This is one segment of the engagement and wedding ceremony which I particularly enjoyed. While Western culture has 2 different dates for the engagement and wedding, in Thai culture both events can happen on the same day.
The groom’s family is led by its designated representative followed by members of the family and the groom’s friends bearing gifts of “good luck” for the bride’s family. The idea is for the representative to “negotiate” the groom’s entry through some 10 symbolic gates before presenting himself to his future bride.
The procession proceeds at an auspicious time of 9:09 am — 9, being considered a lucky number. The groom’s family — completely clueless on Thai traditions and customs — was advised to proceed with a lot of noise and beating of the drums, accompanied by quite a bit of dancing. At the height of Bangkok’s summer heat, you know how this felt. (Just look at the groom’s youngest nephew below)
Meanwhile, some 10 symbolic gates are held by the bride’s family and friends. To pass each gate, the “gatekeepers” will ask the groom some questions or ask him to do something like shout out his love for the bride, sing a love song, or whatever they fancy — all for fun and at the expense of the groom. Finally, they’d ask for money envelopes.
Once all the “tolls” are negotiated, the groom now claims his future bride for the next part of this very Thai wedding ceremony.
Photo Credits to Sarah Cee, Ekarin Patarapongwatana, and to many of the newlyweds’ friends.
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