The Big Day
Well there it is, we’re married at last. What a brilliant, tiring, fantastic, stressful, loving, exhausting weekend it’s been. Even as I sit and write this the screen is blurred (the Singha might have something to do with it) and I can barely stay awake. But I want to share the awesome weekend with those of you who couldn’t make it, so here goes…
It all started with the traditional Buddhist blessing ceremony which we held at the Monks Hospital in Ratchathewi. Having the ceremony here has a two-fold benefit –
1 – it’s relatively cheap (yeah keep your kee-gnok comments to yourself!)
2 – it’s good karma, as you get to feed the sick monks. And that’s how the whole thing started. We presented the morning meal to the monks sitting in their beds, and they blessed us each in turn, wishing us a long and fruitful life.
There was one old monk who had some amazing writing tattooed all over his arms and fingers (see pic above), and I would have loved to have stopped for a chit chat and to compare tattoos, but someone was tugging on my sleeves and it was back down to the main ceremony hall we went.
Without going into too much detail, we presented each monk with an offering and donation, lit some candles at an altar, got sprayed with some holy water, and we were (at least in the eyes of myTGF’s family) “married”.
We then layed out the sin-sot (dowry) for all to see, and took some photos. MyTGF’s family got all misty-eyed as the dowry was formally handed over, and I fairly burst in to tears as I watched Khun Mair bundle my cash and gold up into a sack and hoist it over her shoulder, never to be seen again (by me at least).
Our parents daubed some white paste on our foreheads, and it was all done…for that day at least.
And so it came to the evening reception party. To cut a long story short (I’m really starting to fade, or is it the Singha?), the evening started with the Bride and Gloom standing at the doorway having their photo taken with every.single.guest. No exaggeration. And not just one photo, we’re talking a full range of different angles, cameras, and poses, for every single guest. Somehow I managed to smile through the entire thing without a single whine or whinge.
Speeches were said, food was fed, drinks were drunk, and everybody oohed-and-aahed over the bride (she did look incredibly beautiful, and my heart was bursting with pride). We cut the cake…
...and everyone went home…almost.
The best part of the whole weekend was the final 10 minutes, spent in our hotel room. (I know what you’re thinking..but you’re wrong). Surrounded by an intimate entourage comprising our parents, a few select friends and the hired camera crew, I carried MyTGF across the threshold…
..and into the room. From here the most bizarre and beautiful rite was performed, which almost reduced me to tears. First my parents had to lie on our wedding bed and give each other a hug, because they had been married for so long it would bring us good luck if they lied on our bed before us. Normally MyTGF’s parents would do this too, but her mum is widowed and didn’t take part, which I felt awfully sad about.
After that myself and MyTGF knelt on the bed, and she bowed into my lap, performing a “wai” and solemnly asking me to take care of her all of her life. As the Buddhist wedding tradition doesn’t allow for exchanging of vows as per a western wedding, I figured this was as close to it as we got, and I did find myself supressing a tear or two as she made this request.
The moment was somewhat ruined with everyone (parents included) sniggering in the background as…well…it looked like she was trying to perform a [cough] intimate act in my lap while saying it.
We then knelt before the parents on the floor at the foot of the bed as they blessed us and wished us a long life together and many children. We were also told by Khun Mair that we were not to leave the room until morning as it would bring bad luck.
We waved everyone goodbye, including the camera crew that shared our intimate moments up until that point, but I drew the line and called it a “wrap” on the dvd production. Besides, apparently there was only 1 minute and 30 seconds left on the video recorder, and I was going to need at least 1 minute 50 to consummate the marriage, so better to call it a day now I thought.
I’ll not describe the evening any further as I’m sure you can guess the rest, but needless to say the entire weekend was the most incredible experience, and I couldn’t have been more proud of my wife and my parents and all our friends who came to celebrate the occasion with us.
And so now I’m a little “tired and emotional” as the press like to call pissed-up politicians and sportsmen, and its time for me to sign off and pack for our honeymoon. More reports from Koh Mun Nork on the weekend.