A Cambodian Wedding

On May 1st, we were privileged to attend a traditional Khmer wedding. We were invited as guests of the mother of the bride–our friend, Bong Udt. Cambodian weddings often last the entire day, if not several days. We had to wake up at 4:00am (as in, A.M.!) to get ready, eat breakfast and drive to the church by 6:00am. Several of the women were still being “beautified”, so we waited until the ceremony began, around 7:00am (which was the actual starting time…we had been misinformed…oh well!). We were there until 11:00am, and then, because Ava needed to nap (and us too!), we went home until the second ceremony began, around 4:00pm. We were there until 7:00pm or so. It was such a fun experience and we were blessed to be a part of this special day.

Visiting with friends, Tedah and Kantia, before the morning ceremony began

Bong Udt and many of the wedding guests having their hair and makeup done before the ceremony. Cambodian women tend to go “all out” for weddings. It was amazing how many women got ready at the event…not a bad idea, considering that we had to wake up at 4:00am.

Ava enjoying the spotlight. The young girl (Tedah’s daughter) on the right is a member of the bridal party, wearing traditional dress.

Our little family

Mommy and Daughter

The ceremony seating. We sat across from these guests, with the “food gifts” in between.

Our friend, Sumnang, and Ava

Part of the ceremony – We watched as the photographer took pictures of the couple. Cambodians traditionally change their clothes multiple times during the course of the wedding celebration. This bride and groom had 12 different outfits. The mother of the bride changed her outfit 3-4 times, and several of the guests changed their clothes too.

During this part of the morning ceremony, we all grabbed our belongings and a “food gift” (see above), left the building, and walked down the street. We then turned around, formed a line of two rows (they were very particular about this) and “arrived” at the ceremony (as if, for the first time), greeting the family and bearing the food gift. So, basically we pretended to come to the wedding with a gift for them, which they provided to us. Once we returned to the building, we placed the fruit gifts back in the center aisle and then sat down.

Ava exploring one of the fruit gifts. We purposefully had the headband covering her ears because the wedding was so loud.

The long line of guests “arriving” at the ceremony.

Ava and Bong Udt, the lovely Mother of the Bride (in her second outfit of the day)

The afternoon ceremony, when the majority of  the food is served. They sat us with one of the few other foreign families–missionaries from England.

This part of the ceremony was held at a different location–under a tent, next to a busy street. These tents are extremely common…for weddings, funerals, house-warming parties and other celebrations. We have already had several set up in our neighborhood. Seeing a tent raised usually means that REALLY loud music and partying will soon follow.

The entrance to the tent

One of the seven different courses.

Sumnang (in her second outfit), myself, and Bong Udt (in her third outfit).

3 thoughts on “A Cambodian Wedding

  • June 5, 2010 at 12:28 am

    That was very interesting, Christiana. Thanks for posting those pictures and explaining a Cambodian wedding celebration. Makes me appreciate good ole American weddings more! :-)

  • June 5, 2010 at 6:46 am

    I concur with Nancy Murphy in all aspects. What an honor and privilege to be invited. Why does the bridal party change clothes? Is it to show wealth or is there special meaning or as Dad says because its hot!!!.

  • June 28, 2010 at 1:43 am

    Good afternoon! My name is Karen Reed and I am in PP on a six week mission trip (on my own) to teach nursing at the Technical School for Medical Care. I have only two weeks left here but would love to meet up with you before I leave. My email is: southernrehab@yahoo.com Feel free to give me a shout if you want to get together. I’m going to go down to Kampot to check out the nursing program down there over this weekend; otherwise, I am open around my teaching schedule (Tues/Wed/Thurs AM and Thurs PM). Blessings! Karen


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