Yes you read that right “Weddings” our weddings to be precise.
Ok so let me give you some basic information. We wanted and had a Buddhist wedding to keep with family tradition. Problem! Buddhist weddings do not register weddings nor give a wedding certificate. For Thais not a problem, but to keep international law and immigration happy, we had to have a government office wedding too.
The government office wedding was so unlike a wedding. After all the paperwork for the British embassy, then translation and legalisation. this took its time. but then the translators said they were almost finished. We then got a phone call from them to say come quickly as we were getting married there and then.
We got to the office where it was more like interrogation more than anything else. this was not helped by the translators making a complete “alls up”, sure there is a missing letter there. anyway after about 30 minutes we were given a certificate and basically told to sod off as we were married. No do you or i now pronounce you, none of that at all. Although by international law this is our wedding date, we do not consider that as our wedding.
The Buddhist wedding is the one we consider our official wedding date and this took place 4 days after the government office thing. It is very traditional and ceremonial. OK so i am still to this day lost for all the different meanings of the things, but can i just say that it felt right to do it and i tried my best to do everything right.
One of the things is about half way through and the ceremony lasts at least a couple hours, ours nearly 4 hours starting at 6.30am. so about half way we need to give food to the monks. We had to give a main meal and desert to them. i can just give and they will take it, but for women they must place onto an orange cloth that each monk has. this is to avoid direct contact between women and monks.
Until the monks have gone no one else is allowed to eat. Actually with all that went on in the day me and the wife had next to nothing to eat all day. think i had 4 spoons of fried rice and that was it. Lets be honest a person of my size was not exactly going to starve to death. haha.
After the Monks left then stage 2 of the wedding begins. This is a little more relaxed.
During this time the payment, that is previously agreed between the parents of the woman and the groom is paid. this is called Sin Sod, basically translates as mothers milk. dependant on her importance within the family depends on how much is paid. In modern times most of this is given back to the bride and groom as a wedding gift.
The Payment is laid out for all to see and then when it has been by all then it is wrapped up and the mother of the bride then makes out to run away with the money.
After that and before everyone gets to eat, comes the joining of the man and woman. no you dirty minded lot i dont mean like that.
the joining is the 2 rings of string with an adjoining string. Then after that starting with family, blessed water is poured over the hands ending up on the flowers below. this is to cleanse the past and bless the couple. words along the lines of wishing a long and happy married life.
After this we had to go and greet all of the wedding guests. always a strange time in Thailand. this is because you invite some people and it is highly unlikely you will get a reply, but then others will just turn up, but you cant say no you were not invited. the more that show up means the more popular you are. We invited about 70 and nearly 130 showed up.
Some traditions dont change no matter what the faith. for the Buddhist wedding the bouquet is only for the throwing of. sort of a waste but who am i to say.
The day was to say the least hot 38 degrees C or 100.4 degrees F and it all started at 3.30am when we had to go and do make up and get dressed and stuff.
It was a very special day for sure and very soon it will be the 8 year anniversaries