Thai Wedding
You are here: Home > Wedding > Thai Wedding

Our wedding featured elements of a traditional Thai wedding and those portions of the ceremony are outlined here.


We did not perform, The Acceptance of the Groom (Teng Ngan) and the Engagement Ceremony (exchanging of the vows and rings). However, we have included details about that portion of the ceremony since it comes between pieces of the ceremony we included in our wedding. As we did not have our entire families present, we assigned familial roles to friends.


Thailand Weddings (Dtaeng Ngarn)


The Groom's Procession (Matheng)


In Thailand, the pageantry of a wedding focuses primarily on the groom, who makes his way to the bride in a procession. Friends and relatives of the groom, bearing food and gifts such as silver, gold, jewelry and cash, join in the procession. On his way, the groom passes through the "wood gate", the "silver gate" and the "gold gate," which consist of string or chains that are held at each end by younger members of the wedding party (traditionally from the bride's family). The groom pays a token fee - more for each gate crossed - to the gatekeepers, who then "open" each gate so he can reach the bride.


The Acceptance of the Groom (Teng Ngan) and the Engagement Ceremony (exchanging of the vows and rings)


Upon arriving at the bride's house, the groom's feet are washed (or sprinkled with water) to symbolize the washing away of his old life.


The groom's family is responsible for the bride's dowry, a sum that is often negotiated between the two families. The Khaan Ngern Sinsord or Dowry Bowl is the most important container for it indicates how much he loves her, how much financial support he can offer the bride's parent or how much money the newly wed couple can use to establish their future family.


One part of the dowry contains money, regarded as cost for mother's milk, wrapped or packed with the amount of 49 Baht. Another part contains food and candies, including other necessary elements such as liqueur, banana trees, and sugar cane stems. These elements are also prepared in pairs and beautifully decorated. The tradition at some places may not include general food but, instead, belly pork and candies that are to be used at the ceremony are preferred. The final part contains the engagement rings.


After the bride's relative has received the groom into the bride's house with money and object requestd by the bride's parents, the money and wedding object given to the bride's parents by the groom's parents will be shown to the guests at the engagement ceremony, then the groom will go into the bride's room and bring her to the engagement ceremony. Then the groom and bride exchange engagement rings (wedding rings).


The Thread Ceremony


Senior members of the family or special guests of honor perform the anointing of the couple's foreheads with three dots of white powder to represent the shape of a pyramid. Traditionally, this powder is made of dirt or clay, ground, and mixed with holy water and blessed by Buddhist monks. As with all of the ceremony's traditional customs, the ritual is meant to bring good fortune to the couple.


In Thai language the Thread ceremony is called "phiti bai sri su kwan". The bride and groom kneel together, with their hands clasped together in the traditional prayer-like gesture called wai. A highly respected person places garlands to the groom's and the bride's neck, traditionally these Thai flowers: dok ruk (love flower), dok ban mai ru roey (forever-lasting flower) and dok dowruang (shining star flower). The flowers are coupled to echo the khu (pairing) symbolized in the marriage.


The sacred nuptial thread ("mon kol") is then draped around the groom's and the bride's heads, forming a circle and connecting the couple. This mon kol is thick white yarn or raw cotton string twisted with golden thread. It symbolizes unity, matrimony and the holistic interconnectedness of all things, bringing good fortune, health and wealth. An old and wise man then says auspicious sentences in order to bless the wedding and give hints to the bride.


The Lustral Water Pouring Ceremony


A line is then formed for the the "rot naam" or lustral water-pouring ceremony. The queue is led by senior members of both families, with relatives and friends following. Each takes a turn to approach the couple and murmur a blessing for lifelong happiness as they pour water on the couple's hands from a conch shell (the "naam sang"). Small ornate silver bowls called "khan" stand on small pedestals called "pahn" to collect the water poured a conch shell over the hands of the newlyweds. These bowls are filled with the petals of lotus (the blossom of fertility) and other flowers in elaborate patterns to symbolize the happy union. The water is to drip slowly from the fingers of the bride and groom into the flowers, signifying the beginning of a blossoming relationship.


It is thought that whoever gets up first after the rod nam sang will be in control of the relationship, so Thais urge the couple to help each other get up together: "Chai yo!"


At the conclusion of the procession, a respected relative takes off the mon kol bands from the couple's heads. This motion signified that the ceremony was finished and that the bride and groom had officially married.