Thai wedding festivities last longer - a continuation
The Biker's Diary
Monday, December 10, 2012 2:28 AM
The second part of the wedding we recently attended in Thailand was not the same day as the first part, as would have been the tradition. However, as it was explained to me when we were there in March and attended one half of each of two weddings, the floods the previous year caused many weddings to be postponed. As a result, everyone was now playing "catch-up" and the hotels were so busy it was difficult to book an evening venue on the same auspicious date as the one set for the morning ceremony.
A second reason for the separation that is fast becoming common is that, like here, more and more bridal couples are opting for "destination" weddings. That was the case with this event: the morning and smaller gathering with the monks was held at a beach resort a little more than two hours from the city. The evening portion was held in Bangkok, where more of the family and family friends could attend.
This one was actually late afternoon starting at 4:30, announced as "high tea." But it did go on into the evening because the food was seemingly endless. It was table after table of "heavy" hors d'oeuvres.
This one was held in a large hotel's garden, as beautiful and romantic a setting as the beach had been the Sunday morning before. Before leaving home, I had struggled with what to take along to wear. The morning ceremony was easy, because I knew it was going to be outside and likely very hot. And, it was the very same blouse that I had worn to the groom's older brother's wedding more than 15 years before - an oldie but goodie.
But this late afternoon garden reception turned out to be another story. Shortly after arrival, our host reminded me that it was going to be late afternoon, and outdoors with no air conditioning. I quickly realized that my Thai silk jacket and skirt, both of which are lined, were not going to work. I did not want to spend the time wishing I was inside or that I could take off my jacket. So I first went in search of a lighter blouse that I might be able to wear with the skirt, even though it would still mean wearing the dreaded pantyhose.
I found what I thought would be the perfect top, a lacy thing that has been described to me as "the uniform" of older Thai women. I got it back to our "home" and tried it on with the skirt, and no, it was not going to do. So back to the store it went.
I did have a blouse along that would work, if only I had a skirt. So, the morning of the reception, I went to the weekend market (about 5,000 vendors to choose from!) in search of a skirt. It had to be long - no pantyhose required - an appropriate color for the blouse and shoes, and still dressy enough for the reception.
I lucked out: there was a shop that sells what I had always thought were just gorgeous skirts, but had never bought one because of the price. This time, however, my reasoning was that I had not purchased anything else new for either portion of this wedding - an occasion which certainly justified new clothes! - I could splurge on this one item. And that resolved the clothing dilemma.
The reception, like the morning ceremonies the week before, was beautiful and fun. Besides the good food, it was sort of a mini-reunion with a lot of Thai friends. There was a video set up on the edge of the lawn that was running continuous footage of the entire event at the beach. And the highlight was the speeches! It is usual at a Thai wedding reception that a dignitary will start out with congratulations and well wishes, followed by other important people, and the parents of the bride and groom. Finally, it is the time for the bridal couple, first the bride, Noi. When it was John's (the groom's) turn, he switched to English, first saying because he didn't feel his Thai was as good as it could be, and also so the guests (like us!) who did not speak Thai could hear too.
John then told of his and Noi's history together. They were in the same class in middle grades in Bangkok, but did not become fast friends until about a year later. He said that they had so much in common, with the same likes and dislikes, it just seemed natural.
When he came to the U.S. for high school, they stayed in touch, writing letters to each other every day and sometimes more than once a day. But distance is a problem, and also as he put it, "due to some stupidity on my part," they lost touch with each other.
Years later, he was visiting his ailing father in Bangkok and just happened to locate Noi on the Internet. He sent her an email, but did not hear back for what seemed to him like a long time.
When she did respond, her first words were "I couldn't remember you at first!" But they agreed to meet the next time he was in Bangkok, and when they did they discovered that the years in between just melted away, and they still had so much in common. He moved back to Thailand, and the rest, as "they" say, is history.
That certainly made for a fitting end to a wonderful two-part celebration which marked starting their new life together. Now they are busy doing what newly-marrieds do so well: planning their future.