How much for a young wife?

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Dear Hillary,

I’m getting close to getting married to my little girl, but I’m just a wee bit confused about the amount of money I’m supposed to give the outlaws.  I’ve asked around my mates and I get all sorts of answers, none of which make much sense.  The amounts range between 100,000 (which I can afford) and one million (which I can’t afford).  What is reasonable, Ms Hillary?

Con

Dear Con(fused),

You have not given me enough details Con, my Petal.  If your “little girl” has no children and never been married before, and comes from a well-off family, the amount of the dowry is quite different from an older lady with two children and two previous husbands from Isaan.

Village families will expect a dowry, but usually this is returned to the couple (less a few baht for Lao Khao, roasted chickens, a couple of pigs on the spit and several bottles of JW Red).  City families are generally not so traditional.  So you are probably none the wiser.  I suggest you ask your intended bride.  You should be able to discuss everything with her before you get married, including your marital history and what you have in the bank!  If you are getting “close to getting married” as you say, clear all these points up first, before you make a very big mistake.