FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

How close to my wedding do I need to organize a celebrant?

Koh Samui, Wedding celebrantMost couples have a confirmed celebrant at least 3 months prior to the date of the wedding. However, some couples decide to get married on the spur of the moment, and I have conducted ceremonies with very little notice. Naturally, with something as important as a wedding it’s best that you never feel rushed, so it’s worth engaging a celebrant early on in planning the event.

Is my wedding ceremony legal?

In Thailand, the only person who can legally perform a marriage is the registrar from the local government. However, the registrar usually won’t speak much English and doesn’t perform ceremonies. What usually happens is that the wedding ceremony takes place and immediately it’s finished, the registrar is on hand and gets the couple to complete the legal formalities (this takes a few minutes only, making the marriage legal. Often the bride and groom will have had a registered marriage in their home country and come to Thailand for a ceremony with friends and family in a more romantic setting. Other ceremonies such as vow renewals require no legal formalities, of course.

20160219_151320I’ve heard that the paperwork is complicated.

You will need to spend a little time in Bangkok to get the wedding papers finalized. If you did everything yourself, it would be complicated, but you can massively reduce the time spent to a mere hour or so: you need to go to your embassy for papers to be stamped, and have to go yourselves, in person. If you have a wedding planner, he or she will give you all the help you need.
I also work with a legal team in Bangkok and together we can complete all the paperwork for you – at very reasonable cost. In addition, I can be on hand in Bangkok to further guide you.

More on our legal services

How much do you charge?

My prices are very reasonable; please write to me directly at etcsamui@yahoo.com for further information.

Where are you based in Thailand?G&A 12.02.2016 (6)

I’ve made my home on Koh Samui, a beautiful island half way between Bangkok and Malaysia. It’s one of the most popular venues for beach weddings and is also close to Koh Pha-ngan and Koh Tao, which are also very popular for weddings. I am also available to travel all over Thailand for weddings – thanks to the many regional flights that are run by Bangkok Air. It’s easy to get to remote places quite easily and quickly. A wedding ceremony on Koh Chang (very close the Cambodian border) is as easy to plan and get to as one far closer to home.

Does the ceremony have to be religious?

Most of the ceremonies aren’t religious at all, but there’s no reason for them not to be. I have conducted both religious and non-religious ceremonies. I have also taken part in many ceremonies which have been part-Buddhist. These are performed by monks and follow Thai Buddhist procedures. At the end of the Buddhist ceremony, the bride and groom have a western ceremony.
The main idea is that each ceremony is designed around your wishes. So whether secular or spiritual or religious, the ceremony should always reflect your desires and your personalities.

What other ceremonies do you design and perform?

I am comfortable with almost any ceremony and if I have not done a particular ceremony before, I have colleagues I can call on, as well as a plethora of materials to help me. Some of the newer ceremonies I am looking forward to performing are: babymoons, changing a first name, and welcoming a child into the world. Although it is not necessary to mark any particular transition, I feel our lives are made all the richer by doing so and the transition itself becomes more important by having been celebrated. Since becoming a wedding celebrant I have seen how the idea of rituals and ceremonies can enrich people’s lives. I really see no reason why celebrations should be confined to mostly weddings and believe many other events should be celebrated as well.
What happens if you get sick and can’t perform the ceremony?
I am part of a network of experienced celebrants that I can always call on for help, as they do with me.

Should we learn our vows by heart?

Very, very few couples do this. No! Your aim is to just relax and enjoy your day; you shouldn’t need to worry about remembering your words. I take care of everything. You just repeat the vows after me – I read them to you in short phrases. It’s very easy.

Our vows are very personal / we have some personal words to say to each other.

You can repeat them after me in a totally private way, so that nothing’s overheard. Or if you want to keep everything secret, write the words on card and read to each other – I will step right away while you do this.   

Can we write our own vows?

Certainly you can!  Please just ask if you need help.

We want our vows to be unique, but are finding it difficult to write them…

Don’t worry, I can help with this. I can send you samples of vows that work well in weddings and are meaningful, and can also help you summarize what’s important to you both so you end up with promises that are just for the two of you.

G&A 12.02.2016 (15)We’re not very good at English

Please don’t worry about this. Many couples I’ve married here are exactly like you. I have wedding ceremonies that are in simple English and are easily understandable. There are really no difficult points. When it comes time to say you accept to stay with each other and love each other, you can simply say, “I do” or say this in your own language. Your vows, too, can be in your language, and so can the ring exchange. There are many ways to make you and your guests feel at home. I can also perform your wedding ceremony in French or German.

We speak English but our parents don’t.

Again, this isn’t something to worry about. I have done weddings where the families speak only Chinese or Japanese. There are many ways to make everyone feel at home. Most wedding ceremonies are fairly short, and we can always add in wordings in your native language – friends or family can also do readings.

We want our friends and family to come and speak during the ceremony. Is this possible?

Of course it is! They are welcome to do this.

Can we include readings and poems in our ceremony? 11a. Wedding at Zazen

Yes, certainly you can. If you need any help with readings, poems, etc, then please just ask – I have many ideas for these and know which will really work well and which tend not to be so good. You can either ask family or friends to read to you, or I can do this myself.

We are not traditional – we want our wedding to be very laid-back…

The day you get married should be whatever you’d like it to be. It should reflect your values, your personalities, your desires. Weddings in Thailand are almost always very relaxed affairs, and it’s completely up to you how you would like your day to be: light and minimalist, or creative and unique, or fun. It can be as traditional or as untraditional as you like. I’m here to help, and part of my work is to be versatile so I can help you get the day you want.

G&A 12.02.2016 (164)We just want a very small wedding…..

No matter if it’s just the two of you or you have a hundred guests, this is YOUR day, and it’s a big day. We will make it as wonderful as we can. Some of the best weddings I’ve been to have been very small, with just a handful of guests or just the couple themselves.

You can also take a look at some of the packages we offer
If you have any further questions, please contact me at etcsamui@yahoo.com and I will answer them.

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