There is no doubt that getting married to somebody you love and who loves you is probably right up there with the best things life has to offer and Thailand is no exception in this. There are many scary stories about marriage in Thailand and talks of dowries and other such things and whilst this may be off putting to most foreigners who seem alien to them compared to their own customs you need to remember that those who live in Thailand and want to experience a happy marriage in Thailand then you need to consider and follow the Thai customs and traditions surrounding marriage.
Marriage is just as sacred in Thailand as it is anywhere else but the marriage procedure and ceremony itself are quite different and unique. For example there are two kinds of marriage ceremonies that can be performed and each one has its own benefits and advantages as well as disadvantages in terms of the law also. The first is a Buddhist religious ceremony and this is the preferred method but many others, especially foreigners may go for the much simpler marriage registration which is very similar to going to a registry in the West and getting a marriage certificate but it just does not have the same sparkle or impact in signing a piece of paper.
Because Thailand is a Buddhist country marriage in Thailand is preferred being done as a traditional Buddhist ceremony but this is not actually recognised as an official marriage in Thailand. This is preferred as it upholds the cultural and traditional heritage, most Thai girls (and especially the parents) would be very happy to have a marriage ceremony of traditional Thai wedding, albeit the fact that it is not legally recognised as a marriage.
The legal marriage in Thailand is effected in person at any Thai amphur (Civil Registry Office) countrywide, a governmental office that handles all registration matters regardless, be it a foreigner marrying Thai, a Thai or foreign couple. Marriage certificates issued in Thailand are recognized as such by the authorities of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia, Australia, the USA, Canada and likely many other countries.
Marriage in Thailand and getting marriage registration can be a lengthy process though. You need to produce all required documents, present them to the officer at amphur and shortly after, you'll have your marriage certificates. This sounds simply and relatively easy, and, in all honesty it is but even the typical engagement period and ceremony that many Westerners are used to may seem quite unfamiliar if they are deciding upon marriage in Thailand and that will be discussed in the next article in this series so make sure you read that if you want to learn more about what is involved in terms of marriage in Thailand what you can expect. Suffice to say that marriages in Thailand, whilst unique, are also very special occasions and the tradition and expectations of marriage are just the same, if not more important than it may be in the West.
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