<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Home > A Day to Remember

A Day to Remember

October 25th, 2009 at 03:06 am

Over the years I've been to many weddings but yesterday I had the pleasure of attending one of the most beautiful and memorable, an elaborate affair that spanned the entire day. The bride is a young woman I met several years ago when she was a student teacher at my school. I subsequently hired her to teach full-time, and she proved to be an extraordinary teacher and continues to be a good friend.

She is Cambodian and very proud of her culture. So her wedding day began in the morning with a traditional Cambodian wedding ceremony. The bride wore a stunning gold-beaded traditional dress that highlighted her exotic beauty. She is tall and slender, the type that can wear anything and look gorgeous, but in this gown she looked like royalty.

The Khmer ceremony began with a procession around the block of the family home, then moved into four phases:
~ Presentation of the Dowry
~ Tea Ceremony
~ Hair Cutting Ceremony (symbolic, no actual cutting)
~ Pairing Ceremony
I was told some traditional Khmer ceremonies can last several days or a week, but it is becoming more common to have a "condensed" version that lasts several hours and is held on the same day as the Western wedding.

At the Pairing Ceremony, four songs were sung and the last one, Tying the Wrists, goes like this: "We tie, we tie three strings to each wrist of our children. We wish for true happiness and success to this couple, who will always be together like wet grass seeds. We tie your left wrist to make you remember your parents. We tie your right wrist to make you carry on the family lineage and traditions."

In the afternoon the couple held their Western wedding ceremony at a winery with beautiful grounds, and we were blessed with perfect weather. The bride wore a lovely Vera Wang gown, looking as if she were modeling for Vogue or a bridal magazine. Her long hair was combed up in an elegant twist and was accented with a birdcage veil. The vows were written by the couple and were romantic and sweet. After a celebratory toast and hors d'oeuvres, the formal photos began. After a while, dh and I got back in the car again for the next stop: the reception.

The reception for more than 500 guests, not all of who were invited to the ceremonies, began at 6:00 p.m. although guests were still arriving at 7:00 p.m. The venue was a restaurant known for its exceptional Asian cuisine. We sat through a 10-course meal that included some dishes I had never tried. I'm proud I tried everything, although I can't say the same for the squeamish folks at my table. We were served jellyfish and seaweed salad, crab soup, chicken, pork, sea bass, garlic lobster, abalone, prawns, shiitake mushrooms with bok choy, and the last course was white wedding rice with shrimp and scallops. Oh, and did I mention there was an open bar that served wine, beer, and spirits?

The first dance by the bride and groom was to "You Are So Beautiful" by Joe Cocker. They took dancing lessons and it showed in their polished performance. Then guests were treated to a slide show that featured the couple and their large family of many aunts, uncles, and cousins on both sides. Later the bride and groom, visited each table, accompanied by their parents, a videographer, and a photographer. By now, the bride had changed into the third outfit of the day: an elegant burgundy velvet dress with gold embroidery on the bodice. When we left at ~10:30 p.m., the dancing was in full swing.

I enjoyed catching up on all the news at my former school with guests I knew. Most were teacher co-workers (actually, I used to be their boss). One teacher shared she is expecting her first baby in April and had just learned it is twins, so she had lots of questions because I am also a mother of twins. Another teacher is expecting her first baby in January... it seems like I was just at her wedding, but it was actually a year ago. So, there will be baby showers and more celebrations in the future.

3 Responses to “A Day to Remember”

  1. NJDebbie Says:

    I love to learn about other cultures. You are so lucky to have experienced this event!

  2. midlight21 Says:

    Sounds like a lovely experience for everyone and a good chance to catch up with old friends and acquaintances.

    Here's to the bride and groom!

  3. Ima saver Says:

    It sounds wonderful!

Leave a Reply

(Note: If you were logged in, we could automatically fill in these fields for you.)
Will not be published.

* Please spell out the number 4.  [ Why? ]

vB Code: You can use these tags: [b] [i] [u] [url] [email]