Phuket beach weddings are dreamy and idyllic, there’s no denying that. However, they’re not always legally binding. Due to the complexity of organising the paperwork, most of the wedding packages available are only ceremonial and do not give you an official wedding certificate. While you could take a quick trip to your local registry office to deal with the paperwork, it is possible to make your beach wedding a legal one. Here’s how:
Letter of Intent
The first thing you’ll need is a Letter of Intent from your embassy or consulate in Bangkok. This will require you to personally visit said embassy, so you’ll need to include a few days in the Thai capital in your holiday itinerary before you head down to Phuket. It could be done in as little as a few hours or as much as a few days, so it’s wise to leave a good amount of time as a buffer. You should also contact your embassy for their best estimate of how long it will take.
Get it translated
At this stage, you have a couple of options. If you want to get down to Phuket to get in the beach wedding mood, you can hand your Letter of Intent over to a wedding service for them to handle the paperwork. While this is expensive (expect to pay about 20,000 baht), it’s also significantly easier than trying to handle it all yourself, especially as it involves speaking to government offices in Thai. The cheaper option is to do it all yourself. This will mean a further few days in Bangkok getting your letter translated and then delivered to the right government departments.
With your Letter of Intent and passports all translated into Thai, you’ll need to be registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. You may also need your birth certificates and, if you’ve been married before, a Certificate of Divorce. The ministry’s office is in the north of Bangkok, so expect to spend a lot of time in taxis. However, once the documents have been registered, you can then finally head to Phuket.
Sadly, the trips to government offices are not over. Next, you need to head to the city hall in Phuket Town. Once again, you need to be physically present for this step so, you can’t hand this bit over to a wedding service like you can with the Bangkok bit. However, once you’ve done this step, you’re officially married. If you make a special request, the district officer can attend your Phuket beach wedding so that you can sign the documents at the ceremony instead of in their office. This will cost a little extra and availability depends on the date of the ceremony.
It’s important to note that your Thai wedding certificate will not be valid in your home country unless you get it translated. You may have to do this in Thailand because the chances of finding an official Thai translator in your home country might be quite slim.