Thai Wedding Party

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Previously I talked about the beautiful and unique traditional Thai wedding many times. My younger sister just got married and it made me thinking that there are some interesting aspects in the wedding party in Thailand that are worth sharing.

When Thai couples tie the knot, there are two wedding events; traditional Thai ceremony and the wedding party. Some couples do both events in the same day – traditional Thai ceremony in the morning followed by the party in the afternoon or evening. Some couples prefer to do them on a separate day.

I would like to talk about few interesting activities in the wedding party that are different from the western wedding arrangements.

  1. The Guest list

Thai wedding party is usually large in attendance. I am talking about the number of invited guests between 300-1000 people, especially if it is the wedding of the first child in the family. Parents will invite almost every single person they know; family members, relatives, colleagues, neighbors and of course it includes the immediate family of those guests. The more people the parents and the couple know, the bigger the wedding.

This is due to the Thai custom about ‘face’ – especially if the family has important status in the society. If you don’t invite someone, they will feel insulted and you could lose the relationship with them. Often times the wedding of the children is like a reunion party for the parents.

  1. The Envelope

Thai people don’t usually give wedding gifts, instead we give cash. When the guest receives the wedding invitation, they will use the envelope of the invitation card to put the cash in. Then when they arrive at the wedding party’s reception, there will be money boxes for the guests to put the cash envelope in. You can also write wishes for the wedding couple in a guest-book prepared at the reception and receive a wedding souvenir.

In case the guest cannot attend the wedding but they have received the wedding invitation, they should also ask someone who is going to the party to put the money in the envelope for them.

When the party finish, the couple will count the money they received and also make a note of the amount of the money they receive from each guest, so when they are invited to the guest’s wedding or the wedding of the guest’s child, they should put more money in the envelope.

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  1. Thai Bridesmaids

Thai people have adopted the western culture of having bridesmaids, but the Thai concept of bridesmaids is different. Usually the only duty for Thai bridesmaids is to wear the dress in the same style or color so it makes beautiful photos, and sometimes they help welcome the guests at the wedding reception. There is no such duty of the maid-of-honor in Thai custom.

My friends and I as bridesmaids.

My friends and I as bridesmaids.

  1. Wedding garlands

One unique element in Thai wedding party is the couple will receive a wedding garland from a guest who is appointed to be the guest of honour (ประธานในพิธี bprà-taan nai pí-tii )of the event. It is believed that the flower garlands will bring good fortune to the married life.

Usually, the guest of honour is the person who is well respected by the couple’s families. The person could be the boss of either the bride or the groom, a politician or someone who has an important position in the society who is a friend of the family, or one of the relatives. Generally, only one person is enough. Sometimes there could be two guests of honour, one from each side.

The bride and the groom are wearing the flower garlands.

  1. Lighting the candles

Before cutting the cake, the wedding couple will light up three auspicious candles (เทียนมงคล tian mong-kon).

This custom is taken from the lighting of ‘a unity candle’ in the west, it is especially popular in the United States. In Thai wedding party, a parent of a bride and groom will light a candle each then the wedding couple will light the candle in the middle together. It is performed to symbolize the joining together of the two families, and their love for the bride and the groom, into one united family.

 Photo Credit: Jakawin Photography
 
  1. Serving the Cake

After cutting the cake, the couple will bring slices of the cake to ‘wai’ their parents, senior relatives and the guest of honour before sharing the rest of the cake to other guests.

Photo Credit : Narakorn Photography

 

Wedding Procedures: 

The wedding party usually follows the same steps:

  1. The dinner party starts around 6 pm; the bride and the groom with their parents will stand in front of the function room greeting and welcoming the guests, and taking photos with each group of guests.
  2. Guests go to the reception area and sign the guest-book wishing good luck for the couple, and put the money envelop in the box at the registration area.
  3. Around 7 pm, the dinner starts.
  4. Around 7.45 pm, the Master of Ceremonies (MC) starts the formal ceremony. Typically, the MC is one of the close friends of either the bride or groom or the parents.
I was once an MC at my friend's wedding. :)

I was once an MC at my friend’s wedding. 🙂

 

5. The MC invites both the bride and the groom to the stage. A Wedding Flower (มาลัยบ่าวสาว) is presented to them by the parent of the groom.

6. The MC calls for the guest of honour.

7. The guest of honour will give the speech to wish the wedding couple good luck and also add some tips for their marriage.

8. After the speech, the guest of honour will ask all the guests to stand up and toast the bride and groom. All the guests will end the toast by saying ไชโย CHAI-YO (Cheers) 3 times.

