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  • Writer's pictureNina Seignette

Capturing Love Unbound: Celebrating Same-Sex Marriages in Thailand

Updated: May 18, 2023

Love knows no boundaries, no restrictions, and no definitions.

As a wedding photographer, I have had the privilege to witness and capture countless love stories. Today, I want to address a subject that deeply resonates with me: same-sex weddings in Thailand.

This little paradise in Southeast Asia is renowned for its openness and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. It became the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize civil partnerships for same-sex couples. Moreover, Thai society as a whole is generally tolerant and respectful towards LGBTQ+ individuals. In major tourist cities, there are plenty inclusive neighborhoods where couples can feel at ease and freely celebrate their love.

The popularity of Thailand as a wedding destination for same-sex couples is a testament to this openness. Many hotels, reception venues, and service providers are supportive of same-sex marriages and have the experience to create unforgettable celebrations that embrace diversity.

1. The Rise of Equality:

Thailand has made significant progress in recognizing and celebrating LGBTQIA+ marriages. In 2015, it became the first country in Southeast Asia to pass a law allowing civil partnerships for same-sex couples. It's worth noting that the recent elections in May 2023 brought winds of radical change, with a prime minister promising to legalize same-sex marriage within 100 days, along with several motions advocating for diversity. Chadchart Sittipunt, the newly elected governor of Bangkok (2022), even joined the Pride Parade and announced that Pride Parade would become one of the city's 12 official annual festivals.

2. Destination Love:

With its dreamy beaches, temples, and vibrant culture, Thailand has long been a favored destination for weddings. The country's openness, combined with breathtaking locations and experienced wedding professionals, makes Thailand an ideal choice for LGBTQ+ couples from around the world. Below are some images of a wedding celebration in Krabi's stunning Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve.

3. Cultural and Symbolic Elements:

In a Thai Destination wedding, you can incorporate various rituals that add cultural and symbolic significance to the ceremony. These rituals are not religious but carry meaningful symbols, infused by Thai culture. Here are a few popular rituals that might inspire you:

Water Pouring Ceremony:

This ceremony symbolizes purification and unity. Couples pour scented water onto each other's hands, signifying their commitment to support, care for, and respect one another.

Exchange of Flower Garlands:

Instead of traditional rings, couples can exchange woven flower garlands called "Phuang Malai." These garlands symbolize unity, benevolence, and eternal love.

Cotton Bracelets:

Guests tie white cotton bracelets around the wrists of the couple (traditionally, couples were tied together by the wrist, but nowadays it is more common to tie a bracelet on each spouse's wrist). Each guest will share their blessings to the couple while tying the bracelets, symbolizing the bonds that unite them as a couple, and the support they provide to the couple as their community.

Blessing from Elders:

In this tradition, couples kneel themselves before their parents and elders, who then offer their blessings. It represents respect, honor, and gratitude towards previous generations while receiving their blessings for a life of happiness and prosperity.

It's important to note that these rituals may vary depending on the regions of Thailand and personal preferences. Working closely with your officiant or wedding planner is recommended to personalize the rituals according to your vision and values.

4. An unforgettable journey:

Whether you envision an intimate beach ceremony, a lavish hotel celebration, or a garden gathering, Thailand offers everything for you and your guests to have an unforgettable experience. Why not extend the celebration and organize a boat excursion, a cooking class, or a spa day before the big day? From the iconic landscapes of Phuket and Krabi to the cultural splendor of Chiang Mai and Bangkok, the options are endless. Don't hesitate to discuss these possibilities with your wedding planner, as they will know the best local activities and vendors to make your experience exceptional.

5. Capturing Eternal Love:

As a wedding photographer, my role is to capture the essence of your love and the intimate moments that will shape your wedding story. Each love story is unique, and LGBTQIA+ weddings are a testament to overcoming obstacles and the transformative power of love in creating a more positive world. It is always an honor for me to photograph these powerful and transformative moments.

Love is universal,

and the celebration of same-sex marriages in Thailand reflects the progress we have made as a society. It is a celebration of diversity, inclusivity, and the freedom to love whomever our hearts choose. The legendary kindness and openness of the Thai people, along with their magnificent landscapes, provide the perfect setting to embark on a lifelong journey together.

As a wedding photographer, I encourage couples to explore the possibilities that await them in Thailand, a place where dreams come true.

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