Some weddings will be more formal than others, for instance a ‘hi-so’ (high society) wedding in Bangkok involving well-to-do families will be an occasion where people will dress to impress and a suit and tie may be required. At the other end of the scale, if you are attending a wedding at a rural village in Thailand or on a beach, wearing a suit is impractical and uncomfortable and the attire will probably be more informal. If you are unsure about the expected dress code don’t be afraid to ask the person who has issued the invitation. It’s important to be practical at Thai weddings especially if you are invited to attend the ceremonies in the morning. These ceremonies can go on for a few hours in hot and humid conditions and it’s best to wear something that is loose-fitting and lightweight but still smart. The ceremonies in the morning should be finished by midday and there will be a chance for refreshments and a change of clothes before attending the evening meal or reception.
What Not to Wear
As a general rule for guests attending a Thai wedding you should avoid t-shirts, vests, shorts or flip-flops (thongs). It is also considered unlucky to wear black at a wedding, so this means no black dresses or tops for women and no black shirts or ties for men, although it is OK to wear black shoes and black trousers or slacks.
What to Wear for Male Guests
To be on the safe side, a long sleeve shirt and a pair of plain trousers or slacks is a good choice. At an average wedding, most male guests won’t wear a tie, but if you want you can always take one with you and take it off it gets too hot (which it probably will). Thai men often wear a traditional silk round-neck shirt and these can be made to measure quite cheaply by most tailor shops anywhere in Thailand. The standard of dress by male guests may vary quite widely depending on age and status and how well they know the bride or groom. At the evening meal it isn’t that unusual to see some Thai men wearing jeans and trainers/sneakers. However, as a foreign visitor you are likely to be deemed an honoured guest and should make some effort to look smart especially if you are related to the bride or groom.
What to Wear for Female Guests
Women attending a Buddhist ceremony should dress modestly and try to avoid bare shoulders, ‘spaghetti’ tops and short skirts. This only applies to the Buddhist ceremony and not the evening meal or party where events are more relaxed. Avoid wearing a black dress or top because according to traditional Thai belief wearing black at a wedding can bring about bad luck for the newly-weds. Wherever the wedding event is held conditions are likely to be hot and humid so the best advice is to wear something loose fitting and not too restrictive.