Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Lao Wedding in Four Parts

This weekend we joined the celebration as some Lao friends of ours got married. The wedding was in four parts spread over a few weeks but it culminated in the activities of last weekend.

Part I: The Church Wedding

We met at the Catholic Cathedral in Vientiane and enjoyed a lovely church wedding. This part of the wedding was held a few weeks ago -- before the beginning of Lent.

Part of the MCC group that was there for this important ceremony (both above and below).

Part II: The Vietnamese Ceremony

This ceremony started at the groom's house. All of the gifts for the bride and her family had been carefully chosen and were presented in boxes covered with red embroidered clothes. We then formed a procession and drove to the bride's house.

From across the street, the groom and his friends and family called to the bride's side.

There was a "gate" on the bride's side which the guests could easily pass through but the groom had some difficulty getting through. After presenting the gate keepers with envelopes stuffed with money a few times, they relented and let him pass into the bride's living room.

The gifts were presented and other ceremonies took place.

Part III: The Lao Baci

The baci (special Lao string-tying ceremony) took place at the groom's house. He and the bride changed out of their Vietnamese clothing and put on traditional Lao wedding clothes. The groom's grandmother had a special place to sit (below).

Part IV: The Reception
The reception took place at a large, new hall in town. There was a receiving line at the beginning where close to 1,000 guests greeted the happy wedding party. There was lots of great food at the buffet and plenty to drink. After dinner there was a dance.
It was a great time to be together and to help our friends celebrate their new marriage. We wish them God's richest blessings!