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Preparations

Often in traditional Thai marriage, a close friend of the groom requests the bride's hand to the father (พิธีสู่ขอ). Then talks begin. These are about money, about gifts to be given to the family. These traditions are different from westerner countries. There is often a difficult bargain about the amount of money to be given to the bride's family. It depends on qualifications of the future wife such as her education background, her family, her career and so on. The family is thanked for the education of the girl. Sometimes problems happen due to the cultural differences between Thai and foreigner way of thinking. Sometimes the Thai family think that all foreigners are rich and ask for a huge money amount.

The number of guests in a Thai wedding is always a weird mystery. It is difficult to know the number of guests because invited persons might not come and uninvited persons might come. In Thai custom, it is difficult to know the number of guests as Thai invitation cards are different from invitation cards in foreigners' norm. In western country, you can see RSVP or regrets only with telephone no. on the bottom left of cards, so the guesses can reply whether they can come or not. Thai people don't answer and so the number of guests is not known exactly. Guests might come with or without their children, with or without friends.

The wife-to-be will prepare offerings, gifts for parents, relatives, phiis (พี่) and elders of the village.



Religious ceremonies

On the evening of the day before the wedding day, a Buddhist ceremony (วันสุกดิบ) happens. During this ceremony, the newly weds pay homage to the bride ancestors. The newly weds wear ordinary clothes.

monks
During this wedding ceremony nine monks are invited. Monks sit on straw mattress and have a glass and a bottle of water in front of them. The newly weds are near an altar, which is close to the first monk. A sacred thread joins the heads of both groom and bride and then unroll into the monks hands.
Evening ceremony

Near the first monk there is a bowl with a candle and water inside. This is used as holy water for the next day. The first monk holds a special fan in one hand and a microphone in the other hand. The whole village can listen to the prayers. During the ceremony the audience crouches in front of the monks several times. After a while the monks pause and drink a coke. Then they continue again. After the end of the prayers they go back to the temple. Cokes are finished by Thai people.



In the early morning of the wedding day (around 6 a.m. ) monks arrive. Nine monks are invited again. Prayers are said again and the main monk throws holy water on the audience.

The newly weds, wearing beautiful Thai clothes, are kneeled close together and there is a string going from the bride's head to the groom's head. On the head it makes a circle. They closed their hands making a "WAI" (ไหว้) or Thai greeting.

Nine trays are placed in front of the monks. Each trays contains several small dishes. After prayers are over, the newly weds give an envelope to each monk. The envelopes contain money. As monks cannot touch money, Thai people give envelopes. Then monks eat and when meal is over they go back to the temple. Religious ceremonies are now over.
monks
Morning ceremony


Giving alms
The Buddhist religious ceremony happens in the early morning. Monks come to the house to bless the newly weds. When the newly weds are not rich enough to afford this, the wife and husband can go to the temple in the early morning to make donations and give food offering to the monks.
Buddhist ceremony


Villagers do not get married during the rainy season as this is the time when they have to work in the fields.
monks at wedding
Monks at wedding

If a poor couple spends the night together, then the next day, their family can agree on the financial terms of the marriage. The couple is then considered to be married by the village, without an official wedding ceremony. The bride is called "CHU SAO" (ชูสาว). The word "CHU" means litterally to assist or promote.



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