On the day after Christmas, my Thai teacher of the last four and a half years finally tied the knot. There’s no doubt she’s a patient person – continuing to tutor me after all these years is all the evidence of patience you would ever need – and her patience finally paid off as she married a handsome, decent, and loving man. Tawn and I were very honored to be invited to the ceremony and I thought I would share some of the photos with you.
Above, photos of Khru Kitiya (“Khru” means “teacher” in Thai) and her husband, Khun Por. It is common for Thai couples to go for professional wedding portraits weeks or months in advance of their wedding. These portraits are often elaborately staged in specialized studios, many of which are located in our neighborhood. The photos are then displayed at the wedding reception for guests to enjoy.
The wedding ceremonies were held at a facility on the north side of the city that is built in a traditional Thai style. This main building is part of a rooftop reception area with open-air pavilions on either side of the deck. Because it was a very bright day, although pleasantly breezy, most guests were hiding in the shade. Notice all the shoes of the guests who are inside the main building.
The day consisted of three distinct events, of which we took part in the second two. The first began at 7:30, when the monks arrived to conduct a traditional Buddhist ceremony, complete with chanting and the splashing of holy water. The families of the couple then feed the monks in order to make merit for the newlyweds.
The second event was the Rot Nam (“water pouring”) ceremony. Family members and friends bless the groom and bride by pouring a small amount of water on their hands, which are held in a prayer-like position, while wishing them happiness in their marriage. You will notice that both the groom and bride are in more traditional outfits, symbolically joined by a string, and have additional blessing marks on their foreheads.
The third event was a Chinese style luncheon banquet, held downstairs from the pavilions. There were probably 200 guests and we enjoyed dish after dish of tasty food while listening to speeches by Phuu Yai (“big people”, or guests of honor) and teasing by the two masters of ceremonies.
One special treat after the speeches was that Khun Por and Khru Kitiya performed a duet for the guests. Singing in front of a crowd is always a little scary but doing that on your wedding day just raises the stakes!
After the cake was cut, Khru Kitiya did something unconventional for a Thai wedding: she threw her bouquet to the crowd of unmarried women. This is something borrowed from American style weddings and I’ve never seen it at a Thai wedding before. Unfortunately, her aim was a bit wide and the bouquet ended up in the hands of a young lady, recently married and expecting her first child!
It was a very fun celebration and we were glad to have been invited to be a part of it. I hope Khun Por and Khru Kitiya have a long and happy life together!