Khamsouk’s wedding, Part 2 The formal ceremony

Khamsouk being made up

We arrived back in the village at a quarter to nine in the morning. Khamsouk was in her shophouse, having her make-up done, while her husband was minding the baby. Her hair had already been done earlier that morning, in a in the traditional cone shape of Lao brides.
A thick layer of make-up made her face almost white, and after finishing the eye make-up, her make-up artist started to apply false eyelashes.

false eyelashes being glued on

All this is not Khmu specific, but generic Lao wedding. Her costume was also traditional Lao style.
I walked around the party site. The villagers had been busy all night cooking up a storm, preparing food for what would turn out to be a party for 400 people.

Ingredients for the salad
Salad ingredients ready to be assembled at the last moment.

The salad ingredients had been prepared but not yet assembled. The eggs were cooked soft, and separated in whites which would be added directly to the salad, the soft yolks mixed with oil, fish sauce, salt and lime juice to form a salad dressing.

The dogs and chickens picked up the remains of the food preparation site

The village dogs and chickens were scavenging amongst the debris from the cooking storm.

The braised pork dish is wrapped in plastic wrap to keep it clean.

The meat dish (I think a pork stew) was ladled into plates and covered in plastic film to keep the flies off – a relatively recent change as at my first weddings in Luang Namtha about 8 years ago they didn’t use that yet.

On the tables I see a pork lahp, the braised pork in gravy, some fresh green leaves (later identified as probably ‘Asian pennywort’) and packages of sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves.

The tables ready for the guests to arrive

Salad will be added closer to the time the guests for the reception arrive. With that, a pack of tissues, wrapped chopsticks, spoons, a little bamboo cup for toasting with Lao Lao, four bottles of Beer Lao, a bottle of water and a bottle of Lao lao (rice whiskey).

The entrance to the wedding site

The entry to the reception area is adorned with a banner announcing the wedding, plenty of balloons, a box to receive the cash gifts. After the more private official baci ceremony, the bridal party will line up here to receive the guests.

The groom, holding his daughter, still in T-shirt during the make-up session

The groom was still walking around in his track pants and white T-shirt, I suppose guys take a bit less time to prepare. Around nine in the morning, the sound equipment for the band gets delivered and installed.

The groom, ready for the ceremony


2 thoughts on “Khamsouk’s wedding, Part 2 The formal ceremony

  1. Kees – A great story and wonderful photographs. I look forward to Part 3

    At the weddings I have attended in Isaan there is a roll of toilet paper at each table rather than packets of tissues.

    Loved the comment about the use of plastic wrap now. Now there needs to be something to keep the chickens out of the salad!


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