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Marriage negotiations with parents
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  1. #1
    Guest
    My Thai lady told me I must find an English translator and talk with her mother before we can marry. "You know how it is with Thai lady," she said.
    I know there is money involved, but I have no idea how much. I have heard that after the ceremony the money is given back, because it is mostly a big family show thing. Is this true?
    The family lives in a small village outside of Chiang Mai.
    Can someone explain to me how the marriage negotiation process with the family works? How many baht are we talking about?
    Once our fiancee visa is cleared for a wedding in the states I will have about three weeks in Thailand to take care of everything from initial negotiations to the ceremony in Thailand (we will be getting married twice, once for family, once for Visa in US). It would be useful to be able to arrange for the money before I go over in January.

  2. #2
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    The negotiations and dowry all depend on the social status of the your girl and her family. I do not have this information, so I will provide a short guideline:

    College educated girl from family with middle class standing will require 100,000 baht and upwards, plus gold. The cash will likely be returned, but find out up front.

    Girl from poor family with little education will require considerably less (~50,000 - 80,000 baht plus small amount of gold would be ballpark estimate). This will probably not be returned.

    Formery married girl, girl with children, or former bar girl will not require a dowry. In order to save face and impress her family, you could offer a reasonably generous dowry (keep previous figures in mind and stay under them). It will score you major points. You will also be required to pay for the ritual ceremony and party, so you will have an opportunity to be generous there too. Bringing the family small presents from America will also score you points.

    If they ask for more than their status warrants, it is a red flag for you. Whatever you do, always smile and remain polite. On the other hand, be firm and do not allow yourself to be taken advantage of.

    This is a big step and I wish you the best of luck. My wife and I are going through the final stages of the K-1 visa process and she has her interview in December. If all goes well, she will be in Miami for the holidays.
    Life is learning. If you stop learning, you might as well be dead.

  3. #3
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    WARNING I have herd many stories of the "Dowry" not being returned to westerners after they have promised to do so. If you were a Thai person getting married to a Thai, the dowry would most likey be returned, to help buy a house. When a westerner marries a Thai, the couple usally go to live out side Thailand and I have never herd of any Thai family paying back the Dowry when not living in Thailand. Thai people are usally very polite, but they never consider you to be a close family member like there daughter, and look at you more as a Money Tree.
    If you give them a Dowry, they will never respect your culture and they will always consider there cuture as superiour as you have bent down to there rules, you need to exsplain to them, they need to also respect your culture, that in your culture, they do not give a dowry, and they need to show you respect by not exspecting payment for there daughter, as in western culture buying a wife is not exceptable and is considered disgusting, tell them in western culture they give gifts on birthdays and at Christmas, and on those occasions you my send them a gift of Money. Also tell them if they ever ask you for money, they will get less money as spunging money off people is also considered unexceptable.
    It is very important this Thai family don't think of you as a Money Tree. If the Daughter does not want to marry you after this discution, you know she does not love you, she just wants the money and presteage to bring her family up one or two classes.
    The daughter will most likely still marry you, and the family may at firt be dissapointed, but just show some diplomacy in the negosiations, and if you show the family your strong will and you are not pressured into doing things to suit there culture, they will have more respect for you a year down the track, as Thai people have a lot of respect for your stength of character
    WARNING UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE PAY A DOWRY or you will be just considered a money tree and they will have less long term respect for you and your culture.

  4. #4
    delawang Guest
    We pretty much beat this topic to death earlier this year. Check it out at:

    http://www.thailandguidebook.com/cgi-bin....5;t=188

    Aside from having Paul come to Chiang Mai and help with your negotiation your best bet is to show up with an amount you are comfortable with and work through younger family members on the spot.

    If you have questions after reading the 21 pages of posts on this topic, feel free to write.

  5. #5
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    Yes, Paul is quite the negotiator. He has one heck of a success rate
    Life is learning. If you stop learning, you might as well be dead.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]Yes, Paul is quite the negotiator. He has one heck of a success rate
    hehe. another deft touch from the man in Miami...

