Sin Sod -Bride price and wedding in Thailand

This article is about Bride price in Thailand or “Sin Sod”. I will describe traditional Thai wedding shortly.

Long ago… (my parent’s time) it was not a good manner that man and woman touch each other. They learned to know and love each other in e.g. temple festival. When it was the time that a man should have a family, a well-known and respected person in the village will ask the woman’s parents for an allowance for marry.

They will agree on Sin Sod which is gifts from a husband-to-be will give to the parents of the wife-to-be for their love, time, money to raise their daughter (ค่าน้ำนม).

When they agree on Sin Sod, the groom will prepare for “Khan Maak” (with Sin Sod) and the bride will prepare for the ceremony to welcome all men’s guests e.g. food, drinks, gifts.

There are two ceremonies: engagement and wedding. The engagement can take place long before the wedding. Nowadays, many families combine both ceremonies into one day to save a lot of costs.

There are many tasks on the wedding day e.g. monk ceremony (พิธีร่วมทำบุญตักบาตร), groom parade (แห่ขันหมาก), Sin Sod counting (นับสินสอด), paying respect to elders ceremony (พิธีรับไหว้), water pouring ceremony (พิธีรดน้ำสังข์) or tying wrist with holy strings (ผูกข้อมือ) traditional in Northern region and Isan, bride and groom in the bed room(การส่งตัวเจ้าสาว), celebration with a lot of drinks and food.

So long story short… we come back to Sin Sod.

How much should Sin Sod be?

This depends on family so we cannot say. Sin Sod can contain cash, gold, gold necklet, property etc. A rich family can request millions but can also ask for nothing. Nowadays, more and more bride families do not request Sin Sod. However, some families still ask for Sin Sod.

I heard few Thai stories that bride-to-be’s parents request a lot of money from the husband-to-be and this parent sticks to the tradition. For example a guy works in the office and earns about 30000 baht a month. The Sin Sod asked is 500000 baht which he needs to work about two years or much longer if he can save about 10000 baht a month. And they could not agree on Sin Sod. It is a sad story if they have to break up as he cannot pay for Sin Sod. 😦

Now we come to Thai woman and foreign man stories. There are different stories you can find online or in forum or Facebook groups. As you know, most of foreigners are seen as wealthy person. Maybe because these persons can effort for holidays, flight tickets, accommodation etc. So they should have some money.

So if you as foreigners are in love with Thai girls…

If the girl comes from a countryside or small village that everyone knows everyone (like my family, haha), often the girl’s family is proud of you. They will talk about you with neighbors etc. I think, maybe it’s because many people are materialistic and like to show to others that they are wealthy. (you may see some Thais that they have a lot of debt but live in a big house and have expensive cars). So if they have a son-in-law as foreigner (or a rich man), they will get a higher social status or get a lot of Sin Sod. The girl will have a better future and can maybe go abroad and live with her husband.

BUT this does not apply to all families!!!

My experience…

I am from a small village in Isan, from a semi poor family but a self-sustainable family (อยู่แบบพอเพียงตามราชดำริในหลวง). My father was a village head master so all villager knows my father. But our family is a bit different as we prefer to save money instead of showing our wealth. We do not have any debt 🙂 That means my father rides an old bicycle, we walk instead of riding motorbike to the market, we use things until they cannot be used anymore. I always wear a second hand cloths. So I am prepared for a German who comes from Southwest of Germany (Schwabe, they are known to be very frugal) ;D;D;D

My husband and I married in Germany and we will marry again in Thailand for my dad. One thing my dad told us is we should save money for our family. My husband likes and will follow this advice from my dad strictly. Haha.

So our wedding next year will be small, about 300 persons. Most of them are from my village. There are no Sin Sod, no Khan Mak but only the monk ceremony and the paying respect to parents and elders ceremony.

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Our wedding back in Germany

I am glad that my dad did not ask for any Sin Sod but asked only my husband to love and take care of me all his life.

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9 thoughts on “Sin Sod -Bride price and wedding in Thailand

  1. I always find it astonishing how many Thai families demand money or gold in Thai-foreign marriages. If you decide to marry a foreigner, you should also be ready to accept part of his culture. It’s not only the Thai way that has to be accepted. Relationships are not a cultural one-way street.

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    • True. But this does not only happen between Thai-foreign marriages! Many Thai-Thai couples have to stop their relationships because of this Sin Sod. This is really sad. Let’s see how long this tradition will last.

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      • I would be one of those who would decide to go separate ways if the family of my girlfriend should ever decide to demand an exorbitant amount of money. Most of them defend it by saying “It’s for the money we have invested in her”. But having children is not a business. Frankly speaking, I find this just materialistic and full of greed. And you can’t seriously tell me that most Thai parents do this to respect their tradition. They just see it as an opportunity to get rich and to be able to show off their new BMW. I don’t, I’m sounding bitter, but money can destroy characters.

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  2. I forgot a word “only” in my last comment. ^_^. I don’t know about other families but the families I know they do because of the tradition. If you do not follow the tradition you will be seen as an outsiders and will lose your face. Anyway, this is a very sensible topic still in Thailand. I hope, someday this tradition will disappear…

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  3. Jayson says:

    It is unfortunate that relationship becomes in Thai business endeavor. I spend one night (nothing happen, we slept in separate beds) with a Thai girl in Thailand (we have been acquainted for 4 years) and we felt a deep connection. All of a sudden she messages me saying that she wants to get married in three months and we need to talk about the Bride’s price. Now this becomes a business negotiation – in business, this is a NO deal for me. I am not buying a cattle and I am not converting a relationship into a business venture. So, I’m OUT!

    After reading the many posts on the web I think I made the right decision – 1. i wanted to marry the girl not the immediate or extended family, 2. As a foreigner and someone who has worked, saved, and has been successful in business, I was not about to lose what i have accumulated, 3. I understand her father just fell ill, I am not prepared to take over as the head of household for the entire clan, and 4. there was already troubling signs –

    When I said I want to get something for her family for showing me around – she brought me to Amway and had me buy $650 USD worth of face cream for four relatives. Face cream, really?!

    When we stopped for gas, she immediate said that I will pay. Now, I am a traditional person who never let someone else pay but she did not even gave me a chance to offer. Wow!

    On our last day (remember we only spend one night together in separate beds but i was in Thailand for 9 days), she said it was her turn for gift so another $350 on Amway face cream, again! What’s up with Amway and its face cream – is this the new drug for Thai girls?

    Then we stopped at a shoe store (I said to myself that this is a test on who pays), who do you think she expected to pay for the shoes. Me, of course!

    So, how can any foreigner NOT think that Thai girls only want money (Btw, she is not a “working” girl and as far as I know still a virgin), if not for her, but her immediate and extended family. Incredible!

    I think we had something really positive, enduring and I was about to ask her my final test of whether she would still love me if I did not have money. She answered it by her actions before I had a chance to ask! Too bad because i could have afforded to pay any Bride’s price, dowry, or any payment but I will not convert relationship into a business venture!

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    • That is an intense story. I hope, you will find someone who really loves you as how you are! I know similar stories like this but not from a foreign guys (farang). In my case, we do not take any Brides dowry and we will endure of gossip from neighbors. So MONEY and losing face have power over anything in some families. If they cannot handle this they might fall into the trap. It is sad but I hope, that this will change in the future! Please let me know when I can hear a good news from you 🙂

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