Wonderful Weddings: getting married in Thailand

Thailand is a popular wedding destination, attracting couples from all over the world to “tie the knot” in a gorgeous location.

Beach wedding, Koh Lipe, Satun. Photo credit: Via Flickr © Castaway Resort

And it’s not hard to see why – Thailand is exotic and alluring, blessed with palm-fringed beaches, turquoise seas, forested mountains, a vibrant capital city, a rich and diverse culture, and delicious food. Thai people are famously hospitable and welcoming. And last, but not least, Thailand offers great value for money when it comes to planning your dream wedding.

Most couples choose a romantic beach wedding and there is a fantastic choice of venues for small and large parties. You might decide to use a professional wedding planner and the services of a 5-star resort, or opt for an intimate do-it-yourself ceremony.

However, some couples might want to explore more adventurous options and in Thailand there are some truly unique ways to take the plunge!

In Thailand, February is often branded ‘The Month of Love’ and this is celebrated with events involving many couples getting married at the same time on that most romantic of days – Valentine’s Day, 14 February.

Let’s take a look at a five types of wonderful weddings in Thailand – they just might inspire you to think up your own unforgettable wedding day!

1. Abseiling down a cliff

Thap Lan National Park, in Prachin Buri Province, lies about 135 km east of Bangkok and is known for the beautiful mountain landscape, often clothed in morning fog. For about 10 years now, the Weluwan Cliff has become the venue for a unique wedding ceremony in which brides and grooms abseil down the rock face to exchange wedding rings and get their marriage certificates.

The two-day event, called the “Banthuek Rak Klang Phupha” or Inscribing Love at the Cliff, is held on February 13 and 14. On the first day, the couples are harnessed in a giant swing and the bride throws her bouquet to all the single ladies at the base of the cliff.

On Valentine’s Day itself, the couples register their marriages and exchange rings while abseiling down the cliff. Rose petal confetti completes the picture!

Abseiling Wedding at Weluwan Cliff, Thap Lan National Park. Photo credit: www.thaiways.com

2. Underwater weddings, Trang

2013 marks the 17th year for the Trang Underwater Wedding Ceremony in Trang Province, Southern Thailand. This unique event takes place every year between 13 and 15 February and is organised by the Trang Chamber of Commerce, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and other local groups, offering couples a once-in-a-lifetime experience for an unusual yet romantic wedding on Valentine’s Day.

The underwater wedding ceremonies take place on Valentine’s Day 12 metres down on the sea bed at Koh Kradan in the Hat Chao Mai Marine National Park. The combination of turquoise Andaman Sea, Trang’s beautiful coral reef, and perfect weather is truly special.

Underwater wedding, Trang. Photo credit: © www.phuketemagazine.com

The Bhuddhist ceremony includes the pouring of blessed water from a holy conch shell. It is also traditional for older married couples to escort the newlyweds to their honeymoon suites so their wisdom and experience might be imparted, and to bring peace long-lasting love.

So, if you like scuba diving and the idea of an underwater wedding appeals to you – start making plans for next year! Further information can be found here: www.underwaterwedding.com.

3. Sunrise wedding on a mountain

How about tying the knot with your loved one on top of Thailand’s highest peak – Phu Kradueng – as the sun comes up?

Phu Kradueng Wedding Ceremony. Photo credit: ©eTurbonews.com

You will need to be fit for this one as it involves a 3-4 hour trek up the mountain, covering a distance of five kilometers as you climb through the beautiful scenery of the Phu Kradueng National Park, in Thailand’s northern Loei Province.

The ceremony begins on February 13 at the Si Than Tourist Service Centre at the foot of the mountain, where the couples sign up for the wedding climb. That evening, after the trek, they get briefed at the Wang Kwang Tourist Service Centre at the top of the mountain, and spend the night in a tent.

On Valentine’s Day, the ceremonies begin at 5:30 am with a romantic sunrise at Nok Aen Cliff. Afterwards, the couples present food (alms) to the monks at the Phra Si Nagarindra Ground and pay homage to the Phra Phuttha Metta Buddha image. This is followed by a marriage registration and an evening wedding banquet.

4.   Lanna wedding on elephant back

A more traditional , yet certainly unusual, wedding in Thailand is the Lanna wedding on elephant back, held in the historic northern town of Lampang, near Chiang Mai.

Lanna-style wedding on elephants, Thai Elephant Centre, Lampang. Photo credit: © Supat Sutti, www.changthai.com

Couples dressed in full Lanna costume (Lanna was an ancient Thai kingdom) ride on elephants in a procession from the town centre to the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre. Here, the traditional ceremonies include couples tying monk blessed threads around each others wrists and an evening banquet.

5. Wedding in “Million Red Lotus” Sea

This beautiful wedding ceremony takes place between 12 and 14 February in Udon Thani Province, north eastern Thailand, in the Kumphawadpi Wetland Reserve.

A magical wedding among a million red lotus flowers, Kumphawadpi Reserve, Udon Thani Province.

This internationally important wetland reserve boasts a rich ecosystem full of numerous species of marine life and water plants – including the spectacular red lotus, which blooms at this time of year. The local people all help to maintain the local ecosystem, making the Nong Han pond clean and pure.

Over the three days, couples experience many different activities including a “tricycle parade” to pay homage to the Buddha at various prominent temples in the city of Udon Thani and, of course, a magical wedding ceremony on a boat ride through millions of red lotus flowers.

These are just five of the more unusual wedding ceremonies that take place in Thailand – but there are many wonderful ways to arrange your dream wedding in Thailand. Take a look at our YouTube video for some more ideas:

Getting married in Thailand: legal requirements

In Thailand a marriage isn’t legal unless it has been registered with the local authorities. This means you must apply for a marriage licence before the wedding ceremony can take place.

You are required to have been resident in Thailand for at least three days before you marry. So allow four or five working days in Bangkok prior to registering your marriage. This means while the paperwork is processed you can have a pre-wedding holiday seeing the sights and shopping in Bangkok. Or why not take a day trip to the floating markets, vineyards, Bridge over the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi or to see the ancient ruins in Ayutthaya.

UK and Irish citizens need to make an affidavit, or affirmation, of freedom to marry at the British Embassy in Bangkok or at the Consulate in Chiang Mai. This means taking your passports  during office hours – there is normally a charge for this. The affidat/affirmation then needs to be translated in Thai. Once you get the marriage licence you have to submit this to a Thai registrar so it can be legally registered.

For UK citizens, the website Marry Abroad has a handy checklist of Thai marriage law requirements here. The Irish Consulate in Bangkok has also produced useful information  on requirements here for Irish residents. We’d also recommend you check out www.watdee.com’s comprehensive page on Legal Formalities for Marriage in Thailand.

So…food for thought? What ceremony would you choose to make your dream wedding in Thailand? And, if you get married in Thailand we’d love to hear your wedding story on Thailand Reunited.