Thailand is by no means any exception. In this article I hope to shed a little light on how a Thai wedding actually goes down. Please bear in mind that these pictures are from my own wedding and we are not wearing the traditional dress. We also held our wedding in a hotel, as opposed to the family home.
However, where possible, I have used pictures that support each traditional aspect. Even if it were not an arranged marriage, it was very important the parents of the bride and groom be consulted. Westerners would call this a dowry. Choosing the Wedding Date Thais believe that there are favourable dates and times for planning significant and important events.
A special and important monk with knowledge of astrology is consulted to help decide what date would be best for the union in order to be blessed and the marriage to be strong. Most often, one invitation will suffice. Traditionally, the invitation would be hand delivered by a member of the adjoining families.
The monks will chant, as well as offer life lessons, and in return the family will feed them before sending them on their way. This ceremony may be treated as a separate event entirely. It could happen days before the actual wedding. If the merit ceremony happens on a different day than the wedding, the couple will still likely wake early to meet a monk for a quick blessing.
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The Thai Wedding Dress Though it has become common for modern couples to wear the typical western style white dress and suit, the Thai classic attire is still widely used.
The traditional bridal dress can vary a bit with about six different styles of outfit. The men will usually wear the Thai traditional pants but will sometimes switch out the traditional Thai top for a western style suit jacket and tie, though usually still made from silk.
Bridesmaids and Groomsmen As in wedding parties all over the world, the bride and groom will choose any number of Bridesmaids and Groomsmen that they like. However, it is rare to see a best man or matron of honour. Their duties will very depending on the needs of the couple. On their way, they would sing songs, play instruments, such as traditional Thai long drums, and basically have a traveling party.
The offerings they carry all have very specific meanings. For Thais, it is quite common nowadays for the engagement to take place on the same day as the wedding.
We had an informal engagement, not a traditional one. The procession was held in the hotel and we walked to the wedding hall. The lobby was fairly big so it felt quite authentic. The meanings of the items range from health and prosperity to fertility and long life. Additionally, the traveling guests will also carry various foods such as fruits and desserts.
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In modern times, the procession is likely to just start down the street and end at the wedding venue, which will be a house or, more frequently in modern times, a hotel. The Grooms Gated Approach When our groom finally makes it to his destination, he still has another challenge to face. The gates are commonly made from a necklace or belt made of gold. Some of these gates can be passed simply by a payout of money, whereas others will ask the groom to answer questions, or he may even be required to perform any number of what may be a somewhat humbling task such as, yell out a profession of his love or sing a song.
Children from the immediate family manned the gates. I gave an envelope with a small monetary gift inside to each so I could pass through. Retrieving the Bride After satisfying all his tasks, the groom may now enter to find his bride.
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