Blushing Bride, only 300,000 cash

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Dear Hillary,

I need your advice, and please answer fairly quickly. I have got myself in a situation that I don’t know how to deal with, Thai customs being very different to English ones.

What is the situation here as far as dowries is concerned? I have been living with this girl I met in the local bar for a few weeks and I really like the way she looks after me, puts my socks on, scrub my back and the like. I have been up to her home province to meet her folks, and they seem to be OK sort of people, only they don’t speak any English, and I don’t have much Thai, though I will go and take lessons. Her mother looks after her child from a previous marriage. Her father has a small rice farm and some vegetables.

When we got back to Pattaya, my girl is now saying that her parents liked me and now expect us to get married and we must go back to her village for the ceremony, and that I am expected to pay the dowry for her as well as paying for the monks and the marriage ceremony and party. I asked her how much did they expect and she tells me around 300,000 baht will cover everything. Honestly Hillary, that is a lot of money, being a bit close to 8,000 pounds, and I don’t know that I really want to go through this at that sort of money. I understand this may be the custom out here, but I want your opinion on it. I haven’t got anyone else I can ask to get some sensible advice.

Alby

Dear Alby,

Dowries are still expected in some regions of Thailand, but 300,000 baht is a bit steep for a blushing bride you met in a bar, who has been married before and already has one child being looked after by her mother. Are there any others hiding round the corner? Any contract of marriage should not be entered into when there are doubts, and you are certainly showing more than a few doubts (not that I blame you). You do not say how long you have been in Thailand, but I get the feeling you are a newcomer. Another factor is that village “marriages” are not accepted as a lawful marriage even in Thailand. A ‘real’ marriage, which is recognized in both Thai law and the UK, is not the one in the village, but is done at the local amphur office. You asked for my opinion, Petal, and here it is – run! Now! You are being taken for a ride.