Thailand is becoming increasingly popular as a destination for romantic, exotic weddings. This is probably due in part to the relative ease with which foreigners can get married. Of course, the spectacular scenery afforded by places such as Krabi or the cultural backdrop of Chiang Mai also has a lot to do with it as well.
While it is relatively easy for foreigners to get married in Thailand, there are nonetheless some legal formalities you should be prepared for if you want the marriage in Thailand recognized by your home country. When coming to Thailand for your wedding, you should bring your original birth certificate in addition to your passport. Plan to stay in Bangkok for about a week when you arrive, because you will need to visit your embassy to obtain statutory statements authenticating your documents and your ability to marry. Thailand doesn't have or recognize the concept of public notaries, so the government requires embassies to certify the authenticity of documents. Most embassies will charge you for this.
If you have been previously married, you may need documentation of your divorce, again certified by your embassy. This issue applies mainly to women, as the only indication of this would be if your surname in your passport is different than your birth certificate. If you are under 21, you will need an proof of parental consent to get married.
Once all of the above is taken care of, actually registering your marriage may involve a visit to the district office where the marriage takes place to register the event. Your hotel or wedding planner should be able to help you with this formality, if not all the paperwork, as part of their wedding package. This should also include translation of any documents required.
Planning the Big Event
While Thailand has become a popular destination for weddings, there are surprisingly few independent wedding planners to help you out. Most assistance is provided by hotels, some of which specialize in organizing weddings. For lists of hotels that you may wish to consider, see our weddings pages for destinations such as Phuket and Krabi.