Love and understanding between two people is arguably the most important combination for modern married life. But before holding a wedding, it is very important that you get to know your partner and their family well. There are many interesting aspects when it comes to a Thai traditional wedding. However, in modern Thai society, not all of these amazing traditions are maintained. A couple will make some alterations just to have their dream wedding. The good news is that the majority of Thai couples that want to get married always go for the full traditional wedding way. In this article, we will show you the many steps of a Thai wedding. If you are looking to marry a Thai or you are just into learning more about the different interesting cultures in the world, then today is definitely your lucky day. Here is how it gets done!
The Thai wedding proposal
In Thai society, after a couple has decided to get married, the groom’s parents will visit the bride’s family. This will only happen if the groom’s parents accept their son’s choice of bride. The groom’s parents will ask for the permission of the bride’s parents that their son may marry their daughter. After they have accepted then the parents of the couple will negotiate the ‘Sin Sod’, that is the dowry.
Choosing the Date
It is very important that the couple get married at an auspicious time and date. This will ensure that the couple have a very prosperous and successful marriage in the future.
A traditional Thai wedding invitation is hand delivered by a member of either the groom or the bride’s family. The wedding invite simply gives a time for when each of the important ceremonies of the wedding will start. The Buddhist ceremony always starts at 9.09. Nine is a lucky number in Thai tradition.
This is a very important ceremony. Nine monks are usually invited to bless the couple. This will ensure that the marriage is successful and prosperous. The nine monks usually chant and light a candle in a bowl of water. This creates lustral water that will be used in a water pouring ceremony later.
The Buddhist ceremony
This is a simple ceremony and it is done the night before the wedding. The couple will honour the bride’s ancestors. This is simply to ensure that the couple’s marriage is strong.
The wedding dressing
There are usually six different wedding dress designs in the Thai culture. The bride will choose one of them as the dress to wear for the wedding. The groom should wear traditional Thai clothing also.
On the Day
Khan Maak Procession (The Engagement Ceremony)
After the couple has decided to get married and both parents of the groom and the bride have agreed on the dowry, the groom has to go and claim his bride. This happens on the day of the wedding. The groom leads a group comprising of family members, friends and also well-wishers to the bride’s home. They are actually supposed to walk on foot to the bride’s home. The procession usually sings songs as well as play traditional Thai instruments such as the Thai long drums. They go baring gifts; each gift usually has as certain specific meaning. In addition they will carry gold coins and different types of food. Nowadays, the procession doesn’t usually walk long distances but will simply start at the house next to the bride’s house, or the hotel where the wedding is to be held. This is understandable in the modern era because there are better and more improved means of transport. In most Thai traditional weddings, the engagement usually takes place the same day as the wedding.
Groom’s Gated Approach
This is actually one of the most interesting parts of the wedding to witness. When the groom arrives at the bride’s home, the groom is not just allowed to go meet his bride. He is usually blocked by a few gates that are held by the bride’s family members or bridesmaids. A gold belt or a necklace is usually used to make the gate. The groom can pass some of the gates by paying some small amount of money but will have to answer some questions or do some humbling tasks like singing a song. This is just a way to make the groom wait and test his patience before he gets to see his bride on the day.
Retrieving the bride
After the groom has made it past all the gates to the bride’s house, the bride’s parents present the bride to him. The bride waits for the groom in a different room, separate from the guests. This is a very important part of the traditional Thai wedding.
Presenting the Sinsod (Dowry)
After the bride is handed over to the groom; the parents of the groom present the parents of the bride with the Sinsod. All the gifts and money are present on a tray. After the bride’s parents have accepted the Sinsod, then the gold and money is wrapped in a silk cloth and presented to the bride’s mother.
Sai Monkhon (Joining by thread)
This is a very heartfelt part of the wedding. The groom and the bride stand or sit next to one another. One family member with a successful marriage places traditional headpiece known as the Mong Kol on both the bride’s and groom’s head. The two head pieces are joined by a piece of cotton. This symbolizes the bond that will join the newly wedded couple or the rest of their life.
Water pouring ceremony
With the bride seated on the left side of the groom and both of them joined by the Sai Monkhon; the guests line up to have their final special moment with the couple. The most honoured couple in the wedding usually pours water on the joined hands of the couple using a shell collected from the sea. The water used here is the lustral water from the religious ceremony. The guests pouring the water wish the couple a good life.
Thai Wedding Reception
After the water pouring ceremony, the couple invite the guests to the reception. The reception involves sharing a meal and drinks on a big table as well as dancing. The reception is a great opportunity for people to mingle and get to know each other.
The Nuptial Bed (The Bridal Bed)
This is the last part of the Thai wedding ceremony. The newly wedded couple will find an old couple in the honeymoon suite, ready to welcome them. The old couple are a good example and representative of a successful marriage. The bed will have some bags and rice placed on it. These are symbols of fertility and prosperity to the newly-weds. The couple will spend the next three days with those items on the bed.
If you are looking to marry in Thailand, now you know what to expect!