on for three days.
The Reception and Bridal Bed
After the ceremony, there is a reception. Family and friends will stand and say a few words for the couple, and there is the cutting of the cake and the bouquet toss. Games and activities are played. Afterwards, the couple is led to the bridal bed where their parents are waiting to give them symbols of prosperity, harmony, love, happiness, comfort, early waking, and a long life. They give advice and then leave them in bed as a sign of wanting children. This tradition is not often carried out in modern times.
Wedding Destinations in Thailand
There are many beautiful wedding destinations to choose from in Thailand. This amazing beach paradise has gorgeous sunsets and tropical weather year round. There are resorts to hold the wedding at or couples can choose a private villa.x`