Wedding In Thailand
Here is the story of our wedding in Thailand. It all started on Friday morning, when I was arriving to the south with my parents, my sister and a couple of my friends. My wife Um had already been there for 4 days to help out with the preparations. Already my wife, because we got married in Finland almost 3 months ago. We came there with an air conditioned mini buss and there were about 14 people inside the buss. My family and friends + some of Um’s relatives. On the way we stopped to the seven eleven many times, of course. And every time getting some more Singha, Chang and even Mekhong.
We arrived in Chumphon pretty early and there were some relatives already there. The wedding took place at Um’s mother’s farm and house. They had even bought some couches for the older farang to sit on. At first it was just greetings one way and the other. Then we started eating those so lovely southern Thai cooking. I had a lot to do there it seemed, so I was driving with the motor cycle all day long, with Um’s brother. We had to check my parents and friends to a hotel in a near by city. It wasn’t so far away. Just about 15 minutes driving. During the day I was driving to the city and back at least 5 times. Sometimes taking people from place to place and sometimes getting some things for the wedding party.
Also we went to try on our wedding clothes. Um’s dresses were really pretty and she found the ones she liked pretty easy. Dresses, because she was wearing one in the morning and at afternoon she went to change to another one. My suit was a different matter. We tried all the jackets on, that they had in the shop. None of them were fitting me, so they had to adjust one of them to fit me. Also there was a problem to find some shoes for me. Thai men don’t normally have 44 size feet I guess. Finally we got them all and were ready for the next days wedding party.
Later that evening Um’s mother and her husband took me with them to the city by car. Um’s uncle was driving this pick up truck to the city and on the way I learned that we were going to get the alcohol drinks for the party. We arrived to the city and went to this wholesale alcohol shop. The people there asked me to sit down and then we started the tasting. They had this big range of different whisky, rum and other kind of funny looking bottles behind the class. Then they started to bring those bottles to the table in front of me and opening them up. The idea was that I try those and tell them which one I liked. Well you guessed it. I found the one I liked and we ordered a bunch of those bottles in a box, whit a whole lot of beer of course. After that I was pretty drunk also. The heat, no time to eat and the strong booze did the trick.
Then we started off again to get some flowers and decorative items for the party. We went to a couple different shops and had the whole pick up truck full of flowers and this big flower gate. The gate they strapped on to the truck and on the way back to the house, I wasn’t sure if the gate, me or both were gonna fall out on the way. People in the city were giving me some funny nice smiles and many hellos on the way out.
Back at the house we unloaded the boxes of bottles and pretty soon the pig was arriving. There was this whole pig, which they carried on to the outside tables. It was already cut in big pieces and the head was looking pretty nasty. Also there were people building this big stage at the back yard, where the band was going to play the next day. A lot of big speakers of course and the karaoke started that evening already. After driving all day with the motor bike, I was starting to feel some pain in my arms and neck. And as I found out, I was getting a little red too because of the sun burns. Should have seen that one coming.
After a lot of eating and drinking we went to sleep and I and my wife were to wake up four o’clock in the morning. Off we went to the wedding dress shop and Um went to get her makeup done. I saw an opportunity and went to the hotel next door, to get some more sleep at my fiend’s room. After all it doesn’t take too long for me to get dressed.
I slept a couple hours more and then went downstairs to put my suit on. Um was there and was washing the makeup away, looking not that happy about things. There had been a katoey (ladyboy) doing the makeup and she used powder to make her face look really white and then put on way too much make up. Um said she almost started to cry after she saw the makeup and there was not much time anymore to change it. The ladyboy already left and now the girls working at the dress shop were helping Um to get the makeup off. Then she made the makeup herself and result was really good.
Arriving at Um’s mother’s house was around 9 in the morning. There was already many closest relatives and the ceremonies were about to start. I had a big bunch of people with me and we went about 1 kilometre away from the house. It was about 36 degrees, so I was happy we went with a car. But then the walking back to the house was amazingly hot with the suit on. Of course there was the band playing some strange music on the way and all the people were dancing as they were walking and carrying some things in their hands. Sometimes the music sounded like just yelling to the megaphone, but it was all so amusing at the same time. As we were walking there were some people pouring cold drinks for people and of course just beer and whisky. I already had a little encouraging drink before this all started.
