Since August, 2007, I have had the opportunity to attend 2 weddings in

The first one was in October, 2007.  This was a marriage between two
middle class Thai's.  This was the first marriage for both of them.  It was held
in the Northeast province of Korat.  It was a big affair.  It started on Friday
night and ended Sunday afternoon with a big reception (I would estimate
about 150 guest).  I can't begin to imagine what the cost of this wedding was
or the amount of dowry paid.

The second wedding was on February 14, 2009 (Valentine's day).  My friend
Ken (Japanese man from Hawaii) married a wonderful Thai lady named Lek.  
By the way, she's a fantastic cook.  She has an 18 year old son who is now in
college.  They both have been previously married.  It was a small wedding
(about 12 to 15 guest).  The wedding was performed by a Buddist monk at a
temple in Chiang Mai.  I think the entire ceremony took less than 30
minutes.  We spent another 30 minutes on the temple grounds taking
pictures, etc.  At the edge of a small lake there, Ken played the Ukelele and
sang the Hawaiian Wedding song (a Thai friend of Ken translated the words
into Thai for those who did not understand English)..  From there we all
went to the Grandview hotel for a buffet lunch.

I give these two examples to show that regardless of what you hear or read,
weddings in Thailand can be very lavish or very simple and memorable
depending on the circumstances.

Here is some interesting information regarding Dowry's.  For a detailed
description of everything involved in a complete ceremony, click on the
link at the bottom of this page.

Dowry (Sin Sod)

Thai parents tend to view marriage as being based on financial security.
Hence the dowry or sin sod.  No Thai family would want their daughter to
marry someone who does not have an interest in the financial security of
the family.

This makes the dowry a must during a Thai wedding ceremony.  Look at
dowry from a Thai perspective.  Cultures and traditions are different.  As an
example when a Thai man marries a woman he would generally move into
the family home.  Dowry (Sin Sod)   It would then become his responsibility
to manage his in-laws business be it a farm or a store.  He would also be
tasked with taking care of her family members and anyone related to her
family.  Should he fall into financial difficulty, her family would then support
him. The concept of dowry or sin sod ,even though alien to Westerners,
shows how closely knit Thai’s are compared to Westerners who are more
individual in deed and thought.   What is normal in the West such as “old
age homes” or old age pensions are not standard in Thailand.   Children
take care of the family during their retirement years.  The dowry is therefore
important in Thai culture.

How Much Dowry Do I Pay?

In Thailand inheritance of the family home and family land is generally
through the female children.  Dowry however is not linked to it directly. The
husband of the daughter in the family would therefore reap any benefits of
all that might have been achieved by his wife’s parents. Unfortunately
being a foreigner you don't benefit from the equation.  Firstly a foreigner
cannot own land or a house in Thailand in his name. (Consult a reputable
law firm to discuss your options).  It is the lack of benefit that most
foreigners object to paying dowry.  Even though some Westerners object to
the concept of dowry, many simply disagree with the amount payable.

The amount of dowry paid usually depends on:
(1) The social status of the family  
(2) The level of education or income of the bride, or both.
(3)  Occupation
(4)  Family Background
(5)  The appearance of the girl (Beauty)
(6)  Single, never been married, virgin (see below)

Therefore, you should expect a higher dowry to be paid when you're
marrying a university-educated Thai lady from a middle-class family, most
especially if she is still a virgin at the time of your wedding. In these cases
the average dowry price is expected to be set at 100,000- 300,000 baht.

But one has to keep in mind that if your bride-to-be is not a virgin anymore,
comes from a low-income family, has a child from a previous relationship, or
should the bride be a divorcee or a ‘'Mia Maiy' , then she doesn't really
deserve to be paid dowry anymore.

For information on a Marriage VISA
 Click Here  

Hawaiian Wedding Song
by Elvis Presley
To stop music click pause button

Click Pictures To Enlarge
Don's Life In Thailand
Ken and Lek
Elephant Wedding?
Traditional Ceremony
Marriage / Dowry / Wedding
For a Marriage Wedding Checklist provided by The Nation Newspaper