I was extremely fortunate and privileged enough to travel to Thailand recently for a traditional Thai Wedding ceremony!
There are many elements to a Thai wedding that are different from my usual Western style wedding, making it all the more exciting and new to photograph; to help me understand how the day progressed and ensure I was in the right place at the right time, I made sure I had a full brief of what to expect from the bride and her brother, who also helped with a lot of the translating. On the actual wedding day my understanding was further helped by some local Thai photographers; and even though our spoken languages were a barrier, the language of photography ensured that we worked alongside each other smoothly as if we had known each other for years! However just like all weddings things change; and with the added language difficulties, it certainly kept me on my toes!
There was the Khan Maak, where the groom and his family formed a procession and walked a short distance in the village to the Brides house, bringing gifts and other items that make up the dowry. This lead up to the Doors/Gate Ceremony, which is where the groom must prove he is worthy to look after his bride financially; it sounds odd from a western perspective, but it’s not as bad as it sounds; and it was all done in good spirits and a lot of fun! Essentially to get past each ‘gate’ (decorative cord/chains held up at intervals) the groom had ‘pay’ his way by handing over an envelope of money!
Eventually the Groom reached the house where he was able to pick up his bride from within the house! Around this time the dowry and gifts were also presented to the bride’s family.
Another part of the ceremony consisted of the couple being joined with special looped thread around each of their heads and a connecting thread joining them together called the Sai Monkhon. Then holy water is poured gently over the couples hands by the guests called ‘Rod Nam Sang’. I was told that a key shot was of the water being poured with the droplets of water falling off. This was followed by relatives, guests and well-wishers also tying pieces of string (Sai Sin); some with money attached, around the wrists of each of the couple for good luck.
I could go further with all the details and many other aspects of the day, however I don’t think I could give it justice on my blog; after all this is a photography blog not a travel guide! So with that in mind I’ve included a few ‘documentary’ details from the day; with more to come soon!
Seriously though I do have one more important thing to say…
… that is, I want to express my appreciation and love of the beautiful Thai culture, all the people I met; especially my hosts and their family.
They are without any doubt, some of the most welcoming, friendly and heart-warming people I’ve ever had the privilege to meet; and to be part of this wonderful day was one of the most memorable wedding experiences I’ve ever had the pleasure of photographing – Thank you!!