When the walk was over and we arrived to the house, there were people waiting for us in the yard. I had to make my way inside the house and to do so, get thru many gates of people. There was always two people keeping this chain in the air and I had to pay my way thru the gate. I think there were about 4 or 5 of these gates and then I was in front of the house. Then this young girl was there to wash my feet, before I enter the house. I had to take out my shoes and socks and I got to enter the house after my feet were washed. Then they took me to the bedroom, where I saw 4 women hands sticking out under the sheet put in front of the bed. The idea was that I have to be able to pick my wife from those. I thought it was pretty easy. Then we were given a choice of 5 different foods to serve to each other. There was some kind of symbolic meaning behind this, depending what we choose for each other.
It was time for the ceremony with the monks. There was 6 monks sitting in the living room and we were to go there to sit with them. I know we got it pretty easy, because for us it only took like 30 to 40 minutes. Normally it’s much longer. There was this small altar on the floor and I did this wai (hand together in front of chest) thing, where you put your hands to the floor three times. I also placed a burning candle and an incense stick on to the altar. Then the monks started humming and talking in their own monk language. There was this thread going thru all of us in the ring, so that it was in the monk’s hands and on our neck. We also poured some water blessed by the monks to a small cup, in order to invite the relatives that are no longer with us to the party. In the end of the ceremony we offered food to the monks, by placing the plates in front of them together. After this we went outside and soon after the monks left. The oldest one of them being Um’s grand father, we said farewells and then continued on with the formal things.
We went back inside the house and then we sat down on the floor. Then close relatives took this branch, which they used to sprinkle that blessed water on our heads. After this was time to take out the sin sot (bride price) and give it to the parents. I am not gonna explain all the costs that well, but I can assure you the wedding was way cheaper than a European one is.
Outside there were these flowers places in front of small tables and chairs there for us to sit on. The table had a colourful pillow on it and we placed our hands together on it when we sat down. Then people came to pour the monk blessed water on our hands and tied white strings of thread on our wrists. Also putting some money under the thread, at the same time giving some advice or congratulating.
Then back to the city and Um went to change her makeup, hair and dress. So there was a good time for me to go with my fiends and family to the hotel room and get a couple drinks.
We were supposed to get back to the house about two in the afternoon. We were a little late, but this time there was at least a different person doing Um’s makeup and it turned out much better. At the house there were already a lot of people and actually I saw a big buss in the yard. That was a buss from Surat Thani, which had brought a whole lot of people to the party. Um was feeling pretty sick, which was possibly because of stress, not enough sleep and not having time to eat well. We were supposed to go to the flower gate together and welcome all the people to the party. Um however collapsed and they had to take her to the hospital. I really tried to go with them, but then realized and was told that everything will be okay and I have to stay with the guests.
I stayed at the gate for a long time and was greeting people, as they came. There was fortunately Um’s brother and father to help me and telling me what to do. I also went thru the tables and welcomed the people that had already come before. I actually had a really good time doing this, but still worrying about Um all the time. After about 2 hours she came back and was feeling much better and I was happy she got to come and enjoy her wedding party as well.
The evening and night was an awesome eating and drinking event. There was some people talking on the stage, but mostly it was used by the band and the dancer girls. Later in the night some Thai relatives got me and my cousin to go up there on the stage and sing some karaoke. The guests had a good laugh and we actually enjoyed embarrassing ourselves. Singing, dancing and a lot of drinking and it was time to get back to the hotel for the wedding night. My cousin didn’t want to come with the rest of us. He just said he wants to stay here drinking with these people. I just told Um’s brother to look after him.
Wedding in Thailand was a really fun and lovely experience. I can easily say it’s all worth it. I couldn’t have had a better time. We have been married now about 6 months and still going strong. Together we have been already two and half years. If you have a chance to have a Thai wedding party, do it. It will probably be one of those most memorable events in your life.
Yep, Thai style weddings are fun.