Editor’s Note: This story has been updated on Dec. 19, 2016.
The engagement party of an Irishman and his Thai girlfriend made local headlines yesterday. The people of Surin province were wowed by the seven-figure dowry the farang promised to the family of his bride-to-be.
Richard McAllister, 64, met 44-year-old Nathapapas Jaratponkul on the internet. They were together for five years before deciding to tie the knot.
It was reported that McAllister worked in IT in London, and Nathapapas owns a mobile phone shop in Surin.
The cheery engagement ceremony was held at the couple’s new, shiny house in the province. It was a Thai traditional engagement party, with a lot of supersitious activities to bring prosperity their marriage. The couple and guests paraded around their house three times, holding foods that are meant to bring luck, the couple’s marriage bedding, and portraits of the late king and queen.
Following was the engagement ceremony, McAllister offered a diamond ring, gold, and some cash. While the value of the engagement money was not disclosed, TNews reported that the family of the bride-to-be will be honored with a seven-figure dowry at the couple’s wedding next year.
UPDATE: McAllister got in touch with Coconuts on Dec. 19 and denied promising a seven-figure dowry as his fiancée’s parents were quoted as saying in local media. He claimed that the money seen in his engagement ceremony photos was for display as a part of traditional Thai ceremony.
“No money was paid, promised or will be paid as a dowry. The story is just a fabrication to sell abroad,” McAllister said, referring to the report on Thai TV channels.
“This was a private occasion with friends and no more than that.”