Khamsouk’s wedding – Part 3, the formal ceremony

Around 9.30, the bride emerged from her house, ready to walk up the hill to her parents’ house, where the ceremony was being held. We walked up with her and her husband.

When we arrived, the room was already almost full. The bride and groom were installed opposite the 2 round tables with the big conical construction made with banana leaves on each that is used as centrepiece  at baci ceremonies. The photographer in me groaned when he saw they were sitting in the shade of the two big structures, at an angle almost impossible to photograph.

Groom waiting
The groom, waiting for the misplaced document to arrive

So this ended up being one of my rare flash photography occasions.

Lighting the candles
Lighting the candles marks the start of the ceremony

Then we waited, while someone had run back to the shop at the roadside to find a missing piece of paper.

Poh and Meh looking after Media

Khamsouk gave the searcher instructions by cellphone, about where it would be. It took another 15 minute wait, and several frantic phone calls, and I’m not sure if the missing paper was ever produced.

Listening to the chanting

Then the ceremony took place. A liturgy in (I think) Pali, was read/chanted.


Then strings were tied, mainly around the wrists of the bride and groom, but also the parents, Media (their daughter) and the guests.

Tying strings on the Groom
The Elder ties a string on the wrist of the groom


Mehtouh (grandmother) tying string

Someone absconded with my camera when it was my turn to receive and give strings. But they used it OK, and it came back with pictures of me being stringed.

Bride, groom and Media all stringed

Then a toast was made with lao lao, to displeasure of the baby, who cried. Maybe it affects the flavour of the breast milk. An official produced some documents, gave a speech and handed the documents to be signed.

Khamsouk signing the marriage contract

When that was done, a few more formal photographs, then the bride went outside to feed her daughter Media, and everyone left to go to the reception site.

The bride feeding her daughter after the ceremony