Thai-up your Wedding Ceremony
Even when they marry on a beach in Thailand, many couples still opt for a classic Western-style wedding ceremony, but a growing number are seeking to infuse a few authentic Thai wedding traditions into their big day.
For some couples that make a trip to the Land of Smiles for their destination wedding, an exotic location and spicy cuisine is not enough to make the day unique. Although plenty of brides and grooms stick to a traditional Western wedding ceremony, others are choosing to inject a few more Thai rituals into the proceedings by following some of the rites used in a Buddhist wedding ceremony.
A traditional Thai Buddhist wedding service encompasses a range of unique traditions, and couples can choose as many or as few as they like to be incorporated into their destination wedding. What’s more, a luxurious private villa located on the shores of an idyllic Thai island serves as the perfect backdrop for a totally Thai wedding experience.
In Thailand, many special occasions and joyous events begin with a long drum procession. Such parades comprise both dancers and drummers, all of whom are clothed in a rainbow of traditional Thai costumes and therefore provide a vibrant and enchanting way to kick off the celebrations. The groom and wedding guests are free to join in as the procession makes its way to the bride’s room before she joins them to begin the official ceremony at the designated alter or shrine.
In a traditional Thai ceremony, an odd number of monks (usually three, five or seven) arrive early in the morning to visit the couple preparing to wed. The monks begin by chanting and saying prayers while a floating candle is placed in a bowl of water, which is later used to bless the newlyweds. It is good luck for the bride, groom and guests to offer food and gifts to the monks, who will bless the couple once they have finished their meal. After the senior monk has sanctified the union, the monks return to the temple and the festivities can begin.
Sealing the deal
The water pouring ritual in a Thai wedding ceremony takes place when the couple officially become husband and wife. The couple are seated at traditional water pouring tables, known as Dtang Rot Naam, and are connected by a ceremonial headdress made of string that symbolises their union. The bride and groom then position their hands, with the palms pressed together, over the water pouring table and a tray that catches the water. At this point, each of the elder guests present at the ceremony takes a turn to pour a trickle of water (traditionally form a conch shell) over the bride’s and groom’s hands in turn, to bless them.
Respecting the elders
In most Asian cultures, respect for elders is very important and in Thailand a traditional Thai wedding is integral to this belief with a ritual presentation of gifts to the parents of the bride and groom and their older family friends. Traditionally, the bride’s parents receive tokens of respect first, before the groom’s parents are presented with theirs. For foreigners that choose to observe this tradition at their wedding, it is customary to present traditional Thai gifts such as wood carvings or items made from colourful Thai silk.
Lighting up the sky
Perhaps one of the most popular Thai traditions that is observed towards the end of the day is the launching of sky lanterns to mark the occasion and bring good luck. Although this ritual is not strictly a wedding rite, it is nonetheless part of many Asian wedding ceremonies, as it symbolises the release of bad luck in the past. Each guest at a wedding can release their own lantern, adding to the hopes and dreams of the bride and groom. When everyone releases their lanterns together, it’s a stunning and spectacular sight that will long be remembered by the couple and their guests.
by Wayne Hue
"The Signature Weddings is a bespoke destination weddings service offering a wide range of options to couples. However, some of the products and services mentioned in the blog articles on this page may not be available as part of the Signature Weddings' service."