This weekend was the first time I was invited to a Thai wedding, so I was very excited about it. I had to ask many questions about things that are very natural to Thai people. What do I wear to a Thai wedding? What can’t I wear to a Thai wedding? Do you have to sit on the floor during the Thai wedding ceremony? (The answer to that is ‘sometimes’) How much money are you supposed to give as wedding gift? And so on… There were so many things I was worried about.
This wedding was extra special as the groom was a Christian foreigner they had a Christian ceremony in the morning. Even my Thai cousin had never been to a Christian ceremony. The Christian ceremony took place at the meeting hall of the Christian Manorom Hospital in Chianat.
Upper left: flower girls, right: church choir, lower left: bridesmaids, right: the bride and her father.
There were a lot of similarities with Christian weddings I’ve attended in Belgium. The bride had flower girls and bridesmaids. The father of the bride walked his daughter to the groom. There was a best man and a maid of honor. They exchanged vows and rings and the bride threw her bouquet in a group of single ladies.
There were also a lot of things that were very different from what I’ve seen before. A huge difference was that it wasn’t inside a church. The bride and the groom did not kiss after pronounced husband and wife. A lot of people were calling on their phone and talking during the ceremony. And what struck me the most was how many people were talking pictures very close to the bride and groom during the ceremony, which apparently is normal, but I stayed in my seat.
A lot of photographers surrounding the couple during the ceremony.
After the Christian wedding there was a buffet which contained rice, a few hot dishes, thai dessert and sweetened water. After the lunch everybody went hom to return later in the evening for the dinner.
In the afternoon was the Thai traditional ceremony. The bride invited my husband and me to join the traditional buddhist wedding too, which normally only is to be attended by family and close friends, but she was so kind to include us. Normally monks will give their blessing during this part of the wedding, but this couple had a Christian wedding in the morning.
My cousin , my husband, me and a few other thai family members of the bride were stand-ins for the groom’s family/friends. School children (the bride is an English teacher in Uthai Thani) played music while we carried the gifts to the brides family such as fruit, sweets and flowers. After we placed it in front of the brides family we were seated again.
Left : presents presented to the bride’s family. Right : the groom declaring his love to the bride.
The bride was hiding in the room next to us and the groom had to pretend to look for her by calling her name and asking where she was and asking her if he could enter the room. When he finally got tho enter the room he had to tell her how much he loves her. When she was satisfied with what he had to say she came out of the room and he had to tell her in front of everybody how much he loves her. It felt a little like watching a stage play to me (an interesting one though).
The next part was the donation of the brides price (in Thai : สินสอด , pronounced ‘sin sod’). I didn’t knew that was still done. I was a little shocked to see that, but my eastern mind looks at it the wrong way.
After donating the brides price to the bride’s parents and the gold to his bride, the newlyweds received donations from the families and gave a small gift in return (every newlywed couple will choose what to give everybody).
That was the end of the thai traditional marriage. We went home again to return in the evening for dinner.
The evening dinner began at 6pm. We handed our envelope which contained money as wedding gift to the people who were collecting them at the door and were handed a small gift as well. The newlywed couple was standing in front of a picture screen and was taking pictures with all the guests.
After our picture was taken we entered the dining room. I think there were more than 500 people. Dinner was placed on the tables and people were bringing drinks to the tables.The most strange thing to me was they didn’t serve and beer. I’ve never been to a wedding where there was no beer. It was very new and odd to me.
In the dining room there was a stage. There was a small but cute performance of kids playing violin and singing the ‘cups song’. They showed some heartwarming pictures of the both of them together since they were a couple until now and from the both of them as kids. After that touching moment the stage was used to present the newlyweds. They thanked everyone for being there.
8:30pm, I still can’t believe it myself.
I sat at the front row facing the stage. When I turned around I noticed half of the people were gone. At about 8:30 pm we were almost the only ones left. I couldn’t believe it. I was told that this was normal, but still it is hard to believe for me. We took one last picture with bride and groom and thanked them for inviting us. It was fun, different new and interesting.
Thank you Grace and Szabi for inviting us. I wish you a long and happy life together.