    Jonny

  7. #7
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    with love

    Thank you one and all for your responses. This is obviously not an area with easy answers.
    My big problem is this - I have only three weeks vacation time to come to Thailand, meet parents, negotiate sinsod, hold wedding, and bring her back to America.
    The time cannot be determined until the fiance visa is approved (we will have a second, civil ceremony in the U.S. for benefit of the State Department and local friends).
    On top of everything else, I am considering purchasing a house next to her parents' village and that needs to be inspected and pretty well negotiated before I arrive as well!
    I would like my lady to act as intermediary in negotiations with her mother, but she seems very reluctant. She has a sixth grade education and I am paying for her to go to English school in Chiang Mai now. I have asked her to send me receipts from the school to use in negotiation.
    There is a large difference in our ages, but I am a fitness buff and work out vigorously every day(15-50 kms on bicycle flat out, 25-30 kph, plus weight lifting), so she will not be embarrassed to be seen with her farang.
    The mother's word is law and she has said I have to talk with her, but I need to have some place to begin negotiations.
    I am tempted to let the house slide after reading your posts, because I do not want to appear too wealthy (I will have to finance it, and will be on a pension income when I retire in two years).
    Your comments, especially in the previous forum, have helped me to understand my lady's fear of flying to the U.S. alone, so I will be sure to time the trip to coincide with bringing her home.
    Does anyone have any other type of person you can suggest as an intermediary to get negotiations started? I have a friend who introduced us, but he is in Bangkok.
    As many of you have said, our love for each other is the important thing. It will be put to the test in the coming months I am sure.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]I am considering purchasing a house next to her parents' village and that needs to be inspected and pretty well negotiated before I arrive as well!
    From what I have heard, Thai law does not allow ownership, of thai property by westerners, even after marriage, the property would have to be put under your wife's name. I would give this a miss and rent. Put your money into the depressed US share market, or speculate on some very good quality airline stocks, Like Qantas Australia buy low and in two years you would have doubled your money. buy the way the Thai share market has had the strongest growth spirt in Asia with a 50% increase this year.
    don't be used as a money tree, make them show you she loves you not for money, but because you are kind and faithful.
    Next question what is your age diffence

  9. #9
    delawang Guest
    A lot of material in your last post. First thing, when a Thai says they have a sixth grade education it usually means they finished high school. We have bratom 1 thru 6, them matayom 1 thru 6. In Thailand we do not have a “7th grade”, that is called first grade. Everyone understands that it is matayom 1.

    Next, I am guessing that your girlfriends family are not well off. That being the case, here is the way to conduct the negotiation. Read the posts from everyone about amount, and pick the amount you are comfortable with. Have this amount in cash (and gold- don’t forget the gold) with you when you visit. I know this sounds risky, but we have very little crime in the country and no one will expect you to be carrying a lot of money. You are safer than you are in your own country, just keep the money and gold as hidden as possible.

    Plan on visiting your future in-laws for a week. On the second day, talk to girlfriends mother or father alone. Ask to marry their daughter and produce the money and gold. Let then look at it and handle it for a few minutes. If they start to haggle like used car salesmen put the money away and say “I can not; tomorrow I will leave.” You will be married within 48 hours. Rural Thai weddings do not require months of planning.

    When I recommend this most people feel it is terribly risky, that the parents could just have you killed and keep the money. The reason no one will do this is the wedding ceremony, money and gold bring good luck to everyone. A murder in the home brings incredible bad luck, the kind that lasts for generations. Unless the family hates you, which is very unlikely, they will not pass up the opportunity to bring good luck to all by having a marriage in the presence of so much money and gold.

    About the house, I am a little confused. Have you been to the village before? Do you have friends there? Are you sure you want to live there? Do you know that after you get married, your wife can not leave the US until she has a green card- typically 1-1/2 years?

    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] (birderman @ Oct. 14 2003,18:20)]15-50 kms on bicycle flat out, 25-30 kph, plus weight lifting
    Hey- I thought you said you worked out vigorously:-D Just kidding- glad to hear u r staying in shape. Is this exercise bike or real bike? I ask because I trashed my motorcycle (in the US) and switched to bicycle 6 weeks ago. I am trying not to use “Osama”, my V-8 pickup truck, more than necessary. Winter is coming and I want to keep riding. Do you have any suggestions for cold weather gear? Way off topic so PM if you do.

    del

  10. #10
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    Gor Gai

    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]As many of you have said, our love for each other is the important thing. It will be put to the test in the coming months I am sure.
    Well, well, well... a year has passed since our balding Romeo wrote the above. I wonder how they are doing now? Did their love prove to be strong enough to gap the "large difference in their ages" as he said, so nicely. I also wonder whether the young lady was resilient enough. Come to think of it, I am sure she was. Most Thais are.

    Another passing thought... did he really think that an improved physique would fool anyone? At most, it could yield him a spot in the next Bowflex commercial (Americans might remember the ad I'm talking about ). What's next? A combover to look like Tik Jedsadaporn? Geez...

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