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: