“Wedding season” has begun in Thailand. My friend Yim recently got married here in Buengkan and she invited me to the wedding. I have been to a few ceremonies but I have never actually been a Thai wedding and I was pretty excited to see what it was all about! Now I’m not sure it if was the language barrier, poor listening skills, misunderstanding or a combination of both-but I was under the impression I was going to this wedding to simply watch and instead I ended up a bridesmaid.
Now Yim did tell me to wear a Thai style dress and the theme was gold. I thought that everyone wore fancy dresses and so I didn’t think anything of it. So I went and I got the dress. Then the night before Yim was drilling me about who I was at the wedding: “Who’s friend are you?” “….yours…” “and what am I?” “…the bride.” So I was a friend of the bride. I just didn’t know that ‘friend of the bride’ was synonymous with ‘bridesmaid’. Since she was making me answer in Thai I just thought she was making me practice my Thai language skills! In retrospect it might have been quite clear that I was a going to be in this wedding and the fault may lie with me for being so surprised come wedding day.
I woke up at 5am on a Sunday morning and hopped into a tuk tuk by 6:30 to meet Yim at her resort. I arrived, threw on my dress, and was directed by Yim to go outside with another bridesmaid and follow her lead. Fortunately I wasn’t required to do much, because with the language barrier I was essentially useless. We stood with a rope blocking the path to the bride and in order for the groom to be allowed to pass his family had to give us each some envelopes with money in it (kind of as a wedding favor..?). I didn’t understand that at first and almost let them through for free! Fortunately I was stopped and everyone got a good laugh out of it 😀 What to do with the envelopes once I actually got them took over half the day to figure out as well 😛 (write your friend’s names on them and give to them for good luck, apparently).
It was a long but lovely wedding. Yim was beautiful, and her and her now husband Kaow were all smiles together. A Thai wedding ceremony is definitely unlike what I am used to. The ceremony starts very early, mostly because the monks will come to bless the new couple and they must return to the temple to eat before 11am. After the monks leave the couple greets and accepts all the guests as they, I think, give their blessings to the newlyweds (as far as I could tell).
Thai weddings seem to be a lot more ceremonial than American weddings. I stood (mostly because I was too afraid my not so Thai sized ass was going to rip out of my rented dress if I sat down) and watched Yim and Kaow sit through many speeches and blessings. After all the ceremonies were finished everyone enjoyed a nice, catered lunch. Everyone, that is, except the bride and groom themselves. First they sang together, which was really cute and what I assume was similar to a first dance together, and then they had to do the rounds and say hello/thank you to all the guests.
I am so grateful to Yim for allowing me to be a part of her and Kaow’s special day! It was a truly unique experience, and I had a lot of fun meeting her friends and laughing over our height (and general size) difference. One girl was so tiny she literally looked like a mini me. I enjoyed every minute of it and I feel blessed to know Yim, she is one of the kindest people I know and I will really miss her now that she has moved to Bangkok!