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.
- 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.
- 2. Wedding Invitations and Wedding Gifts
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
The wedding party usually follows the same steps:
- 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.
- 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.
- Around 7 pm, the dinner starts.
- 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.
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.
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:
- แต่งงาน dtàeng-ngaan = to get married
- สมรส sŏm-rót = to get married (formal term)
- งานแต่งงาน ngaan dtàeng-ngaan = wedding
- งานมงคลสมรส ngaan mong-kon sŏm-rót = wedding (formal term)
- เจ้าบ่าว jâo-bàao = groom
- เจ้าสาว jâo-săao = bride
- แหวน wăen = ring
- เพชร pét = diamond
- หมั้น mân = to engage
- คู่หมั้น kûu-mân = fiance
- แขก kàek = guest
- ความรัก kwaam-rák = love
- รัก rák = to love
Have you ever attended a Thai wedding party? Please share your experience with us. 🙂
Can you help me out with some simple well wishes for a married couple, like:
* you look happy and in love
Grateful for any help, thanks so much.
Would like to know what is an appropriate amount to give for a Thai wedding dinner in 4 star skybar restaurant in Bangkok? Hope you can reply soon, because the wedding will be next week.
I am sorry I just saw your comment. I hope you enjoyed the wedding.
Would like to know what is an appropriate amount to give for a Thai wedding lunch at a 5 Stars hotel in Bangkok.
Hi Jo, I think 2,000 per person would be appropriate. Enjoy the wedding.
Hi we are hosting a Thai wedding event and I would love some help because we don’t really have all the Thai wedding traditions. And I would love a quick reply. Thank you!!!
Your article was very helpful! My fiance & I are getting married in Thailand and we are having a western wedding but would like to incorporate some some thai.
I have a question on how we speak to people as a couple. I.e. to say “Thank you” do we use khob khun ka or krup because it is coming from the both of us?
Congratulations on your wedding Jane. To answer your question, it depends who is the speaker, ครับ /kráp/ is for male speaker and ค่ะ/kâ/ is for female speaker. 🙂
This is a very informative and interesting article that helps to solve a lot of mysteries, thank you! I wonder if you could answer this question.. I have been invited to a Thai wedding with the religious ceremony early in the morning and a separate party late in the evening of the same day. Is it acceptable to attend just one part, and if so, which part should I attend? Would it offend to not attend both parties? Thanks in advance.
Hi Jane, apologies for the delay in my response. It is acceptable to attend only one event. You can choose to attend to either morning or evening party. I hope you enjoyed the event!
Ashley Peh says
Are there any post-wedding rituals for thai weddings ?
Thank you for your question. We don’t have any post-wedding rituals in Thai culture.
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?
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. 🙂
Thank you so much for the good whishes and for your helpful answer!
My pleasure. 🙂
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.
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. 🙂
Again very interesting reading, both entertaining and informative about thai traditions. Best wishes to the happy couple!
Thank you for reading my post and your kind wishes. 🙂
congratulations and what and amazing post as well
thank you for this amazing experience
Thank you. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed my post. 🙂
Kop kun ka 🙂
nice sharing kru mod 🙂
Kop kun ka ^_^
Vaughan Morgan says
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
Vaughan Morgan says
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
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. 🙂
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!
Thank you for your kind comments. I am happy to hear that you enjoyed the article. 🙂
Bruce Templeman says
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.
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. 🙂
Kop kun ka. 🙂
Informative as ever – Khap khun khrap Mod!
Thank you for your kind comment. I am happy to hear that you enjoyed the article. 🙂
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 !
Thank you for your kind wishes. 🙂
Congrats to your sister. The customs are almost similiarvto the chinese customs
Thank you. Chinese wedding is also interesting. 🙂
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.
Thank you for your kind words. I am happy to hear that you enjoyed the article.:)
I wonder how much the sin sod was.
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
Thank you for your kind wishes and your positive comments Pascal. 🙂
Congratulations to the couple, and an informative article. Any info on sin sod?
Thank you Samuel. Please find information about Sin Sod on the Post Thai Traditional Wedding Ceremony here:https://learnthaiwithmod.com/?p=367
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. 🙂
Thank you for you comment. I hope you find this post useful. 🙂
Arvin Kenneth Cruz says
We wish pure happiness for your sister’s married life na krub Teacher Mod. Looking forward for more tutorial videos and articles. 🙂
Thank you for your kind wishes. I have a new unedited video. It will be ready for your viewing soon. 🙂
Rudolf Broennimann says
Thankyou, for this very interesting article!
Thank you for your comment. I am happy to hear that you found it interesting. 🙂