The wedding day, who doesn't remember that day? I know I do.
As a foreigner in Thailand, to get married is a little bit more complicated compare to getting married back home. More paperwork for a starter, and sometimes you even need two wedding parties. Which can be more expensive than a wedding back in "the west". I know many who chose the two party way to do it, and that was something they regretted later on. Little did they know how many people the party back home included.
Ok, first, the paperwork needs to be in order. This is more or less the same as back home, except that if you are already in Thailand as a foreigner, you need to correspond with someone back home in order to get hold of your own marriage license and other papers you might need. And when you have organized all your paperwork, you need to get them translated, so they can be used in Thailand.
Some people arrange all this themselves by finding the right offices and authorized translators, and so on. And some, like me (seafarer not always home) used a lawyer to do this, so I didn't have think about too much. A bit more expensive solution, but less headache.
Then you fiance' needs to get her paperwork collected as well, and this should be more simple, but not always. Thais are not always as paper-organized as one might think. They normally keep some papers (ID card, special book) with them. However, other necessary papers need to be tracked down, or renewed, which means travel home to find them, and/or home to your Amphur to get new papers.
When all the paperwork are in order, it is time to book an appointment at wherever you will get married (city hall, or other office). We chose an Amphur office in Bangkok. We wanted to do it swiftly, since I had to return to the ship in a couple of weeks. So an appointment was booked, by help of our local lawyer. It was mid-week, and the appointment was in the morning, forenoon. Which meant a painful taxi ride in the Bangkok morning rush, which took about 2 hours.
At arrival, you enter an office landscape which seems a bit chaotic, but you realize soon they have some sort of control. Just another system you might be used to. We let the lawyer do all the talking, so we are being ushered here and there, and some questions related to the paperwork are answered, with the lawyer translating for me. Then we sit down in front of a desk while a person starts looking through the paperwork, and begins hammering on a computer. We are soon to become husband and wife. And then we are told that unfortunately the computer system has crashed. In fact the entire server crashed.
Oh well, nothing else we really can do here but leave and return another time. We just have to get a taxi and get home, and I need to control my temper. I am extremely impatient as a person, so this is not exactly how my wedding day should be. The lawyer gets us a taxi and he promise to give us a call another day when the system is up and running again. We head home to Chatujak. Luckily not so much traffic jam since it is in the middle of the day. Still, I am annoyed. Oh so annoyed.
We have not been home for more than an hour or so, and the telephone rings. It is the lawyer again, who tells us the system is up and running and he has talked to that office. We are good to go, if we can manage to get back to that office before it closes for the day. I look at my fiance, let's do it I say! Let's get this over with. My mind has already gone over to action mode. Romantics are out the window long time ago, only one thing matters now. So we get a taxi, and off we go (drive) in to the afternoon rush. 2 more hours with a painful taxi ride, with a driver who also is getting impatient. I feel for my fiance having to endure this ride with me and my stress, and a increasingly moaning taxi driver.
I keep looking at my watch, all the time. I hate being late. Absolutely hate it. Approximately 20-25 minutes before we are there, the taxi driver had enough of this slow moving traffic and he tells my wife in Thai, he wants us to get out. He needs to get himself many short trips now, for sake of the meter. My dear future wife tells me this, and she knows the reaction. I explode! Tell this F..ing driver that if he as much as mention this one more time, I will call Ae, whom is a very dear friend of mine and happens to be a Policeman as well. And tell the driver that I will pay Ae a lot of money just to make the driver's day miserable! I have no idea what my future wife actually told the driver, but he shut up and we kept creeping through the traffic.
Finally there, and my mood changes immediately. It always does. And I give the taxi driver a huge tip, which bring out his big smile. He might still hate my guts but he looks happy. Good enough for me. The lawyer is waiting for us outside the office, and we are hurried inside. I look at the watch and I see we only have about 15 minutes until they close, and there are other couples getting married also. Luckily only one (weird looking) couple is before us, so we sit next to them in front of the counter. The groom to be is approximately 80-85 years old, only skin and bones, with lever spots all over, dressed in a poorly fitted hospital pajamas, wearing flip flops. His wife to be, prox 30 my wife guess. Their lawyer is an American gentleman wearing a Hawaii shirt, shorts and sandals. Classy!
Anyway, the paperwork, computer work, signing of paperwork, printing of originals which is signed, happens fairly quickly. And there we are as a married couple, just a few minutes to spare, before they close the office. Good stuff, let's get home darling. Taxi again, still rush hours, but now I am not stressed at all, and not impatient. Because I know we will be home in good time for ordering a pizza delivered to the apartment, just in time to switch on the tv, so I can watch Premier League football from England.
Happily married ever since.