A Traditional Thai Wedding

It’s the one year anniversary of my college friends’ wedding and to celebrate, I am posting the photos of their elaborate wedding ceremony in Bangkok. I was honored to be invited to the family-only ceremony, and as one of the few Americans to make the long journey to Thailand for the occasion, I found myself included in the groom’s procession to present the bride’s family with gifts, carrying incense decked out in a gorgeous display of braided flowers and palm leaves.

In typical Bangkok style, the morning wedding is family only (although can still be a large affair with all the cousins and extended relations!), while the fancy evening reception is the showcase to the larger circle of friends and business acquaintances. The morning began early, before the humid heat of the day wilted our stiff collars and frizzed our hair, at the historic teak home of the late intellectual and prime minister M.R. Kukrit. We mingled in the gardens, the sage old house enclosing us intimately into the embrace of gurgling fountains and croaking frogs.

The wedding unfolded in a series of ceremonies, all carefully staged as the bride’s aunts and uncles murmured in conversation along the periphery. Before the wedding itself could start, the couple sought the blessing of the monks in a solemn ceremony of chanting, bowing, candle-lighting, and presentation of a meal to the monks.

Once the blessing was received and a light breakfast consumed, the groom’s procession jovially wound its way through a series of “gates” – the groom jumping through each “test” of the brides’ family as the grooms’ family extended symbolic gifts, often envelopes of money. Our groom Tim found himself speaking Thai, singing Mozart arias, and enduring the jokes of the women until he finally won the hand of his bride Chip.

The entire celebration was beautiful and placed much emphasis on the role and blessing of the family elders. To have been included in such a special family event, I am grateful and honored.

Chip and Tim, thank you and blessings on your anniversary!

To view the photo slide show, click on the link below:

Chip and Tim’s Bangkok Wedding


About chronictraveler

Chronic Traveler starts as a dream, one that I thought I had lost, but that has slowly changed into a mission to realize and live that dream every day. In December 2007 I became seriously ill and the doctors did not know what was causing my illness. I had to stop teaching as my life tumbled into a never-ending nightmare of doctors, hospitals and tests. Finally, in May 2008 I was diagnosed with a chronic condition - fibromyalgia. I was only 26 years old at the time. I have had to give up teaching, and now work part-time at a performing arts center as I learn how to manage my condition and improve my quality of life. What helped me through the months of uncertainty and sickness, and continues to inspire me, was a new focus on what truly mattered to me: family, friends, gardening, the arts, and especially travel. I have always fed my soul by traveling, ever since I first stepped off the plane at age 16 in Kathmandu, Nepal to help with an orphanage's building project. Meeting new people and experiencing how they live and how they view the world infuses my life with a richness I was so afraid I would lose when the doctor first said, "You have fibromyalgia". This blog is my story, as I begin to forge a new path. I am embracing my life as it is, with the fibromyalgia pain and fatigue, and learning to do what I love regardless. It may mean I have to go slower and take more naps or breaks! But I am determined to learn how to travel and experience the world, and hopefully what I learn will help others like me who believe their medical condition stands in the way of their travel dreams.
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