9. The guest of honour will step down from the stage, the the MC will interview the bride and groom on how they met, how they fell in love, and tell some other fun stories about their love. This part is optional. These days many couples choose to make a mini movie about their love stories made by a professional team to show in the party.

10. Next, the bride and groom will light the auspicious candles, then cut the wedding cake and serve the parents, senior relatives and the guest of honour.

11. The formal parts of the wedding is done. Now the MC will call single ladies in party to gather in front of the stage. The bride will toss the bouquet. The lucky girl might be invited to the stage for a short and fun interview and take a photo with the wedding couple.

Photo Credit: Jakawin Photography
 

12. After that, the bride and groom will walk around for pictures with all the guests.

13. The party finishes around 10-11 pm. (There is no wedding dance in Thai wedding party. Some weddings might held an after-party event after the senior guests have left and only young people stay.)

 And then they lived happily ever after… 🙂

 

 Useful Wedding Vocabulary:

  1. แต่งงาน dtàeng-ngaan = to get married
  2. สมรส sŏm-rót = to get married (formal term)
  3. งานแต่งงาน ngaan dtàeng-ngaan = wedding
  4. งานมงคลสมรส ngaan mong-kon sŏm-rót = wedding (formal term)
  5. เจ้าบ่าว jâo-bàao = groom
  6. เจ้าสาว jâo-săao = bride
  7. แหวน wăen = ring
  8. เพชร pét = diamond
  9. หมั้น mân = to engage
  10. คู่หมั้น kûu-mân = fiance
  11. แขก kàek = guest
  12. ความรัก kwaam-rák = love
  13. รัก rák = to love

Have you ever attended a Thai wedding party? Please share your experience with us. 🙂

 

 

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44 Responses to Thai Wedding Party

  1. Ashley Peh 16/10/2016 at 11:46 #

    Are there any post-wedding rituals for thai weddings ?

    • Mod 06/12/2016 at 16:15 #

      Thank you for your question. We don’t have any post-wedding rituals in Thai culture.

  2. Ke 24/11/2015 at 17:48 #

    Hi Mod!
    I have a question: I am going to attend a Thai wedding as the mother of the groom who is not Thai. Am I also supposed to give an envelope with money to the couple? In that case – how much money would be suitable? Is there anything else I should thing about as the grooms mother?

    • Mod 26/11/2015 at 19:59 #

      Hi Ke, congratulations on your family’s wedding.

      Some parents give a gift or funds for the couple to start their lives during the ceremony. When my sister got married, my mom gave her and her husband a deed for a piece of land. Some parents don’t give anything but they help out with the wedding. There is no standard for the gift and the money. You could get them anything within your budget.

      As the groom’s mother, you cold help welcoming the guests and sit with the bride’s parents during the engagement ceremony. The couple might give you a gift during the ceremony as well. You don’t need to do anything much after that besides being in a lot of photos. 🙂

      Enjoy the wedding. 🙂

      • Ke 26/11/2015 at 21:18 #

        Thank you so much for the good whishes and for your helpful answer!

        • Mod 02/12/2015 at 10:21 #

          My pleasure. 🙂

  3. haeyoung 29/10/2015 at 08:42 #

    I have been staying bangkok 3 monthes. And it is lucky that I found your thai lesson videoes.
    Thank you for all your effort always.

    • Mod 01/11/2015 at 14:17 #

      Thank you for your kind comments. We are happy to hear that you found our videos useful in your Thai learning. Enjoy your stay in Bangkok. 🙂

  4. Paul 12/10/2015 at 10:13 #

    Again very interesting reading, both entertaining and informative about thai traditions. Best wishes to the happy couple!

    • Mod 14/10/2015 at 10:27 #

      Thank you for reading my post and your kind wishes. 🙂

      • bethani 15/10/2015 at 10:04 #

        congratulations and what and amazing post as well
        thank you for this amazing experience

        • Mod 17/10/2015 at 10:34 #

          Thank you. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed my post. 🙂

  5. George 09/10/2015 at 17:35 #

    Narak mak.

