The Day Will Come When You’ll Finally Have Your Beautiful Thai Wedding.
You’ll march down the aisle, the priest will say a couple words, you’ll kiss and the marriage will be done. You and your Thai bride will ride blissfully into the sunset.
Oops. Rewind. Your Thai wedding day with your Thai bride may go something like that if you’re married in a Western country. However, most Thai/Westerner marriages take place in Thailand. You’ll need to be prepared for a different, Buddhist style, type of Thai wedding. So what is a Thai wedding like?
A Thai Wedding Is Different!
I won’t try to give you an-depth discussion of every detail in a Thai wedding. Instead, I’ll give you an overview of the days events so you’ll know what to expect. Different regions of Thailand have their own customs but over-all the day is pretty similar. Since most Thai/Westerner marriages happen between Isaan Girls and Western men I’ll focus on the traditions from that region of Thailand.
Your Thai wedding will be in two parts. You’ll have your Thai wedding ceremony in the morning and you’ll have a Thai wedding reception in the evening. Both are an important part of the day. For this blog I’ll focus on what happens at your Thai wedding in the morning session.
Would You Like To Sleep In At Your Thai Wedding?
Unfortunately for Westerners who love to sleep in, a Thai wedding begins early in the morning. A Thai wedding usually take place at her parents home in their village. You and your Thai bride will dress in beautiful traditional Thai outfits you’ve rented from a Thai wedding store.
You may be disappointed if you expect everyone else to dress in formal attire. Guests will attend in anything from traditional formal outfits to match your theme to jeans and work-shirts. Don’t be surprised if family members as close as your new brother-in-law or father-in-law arrive in casual dress. It’s the Thai way and no one bats an eye at it.
Take A Walk At Your Thai Wedding
The Thai wedding procession starts as early as 7am or even before that. You’ll be up the street from your new in-laws home in her village. Almost all the guests and people of the village will walk with you in a processional to the village home of your Thai bride. Lot’s of pictures will be snapped and lots of smiles will be passed all around.
Trapped By A Gold Chain?
As you arrive at her home you’ll come across two people holding a gold chain across your path. You’ll be asked a question and everyone will eagerly wait for your response. There may be some laughter, more smiles and you’ll have to pull an envelope of money out of your pocket and pay to proceed. The amounts are usually token.
When they’re satisfied with your answer, and money payment, they’ll drop the chain on one end and you’ll be free to proceed. The chain ceremony can be repeated multiple times as you approach the location for your ceremony so you’ll need a pocket full of enveloped money.
Will You Have To Sit On The Floor During Your Thai Wedding?
You’ll finally make to the living room for your ceremony. Unless you’ve made other arrangements you’ll sit on the floor next to your Thai bride. Most guests watching will also sit on the floor. This is so their heads are lower than the people of honor at the ceremony, the parents and grandparents, who will be seated in chairs.
Your dowry will be prominently displayed amongst all the flower arrangements. It’s custom to show off the dowry. For the guests it’s exciting to see and it will be one of the main topics of conversation.
The Ceremony Concludes Your Thai Wedding Or Does It?
You’ll then have a ceremony, usually conducted by a monk, and you can expect to wai to your new in-laws and grandparents. The wai is the prayer-like greeting Thais use. You’ll have to raise your hands close to your face and bow with your head. This is a deeper wai than usual because you’re showing respect to the honored people at the Thai wedding. There will be a final wai to each other and the official ceremony may conclude.
Is that it? Do the guests file out and go on their way? Can you relax? Sorry, not yet. There’s more to do in the morning portion of your wedding. Read about it in my next blog entry. The fun of your Thai wedding is just starting!