I Went to a Thai Wedding
A Thai Wedding
Any wedding in any culture, is a special moment shared between two people that come together to share heir love with one another and the dearest friends. It is a love that is shown and reflected in how they see one another. For this occasion is special not only for them, but the ones surrounding them. It is a joyous moment to witness and even more amazing to see it in another culture. A Thai wedding is vastly different than a western wedding. Some Thai weddings provide dances through their communities in the early morning. This is where the groom asks for money and blessings to give to the bride’s parents followed by an afternoon celebration and a rest in between. While, others may pay tribute by a simple ceremony and a glamorous reception that demonstrates their love. Being a foreigner in a new city, I was blessed enough to not only witness this event but, also be a part of it by being in the wedding as a bridesmaid. This was more than an honor to play a role in Tanawong Poongamcherend (Nickname Nut- Husband) and Jureeephon’s (Nickname: Prickthai- Bride) wedding.
The Week Before the Special Day
The week prior to the celebration, myself and four other foreigner teachers were asked to be bridesmaids and to make an appearance at the bride’s selected dress shop. This is where we chose an elegant gown of the bride’s picked color. This experience was quite unique, as we were able to pick a dress that suited our different body types, instead of the traditional western way of being forced to wear the same dress that the bride picked. When you get to pick a dress, you are able to try on many different styles to determine the one that you prefer, versus all of us wearing a dress that may or may not look ridiculous. This dress shop was a one stop shop because it also made all the alterations in a quick turnaround which, left us with no worries that our dresses were going to be held for weeks. Instead, this process only took a few hours.
Another huge difference between western and Thai weddings that I have found is that they rent the dresses versus purchasing them. This saves quite a bit of money and doesn’t leave you with a dress, shoes, and even earrings that you may never wear again. Though I loved my dress, as it suited me, I just don’t know if it would be realistic to own living abroad teaching. I can’t foresee myself wearing a gorgeous gown to a classroom.
The Day Off
On the day of the magical event, we were asked to show up at the hotel ready to be primped and beautified by the hired professionals to do our makeup and hair. This required us to reach our destination at about 2 p.m. This way it allowed enough time to prepare all of us. This honestly, left me nervous as, I didn’t know what to anticipate. On any ordinary day, I don’t wear a lot of makeup and for this moment, there was a stack piled on me that left me with a new appearance. Though, it was nice to be made up like a Thai foreign doll, it left me looking like a 1960s pin up girl. After we had our new appearances, the next step was rehearsal.
Rehearsal was very interesting. We had a Thai coordinator that directed us in Thai on how to walk down the aisle and throw the flowers for the lovely couple. Though this left us with many questions, our parts as bridesmaids in this event went off without a hitch. Our candles were lit in their honor and flowers were thrown with grace leaving an elegant walkway for Nut and Prickthai to make their way to the stage. This is where the real fun took place. As Nut and Prickthai set foot on stage, they were warmly welcomed and the wedding coordinator who was also the MC ensured an active event. As all the guests ate and drank the lavish meal provided, Prickthai prepared herself to throw her bouquet into a wild crowd of single women. All the women staged themselves in hopes of catching it so, they can say “I am next to be wed.” Apparently, this tradition is shared between westerners and Thais.
This lavish event lasted hours and left many smiles not only for the newlyweds but the crowd of 100 plus attendees. Anyone and everyone was there. This moment was left with multiple photos that were taken and unforgettable memories. Moreover, as a foreigner, embrace the cultural differences and always leave smiles because you never know when one day, you may be asked to be a part of something remarkable like being in a Thai wedding.