The month of June means a lot of things for different people. June means a new academic year for some schools, new employment contract or resignation effectivity, mid-year bonus for some, 2010 FIFA World Cup for the athletes and die-hard football fans and of course, weddings.
I’m not particularly sure why it’s called June Wedding anyway and why some ladies insist on getting married on the same month. (You might want to check out this website for the origin of June Weddings) But since I couldn’t join the rest of the world in attending June Weddings, I will share some wedding stories of my own during my stay in the country.
So far, I’ve attended three Lao weddings, two of which I covered the basii ceremony and one huge deal wedding reception at the largest trade centre in the country. A Lao traditional wedding is one of the most interesting cultural events that I have ever witnessed. It’s colorful, solemn and symbolic. I am going to show you some footage I managed to capture during this occasion and I hope you will get a good picture of what a Lao wedding is.
Let us skip the engagement part just because I have no idea how their engagements work. Although based on my friend’s experience, they just talk about getting married and then decide on the date and the venue. No formal parties and diamond rings, at least none that I’m aware of.
Wedding is one of, if not the most expensive events to cover –and the photographer gets good money, obviously. So me, being all amature and my ‘clients’ composing mostly of *forced* friends, I did my very first pre-nuptial shoot in Vientiane. Of course, I lacked proper lighting equipment but I liked how everything turned out. Most of all, the couple loved the shots. They wanted to blow-up their portraits. YEY!
Basii is a traditional well-wishing ceremony in the country. When traveling, for the new year and getting married, family, relatives and close friends tie white cotton strings around each other’s wrists and whisper well-wishes. In weddings, this is THE ceremony. The best Lao regalia for the bride, and the royalty attire for the groom.
So while we are waiting for the groom to arrive at the bride’s home… Yes, it’s the other way around, friends!
And now, let the wedding begin:
And some captures during the ceremony:
After the ceremony, either the guests proceed to the reception outside the couple’s home, like in a village wedding — or go to the grand wedding reception at some fancy function hall in the city. With a minimum of 500 guests, wedding receptions here are as extravagant as a politician’s son’s wedding in RP. I am not kidding!
Here are some of the photos during two of the wedding receptions I attended.
The following photos are part of Pao and Phon’s Wedding. Pao is a good friend and she invited me to her reception, the biggest I’ve ever been MY WHOLE LIFE.
And so that concludes my image-heavy post on Lao Weddings. In my opinion, I like it. It’s simple yet grand in its own way. It’s different, it’s vibrant and it’s intimate…Okay, it’s not like I’m going to get a Lao wedding myself, I mean seriously, it’s not going to happen but well…Okay, shutting up now. 🙂
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