Sin Sod’, or Thai dowry, is supposed to be given by the groom to the bride’s family so as to be repaid for the loss of their daughter. This assures the Sin Sod family that the groom is financially able to support and care for their daughter and is expected in the Thai culture. Thai dowry, ‘Sin Sod’ is a long upheld tradition in Thailand and is considered completely likely and very common. The Thai dowry is extremely symbolic, although treated lightly by Westerners.
It is important to a Thai family to have an interest in financial security, and it is expected from the groom to prove such a thing before marriage for his family. As a Thai man, you are generally expected to move into, as well as maintain, the in-laws family home. This includes any business or financial problem, as well as taking care of any relatives. This provides a support system and overall closeness in a Thai family.
In the case of inheritance, the family’s home and any land are normally passed on to the children who are female, meaning the husband of a daughter would be expected to maintain these benefits. That amount of Thai dowry depends on the social status of the bride’s family as well as educated level, and is at often times disagreed upon by Westerners, if not refused all together. On average, a Thai wife can be worth about 100,000 Baht.
However, if the bride is “spoiled or ruined” (Mia Maiy), no Thai dowry will be required, as well as if she comes along with her children of a former marriage. To negotiate Sin Sod, the groom is to approach the Thai parents with Tong Mun, literally translating into “gold engagement” which is 24-karat jewelry for the bride, similar to an engagement ring, but anything with value. “Sin,” meaning riches, and “Sod,” the act of holding on to something, is the dowry itself.
During a ceremony, the bride will receive this “Tong Mun” at her family’s own home. This ceremony is referred to in Thailand as “Phitee Mun,” in which accepting family members will attend. Once this occurs you will become an official couple. When you become a couple you will be called Koo Mun, meaning, “joined couple.”
Another part of the Thai tradition is an engagement ceremony. At the end of this ceremony each attendant will tie a string around the bride and the groom’s hand, further showing their acceptance and giving their blessings. This is called “Bai Sri Soon Kwan” which comes before the Koo Mun, the actual wedding. The Koo Mun will occur several weeks after the Bai Sri Son Kwan and also after the dowry is received, although unimportant toward the actual wedding registration. This is because, legally, dowry in Thailand is not mandatory; it is simply a common tradition amongst the Thai families. A law firm may be trusted in helping you process and translate your marriage registration and may be able to provide you with guidance with regards to the Thai dowry system.