    • Mod 14/10/2015 at 11:57 #

      Kop kun ka 🙂

  6. inaya91 07/10/2015 at 11:58 #

    nice sharing kru mod 🙂

    • Mod 07/10/2015 at 22:41 #

      Kop kun ka ^_^

  7. Vaughan Morgan 07/10/2015 at 07:30 #

    PS I did attend a Thai wedding a few years back and also saw a video of one recently where the bride was ‘Looking out of her house to see where he finance was…”All very good fun and great theatre
    Chris (Vaughan)

  8. Vaughan Morgan 07/10/2015 at 07:28 #

    Hi Mod
    Another great article full of personal and Thai references, so very useful indeed!! Thank you! May I wish your sister a very happy and bounitiful life together with her husband. Will sister still be featuring in Mod’s video’s?
    All best regards
    Vaughan

    • Mod 07/10/2015 at 07:42 #

      Sawatdee ka Vaughan, thank you for your kind wishes. 🙂

      I am happy to hear that you found this post useful. My sister lives in my hometown in Southern Thailand while I am in Bangkok. When I visit my hometown and have opportunity to film some videos there, I will ask her to join if it is convenient. 🙂

    • Tes 07/10/2015 at 09:31 #

      Thank you Ms. Mod for this very informative article. I did went to a Thai wedding reception and it was so fabulous!

      You did fantastic in this article. Keep up the good work!

      • Mod 07/10/2015 at 22:41 #

        Thank you for your kind comments. I am happy to hear that you enjoyed the article. 🙂

  9. Bruce Templeman 07/10/2015 at 03:02 #

    The Isaan have a procession carrying the groom, preceded by his friends and a morlam band to pay the dowry before the wedding ceremony takes place. There is much merry making outside of the house where there is only room for immediate family and guests of honor. There are traditions too many during the ceremony to be listed ed here, but I hope that you will do a video on the differences between Thai and Isaan weddings.

    • Mod 07/10/2015 at 07:44 #

      Thank you for your interesting information.I have heard a little bit about Isan traditional wedding before but I have never been to one myself. In the future if I am invited to a wedding in Isan , I will film the ceremony. 🙂

  10. andrew 07/10/2015 at 00:38 #

    beautiful

    • Mod 07/10/2015 at 07:45 #

      Kop kun ka. 🙂

  11. PHILIP 06/10/2015 at 21:45 #

    Informative as ever – Khap khun khrap Mod!

    • Mod 07/10/2015 at 07:45 #

      Thank you for your kind comment. I am happy to hear that you enjoyed the article. 🙂

  12. Antoine 06/10/2015 at 17:52 #

    Congratulations to you !

    I wish you an Eternity of happiness, luck and true love

    The husband seems a very good and handsome guy and the bride is …GORGEOUS !

    • Mod 07/10/2015 at 07:45 #

      Thank you for your kind wishes. 🙂

  13. Johnnie 06/10/2015 at 17:48 #

    Congrats to your sister. The customs are almost similiarvto the chinese customs

    • Mod 07/10/2015 at 07:46 #

      Thank you. Chinese wedding is also interesting. 🙂

  14. K7 06/10/2015 at 17:45 #

    Thank you for the wedding tours and for the nice wedding photos, your sister and you are both like angels. My best wishes to the wedding couple and blessings to the whole family.

    • Mod 07/10/2015 at 07:47 #

      Thank you for your kind words. I am happy to hear that you enjoyed the article.:)

  15. Simon 06/10/2015 at 17:07 #

    I wonder how much the sin sod was.

  16. Pascal 06/10/2015 at 16:30 #

    I wish to your sister a long and happy life with is new husband, i knew her in old vidéo and loved her to help to teach us. Thank you Mod you’re Wonderful

    • Mod 07/10/2015 at 07:48 #

      Thank you for your kind wishes and your positive comments Pascal. 🙂

  17. Samuel 06/10/2015 at 08:00 #

    Congratulations to the couple, and an informative article. Any info on sin sod?

  18. Intin 05/10/2015 at 21:17 #

    Thank you. I will be attending my first Thai wedding of a friend next month and I want to know the customs and what to expect. 🙂

    • Mod 06/10/2015 at 15:24 #

      Thank you for you comment. I hope you find this post useful. 🙂

  19. Arvin Kenneth Cruz 05/10/2015 at 12:15 #

    We wish pure happiness for your sister’s married life na krub Teacher Mod. Looking forward for more tutorial videos and articles. 🙂

    • Mod 06/10/2015 at 15:25 #

      Thank you for your kind wishes. I have a new unedited video. It will be ready for your viewing soon. 🙂

  20. Rudolf Broennimann 05/10/2015 at 02:00 #

    Thankyou, for this very interesting article!

    • Mod 05/10/2015 at 10:22 #

      Thank you for your comment. I am happy to hear that you found it interesting. 🙂

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