How much should you Pay for a Thai Dowry
Getting married in Thailand can be both a cheap and an expensive affair. The Thai Dowry is the most expensive part of getting married and as Thai people see it, the Dowry is the payment made to the parents who spent years raising their daughter, it is considered that once the daughter goes off with the husband that she is no apart of his family and little to do with theirs. The big but in this case is if the husband happens to be a foreigner.
For foreigners however it's typically the case that the parents of the bride fork the bill for the wedding and that the mans family typically spends little, this is because being fair, it's more often than not that the bride is the one who wants the special day to be extra special and not the groom, so in most cases it's the bride and the brides family that pays the cost of the wedding.
In Thailand being true also that the woman wants the fancy wedding and it's true, but the groom has to pay for it! Hence the dowry which is to offset the cost of the wedding. These days however the dowry is more common as a keepsake of the past and that typically the dowry paid is more often than not returned to the groom and the grooms family as a sign of good faith between the families. The dowry is typically displayed as gold bullion, jewelry and cash at the time of the wedding and returned once all the festivities are over.
Greedy Thai parents however will not return one cent of the Thai Dowry and will keep everything that was originally agreed upon, not only this days after the wedding it's been said that the brides family demand more money and ongoing maintenance fees for the family. This is bogus and if you've married into a family that does this then good luck, they shouldn't be asking anything and in fact you shouldn't even see them, you need to be strong and simply say no, what they are asking for and demanding is wrong and against Thai culture, they are simply taking advantage of you because you are a Farang.
The dowry also known as "sin sod" is also a way to say to the parents of the bride that the groom is financially able to take care of the daughter which is why it is mostly returned. It's not uncommon though for the parents of the bride to return the dowry and instead demand lifetime monthly payments instead. It's often cheaper to pay the dowry but then if you do then also expect that the brides parents will eventually ask for more money down the road. If you can get away with not paying anything at all would be a miracle but also think about this, your new wife loves her parents and probably has younger or older siblings that need to be taken care of as well, they are your family now too so don't you want the best for them as well? If your wife's family go down the tube, be sure to think so will yours.
How much do Thai men pay for a Dowry
The amount of the dowry for a Thai man varies depending on the age of the girl he intends on marrying, her status, and her families status. Typically if a woman has been married before or has kids then no dowry should be paid at all. You wouldn't pay for a opened can of beans would you? This is the same for Foreigners however for the dowry for Thai men and Foreigners is typically the same, hence the reason why there are so many unmarried Thai men in Thailand, it's simply because they lack the funds to pay for the dowry.
1,000,000 one million baht plus for someone like a movie star or daughter of high ranking official.
200,000 two hundred thousand baht for an educated Thai from middle class family
40,000 forty thousand baht for a typical farm girl
How much do Foreigners pay for a Dowry in Thailand
The cost of the dowry for foreigners who marry Thai women should be the same as that of a Thai man, however they will often look at you and think you have way more money than you do because you come from overseas and will more often than not ask for more than what is expected. Thais view the dowry as a sort of Social Security or old age pension, that's why Thai girls are revered here because they bring in the bucks when it's time to move on and why Thai parents protect their girls so much. A girl running around loose and not studying is like a girl who is worth nothing. Thai parents want to protect their daughter as much as they can so they can get the money they think they are deserved.
Most foreigners pay in dowry about 300,000 - 400,000 thousand baht. This is typically made in gold bars jewelry and cash, if you don't negotiate on the sale of their daughter then your just stupid. Everything in Thailand is a negotiation and that also includes the Dowry or the sale of the Thai parents daughter. Make sure you negotiate, your wife will probably have a good say in this too and if you can negotiate your money back after the expenses of the wedding then power to you.
Finally a Dowry is simply a tradition that is passed on from generation to generation and in no way is it legally binding or mean that you are actually married, in fact when you register your marriage nothing is ever asked about the Dowry and how much you paid, as soon as the money has left your hands and into the parents of the bride is considered a gift. The woman may even decide not to even marry you and you'd be left heartbroken as well as a few quid short. Always consult with a lawyer regarding giving a dowry because as much as you love her, there are many stories of men falling in love in Thailand, paying a Dowry and never seeing their bride or money again, be warned.
Final comment on how much to pay for a Thai dowry is think about it like a wedding ring, in the west you would pay one whole months wages for the wedding right, if you make $4000 a month before tax then that's how much you would pay for the ring. The same could be said about the Dowry but it's more than the ring, lets say you make 30,000 baht per month, the dowry should be 3 times what you make per month or 90,000 baht. Let it be known that's what you make and what you can afford to pay, if the parents won't allow it and are too stubborn, then maybe you've picked the wrong girl to marry.