Story by Dave Stamboulis
Photos by Dave Stamboulis and courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi
Thailand has become a popular choice as a prime spot for tying the knot (or should we say Thai-ing the knot?!). There are so many picturesque and romantic locations here where one can share vows with a significant other, not to mention having a world class honeymoon and fabulous holiday afterwards. One can choose from gorgeous beach resorts on the islands to Lanna temples and culture in Chiang Mai, and of course be pampered with some of the world’s finest dining and spa treatments to go along with the ceremony.
Many foreigners enjoy having a big exotic party along with the traditional Thai wedding ceremony, where a monk will come and bless the couple along with doing a bai sri ceremony, where white threads are tied around a couple’s wrists to ensure luck for the future, along with silk threads being looped around the heads of the bride and groom uniting them together in marriage. The setting might take place in a temple, on a white sand beach under colorful parasols, or even under the sea! In Trang Province in the southern Andaman, one can now get married while wearing masks and scuba gear. As part of an enterprising eco tourism venture, the company Undersea Weddings now does submerged celebrations each year on Valentine’s Day as part of the Guinness Book of World Record’s largest underwater wedding ceremonies, and couples actually get their wedding certificates inked while diving amongst the coral.
Up in the mountainous north, Chiang Mai is home to traditional Lanna culture and one can get married in style, riding on an elephant and dressing up in period costumes. The elegant Dhara Dhevi Hotel hosts elaborate Lanna wedding parties, where fine silk costumes are tailored for the bride and groom, and they are transported into the wedding ceremony by elephant and horse and carriage amidst the luxurious settings, which are built to resemble a Burmese chedi and Lanna temple complex far more than a modern resort. At this wedding, the bride and groom are accompanied by a colorful and raucous procession full of musicians and dancers.
Of course all weddings in Thailand are legally recognized around the world, and following the ceremonies participants are given official wedding certificates which they can then bring home along with all the souvenirs and memories from a trip down the aisle in the Land of Smiles.
Given the romantic backdrop, the tropical weather, and the famed service and hospitality of the Thais, along with so many elegant and sophisticated resorts to choose from, it isn’t surprising that Thailand is leading the way for forays into nuptial bliss. All that remains for advancing that engagement is deciding where to have it and in what style. Whichever choice, it is sure to be memorable.
The Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi 51/4 Chiang Mai – Sankampaeng Road Moo 1 Chiang Mai 5000 Tel: 053-888 888