The Thai Bride Price, or Sin Sodt
This topic is done to death. Fewer subjects are more divisive, and for sure Thai themed websites are usually filled with complete rubbish about the Thai Bride Price, or Sin Sodt (which incidentally, is often erroneously described as a Dowry). This page however summarises reality...
Lets get to basics... If you want to get to the original tradition of the Sin Sodt (think village in the middle of nowhere a few hundred years ago, bare chested women with shaven heads) it was given as evidence of your ability to start/finance a family and to be returned to the guy on the arrival of his first child, thus making the money available for the raising of that child.
The notion of monies being given by the groom and kept as a 'fee' for the 'sale' of the daughter is a Chinese import and has led to a strange confusion and dilution of the original tradition. Strangely, you're more likely to see the money returned to you by the family of a rich girl as it is simply for show and face saving/gaining. If the money is not returned, other valuable assets will be gained by the groom, such as land, property, a share in the family business etc.
Poorer rural Thai men will rarely, if ever, pay more than 40 or 50 thousand Baht (usually less). Foreigners paying hundreds of thousands of Baht for a prostitute or bar girl from Pattaya have heads full of cheese and biscuits. Further, it would be seen as rather odd if the groom paid anything at all for a divorcee, a woman that already has children fathered by another man, or is known to have had pre-marital coitus with many men (i.e. the town bike).
Unfortunately, there are more than a few love sick foreigners willing to hand over their savings because they think they need to in order to impress everyone, and make their Thai darling have big face... and more than a few 'tee raks' and their families willing to take advantage of that. In reality however, the 'free money' Sin Sodt simply does not exist.
If you are the one that has to pay for the wedding party in full, you should expect to receive ALL cash gifts from family and friends at the wedding. If it's a hi-so wedding, you might even profit from it.
If you have help in paying for the wedding, in part or in full, do not expect to receive the cash gifts.
There are many threads on our forum that discuss this in depth, and you can use the search feature to find them...
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