Thailand is a romantic destination for weddings, attracting couples from all over the world to ‘tie the knot’ in a gorgeous location – and, if desired, in an unusual place such as underwater, on an elephant’s back, or on top of a mountain at sunrise.
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 Thailand offers great value for money when it comes to planning that dream wedding.
Most couples choose a romantic beach wedding, either using a professional wedding planner and the services of a 5-star resort or opting for an intimate do-it-yourself ceremony. However, some couples might want to explore more adventurous options – such as the following:
Abseiling Down a Cliff: The Weluman Cliff in Thap Lan National Park, about 135km east of Bangkok, is 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 on 13th – 14th February.
Underwater Weddings in Trang: This unique event takes place every year between 13th and 15th February, 12 metres down on the seabed at Koh Kradan in Hat Chao Mai Marine National Park. The combination of turquoise Andaman Sea, Trang’s beautiful coral reef, and perfect weather is truly special (www.underwaterwedding.com).
Sunrise Wedding on a Mountain: Your clients will need to be fit for this one as it involves a 3-4 hour trek up Thailand’s highest mountain, covering a distance of 5km as they climb through the beautiful scenery of the Phu Kradueng National Park, in Thailand’s northern Loei Province. The ceremony begins on 13th February at the Si Than Tourist Service Centre at the foot of the mountain.
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.
Wedding in ‘Million Red Lotus’ Sea: This beautiful wedding ceremony takes place between 12th and 14th February in Udon Thani Province, north-eastern Thailand, in the Kumphawadpi Wetland Reserve. Over 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.
In Thailand a marriage is not legal unless it has been registered with the local authorities. This means that your clients must apply for a marriage licence before the wedding ceremony can take place.
They are required to have been resident in Thailand for at least three days before they marry, so allow four or five working days in Bangkok prior to registering their marriage. While the paperwork is processed they can have a pre-wedding holiday seeing the sights and shopping in Bangkok, or take a day trip 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 their passports during office hours – there is normally a charge for this. The affidat/affirmation then needs to be translated in Thai. Once your clients get the marriage licence they 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 at www.marryabroad.co.uk/how-to-marry-in-thailand.shtml . The Irish Consulate in Bangkok has also produced useful information on requirements for marriage abroad for Irish residents on www.irelandinthailand.com (under Consular Services).
The Tourism Authority of Thailand also recommends that your clients check out www.watdee.com’s comprehensive page on Legal Formalities for Marriage in Thailand.
More information is available at: http://uk.blog.tourismthailand.co.uk/2013/02/15/wonderful-weddings-getting-married-in-thailand/#sthash.r8YOWtli.dpuf