A Lao Wedding Photo Album: Tribute to June Weddings

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!

The Pre-nup

Ahh yes, I was playing around with the light and their poses.

The Basii

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.Β  In weddings, this is THE ceremony. The best Lao regalia for the bride, and the royalty attire for the groom.

There's a standard look for the bride.

They tie this around the 'pointy hair'.

So while we are waiting for the groom to arrive at the bride’s home… Yes, it’s the other way around, friends!

You see the white strings? Yes, those are the ones tied around the wrists of the couple. All the objects around the pakbeng symbolize something for the prosperity and loads of happiness for the couple.

Look how intricate Lao metalcraft is. Those two shot glasses are going to be used by the couple later after the ceremony and give whisky shots to the guests, for best wishes.

The couple will give each item to the parents and sponsors for respect and honor.

Just like in RP, they also throw rice grains for the couple.

And now, let the wedding begin:

 

Parents and close relatives come in the bride's home first

Here comes the Groom! There's a lot of noise and singing going on, kind of like announcing to the whole community that 'Hey, I'm getting married!'

Nuh-uh. Not so fast, groomie. You have to break the gate of the bride's home first and accept WHATEVER the bride's relatives offer. Whisky and beer for starters.

And now, they meet. πŸ™‚

This is held by the groom, symbolizes being the Head of the Family.

He starts the ceremony with prayers for the couple and the parents as well

Fascinating, isn't it?

Listening to the Minister's word (yey, the bride's looking!)

And some captures during the ceremony:

 

Hands being blessed by the Minister

Sticky rice and egg for a lifelong relationship for richer and for poorer.

Tie the Knot, literally.

Whatever you put inside the silver cup is considered sacred.

Handwoven silk πŸ™‚

Their wedding rings!

Sign of respect for the parents as well

Really cute set-up. The bride's MUA tapped me 'saao, take photo!' πŸ™‚

 

It's a tradition for the couple and its family and friends take a photo on their bed. It's like welcoming the couple into their new home. This also marks the end of 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.

I told you, EVERYONE must look their best. Some even arrive heavily made-up more than the bride πŸ™‚

Their "LA Walk". It's really difficult, footwork and variations!

So proud of my Lao skirt. It was my mom's though. LOL

 

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.

 

Welcome to Lao-ITECC. It's like World Trade Center, two functions halls were occupied during the event.

Cute!

I just had to look pretty, I tried!

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. πŸ™‚

*Found some errors or want to contribute some info? Leave a comment below or email the author. Thanks!

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8 Comments

Filed under Events, Snappies, Walk and Talk, When In Laos

8 responses to “A Lao Wedding Photo Album: Tribute to June Weddings

  1. jenny

    Nice pictures and captions Cole! Gusto ko din maka witness ng isang Lao wedding.

    I like the part where the groom is about to go to the bride’s home. Iniimagine ko tuloy si anjo habang ginagawa yun. hihi
    Btw, cute ng wedding rings parang candy =)

  2. Cool eh! Now I am contemplating whether to have a Bollywood wedding or a Lao wedding. Haha! I kid! But it’s really interesting!

  3. Pingback: Got My Walking Shoes On…and a Laptop On Hand « The Cole Walkabouts

  4. Pingback: Sii-Roy-Haa-Sip Pii! Or My Pathetic Attempt to Speak Lao « The Cole Walkabouts

  5. AON

    the valuable time when the two become one.

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