WASHINGTON, DC, March 27, 2013 - Thinking of heading to Thailand on a whirlwind romance through Southeast Asia? Why not make it official and Thai the knot on some quiet beach under the shadow of a golden Buddha?
Wedding ceremonies, like face-lifts, cost less in Thailand. A whole lot less. Plus you can consecrate your life together by a knowing monk.
You can go as frill-less as signing papers in some local bureau or take it to the moon with monks, elephants, flying lanterns, freed birds and parrotfish.
Buddhist ceremonies are the more popular way to go for those Americans who dare to go the distance and get married in Thailand. The better resorts at such famous beach resorts as Phuket, Phi Phi, and Koh Samui do it all for you: the monks, the flowers, the birds, the certificates and fees, and the food in a traditional Thai format that will make a telling memory out of any wedding moment. Most Buddhist wedding packages include the rite of dawn offerings to the monks at a local monastery, then later a temple blessing. The monk blesses the couple with water, and then ties a string around their wrists in a symbol of binding. He places three traditional dots on their foreheads. Afterwards it is time for “Merit Making.” The couple is given animals, be they birds, fish, turtles or other creatures to release back into the wild in an act of “creating merit” for their marriage and life together.
Of course, Western-style weddings can be arranged fairly easily at international hotels and resorts. And then there are those only-in-Thailand style weddings that might require a bit of planning and maneuvering to put together the wowing stories the will engender.
Couples can get married with their favorite elephant. Properties such as Anantara Golden Triangle and the Four Seasons Golden Triangle near Chiang Rai specialize in this timeless regal ceremony. Four Seasons, with its 15 luxury tents, can be rented out in total for wedding parties that have couples exchanging vows atop patient pachyderms to the distant holler of gibbons.
Other couples take their vows on the ocean floor just off the Andaman Coast. The district of Trang near Krabi has earned notice from the Guinness Book of Records as the underwater wedding capital of the world. Couples sign their commitments in Scuba gear at a depth of 12 meters.
Documents Needed - Foreigners marrying either a Thai citizen or another foreigner need a valid (for at least six months further) passport with two copies of the photograph page and also two copies of the page showing their visa into Thailand. People holding passports due to expire before six months from proposed date of entry will not be allowed to enter the country.
Secondly, couples will have to get an Affirmation of Freedom to Marry. They can obtain this document at their home embassy in Bangkok. The document must contain a certified translation in Thai.
This Affirmation document must be taken to the Legalization and Naturalization Division of the Department of Consular Affairs on Chaeng Wattana Road in northern Bangkok to receive certification and the couple will need at least two working days to complete this process before returning to that office to pick it up. However, it is possible to request same day execution of the authentication for a fee to be quoted onsite. Parties should make sure to keep photocopies of all documents given and all papers received.
Once these documents are in order, it’s time to go to the “Amphur” or District Office and apply for a Thai marriage license.
Marriages in Thailand are recognized as valid in the U.S.
Just Do It! Wedding and Honeymoon Deals
Anantara Si Kao Resort & Spa - Undersea Coral Reef Enchantment
Blending water adventure and romance, the Undersea Coral Reef Enchantment package at the Anantara Si Kao Resort & Spa allows couples to glide into marital bliss on a catamaran boat weaving through the islands of Si Kao, dive amidst the corals of Si Kao and celebrate on the beach in style. The special package includes: round-trip Catamaran; diving equipment, and dive master, and master of ceremonies to conduct the wedding; Also, wedding cake, sparkling wine breakfast, dinner for two, florals. Then there is the Anantara Signature Treatment & Milk Bath for couple, Anantara wedding certificate, and complimentary upgrade to a suite for the wedding night. Rates start at $3,582 per night.
Banyan Tree, Phuket – Unity Wedding Package
There are spectacular views of the Andaman Sea in this Unity Wedding Package, which includes: round trip airport transfers; welcome amenity; wedding gift from Banyan Tree Gallery; complimentary use of all water sports facilities; breakfast daily; romantic in-villa barbeque dinner with bottle of wine; dinner cruise; two-hour rejuvenation spa package for two; monk’s blessing or master of ceremony; wedding certificate; ceremony with traditional Thai musical performance; wedding photography; three-tiered wedding cake and one bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne. It all starts at $3,912, with a minimum 4-night stay.
Banyan Tree, Bangkok – Eternity Wedding Package
In this package receive VIP airport passenger service and welcome; limousine transfers; complimentary half-day cruise along Chao Phraya River or a half-day Bangkok city tour; one special set dinner with bottle of wine; private traditional Thai wedding ceremony followed by a romantic dinner for the couple with a bottle of champagne at the rooftop restaurant. This packages starts at $2,143 with a minimum four-night stay.
Hansar Samui – Ultimate Luxury Package
This scenic beachfront retreat encourages travelers to enjoy both romance and luxury with the Ultimate Luxury Package, which includes: private airport transfers; daily a la carte or buffet breakfast for two, picnic lunch for two, high tea for two at the Chill Lounge, and beachfront dinner for two with a barefoot butler. The couple also gets a Thai cooking class, a 90-minute massage for two, relaxing 30-minute foot poolside reflexology massage, and full-day island tour highlighting the scenery of eastern Thailand. Expect nightly turndowns with pillow gifts, petals and wine. This three-night package starts at $1,863.
Four Seasons Resort, Chiang Mai – Thai Lanna Wedding Package
The Four Seasons Resort, Chiang Mai eases the worry of wedding planning with specially created wedding packages, such as the Thai Lanna Wedding Package. This includes: A Thai Lanna wedding procession with traditional Thai Lanna music. Couples are blessed by village elders in a ceremony that includes a master of ceremonies, flower bouquet for the bride and corsages for the groom and the parents of the bride and groom, ceremonial set-up with fresh floral decorations, Champagne for toasting, and a three-tier wedding cake. Couples get a 90-minute Orient blend spa treatment and a choice of a 60-minute body wrap, scrub or Thai herbal facial at the Lanna spa. The package also includes manicure, pedicure and hair setting (including shampoo and blow-dry for the bride), candlelit dinner for the wedding. The package does not include accommodations, meals, make-up, entertainment or legal marriage registration. Wedding package rates vary and do not include accommodations, which start at $540 per night.
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