Weddings in Bangkok usually last all day. However, if you have received a wedding invitation, you are usually only expected to turn up for the wedding reception in the evening. I have already shown you pictures of the other two major ceremonies that took place earlier in the day. These were the Making Merit and Monk’s Blessing Ceremony and the Wedding Procession of the Sin Sod. Both of these usually take place at the bride’s family home. Usually only family and close friends attend these ceremonies. Then, in the evening, everyone is invited to a big meal at a local restaurant or hall.
For the evening session I dressed up a bit more smartly. During the day I wore a polo shirt but I changed to a traditional silk shirt in the evening. When you arrive, you will see a reception table near the entrance. Usually some beautiful young ladies are on duty here. They will ask you to sign a book where you can write some good wishes. They will then give you a small wedding souvenir. Usually nothing exciting but don’t refuse it. In Thailand, you don’t normally bring a present for the bride and groom. However, you can give some money. You put this in the same envelope that you received your invitation. This already has your name on it. On the reception table there is a box to place the envelope. You should put in at least 500 baht or more if you know them well. The money helps to pay for the wedding and also the meal you are about to eat. Before you go into the hall, you can have your picture taken with the bride and groom.
I was at the wedding reception to take pictures of people as they arrived. Quite a few people arrived late so we were stuck outside for nearly two hours. I thought I would then be able to get a bite to eat. But then the emcee invited the couple onto the stage with the parents for the speeches. Two senior guests were asked to give some words of wisdom and then make a toast for the couple. Then the emcee teased them by saying that they should kiss each other in front of everyone. But really they only did the traditional Thai “sniff kiss”. If it is your wedding day, make sure you don’t do anything x-rated on the stage!
As soon as the toast and speeches had finished it was time to have their pictures taken at every table. Unluckily for me, this wasn’t a small reception. I counted at least 40 Chinese-style dining tables. If we were lucky, people moved so that we could take pictures of everyone in one go. But many tables we had to take two pictures. It was nearly 9 p.m. by the time I had taken the last picture at the last table. I had been there since 5.30 p.m. and still hadn’t eaten. By this time, most of the food had gone and people were already starting to go home. So, I never did get a chance to eat any of the delicious food. I am not sure about the wedding couple, but it had been a very long day for me and I was very tired. But, you would think that now they would be happy as they were finally married. However, that wasn’t quite true. Although they were married in the eyes of their peers and elders from the community, they weren’t yet officially married. Really, to get married in Thailand, all you need to do is go down to the local district office, pay a fee and they will sign your certificate. People usually do this the next day or sometimes a few weeks or even months later. I know some couples who never never did get around to getting a wedding certificate.
Related Blogs and Articles: Probably the most famous Thai Wedding on the Internet was of Thailand’s famous Internet teenager, Panrit “Gor” Daoruang. You can read all about his wedding and see the photos at thailandlife.com. About three years ago, I wrote a popular blog called How to Get Married Cheaply. It was a kind of mass wedding ceremony where a group of couples got married at the same time. Our Steve wrote about his own wedding in a blog called Getting Married……In Thailand and our resident Thai blogger, Oakmonster, writer about her Thai wedding in America in Temple of Love. Finally, if you are dating a Thai girl or boy, then you might find our Relationships Forum useful as it helps with cultural misunderstanding and procedures like meeting the family for the first time. You need to register to see this forum. It is quick and free to do so.