Tag Archives: wedding

What makes a perfect wedding?


1. A beautiful setting

2. Friends and family reuniting

3. Happy people

Mands and Matt’s wedding ticked all the boxes (and more). What a great weekend. What a great celebration. What a great reason for a party.

Congratulations team A&M Vasey!

What political crisis? Air and Nat are getting married!

Saturday was a very special and exciting day in which many of us chose to ignore the big dumbbum political crisis, get frocked up and celebrate Air and Nat’s wedding.

I work with Air and she kindly invited me to her wedding on my first day in the office. She couldn’t have found a more appreciative guest if she tried because I was very excited to see what Thai weddings are all about. This is what I found out.

Lesson no.1. Thai weddings have boats!

Anya and Niyada on the boat

Anya and Niyada on the boat

The wedding was held at the Marriot Hotel on the river, which is on the other side of the river to where most of us live…so unless we wanted to swim a kilometre on the stinky water or cross a bridge in a car (ew gross) we simply had to take a boat! We took the skytrain to the pier at Saphan Taksin and took the Marriot boat across the river. FYI, the boat is about as fancy as the hotel. There are dressed up porters on board and they give you a refreshing moist hand towel for your journey (no good for freshly made up young ladies, but we didn’t need them anyway because we were too ladylike to perspire).

Niyada and Sarah on the Marriot boat

Niyada and Sarah on the Marriot boat

Lesson no.2. If you arrive early you get to see different outfits.

We went to the wedding in the afternoon to catch the traditional water pouring ceremony, where Air and Nat sit in white poufy chairs and guests pour water over their hands as a blessing. I grilled my friends for as much background as I could, and they could explain in great detail what was happening, but then I asked the silly question “why?”

Sarah: Why do they pour water, why do they have three dots of white stuff on their heads?

Anya: Ummm…they just do OK.

Air and Nat at the water pouring ceremony

Air and Nat at the water pouring ceremony

This is Air’s “traditional” dress. Later in the evening she would change into a western style wedding dress. Nat is wearing the fancy government officer uniform. He’s a doctor, so even though he doesn’t wear this kind of thing to work each day (wouldn’t it be great if he did!) this is his formal government uniform.

Lesson no.3. Thai weddings have hot chocolate!

After the water pouring we had a break before the reception began in the evening, so our little gang of Air supporters wandered around the hotel and lounged in the cafe.

hot chocolate in the cafe

hot chocolate in the cafe

I made the most of the occasion and had a hot chocolate that actually fed my soul. No really! I think it was the whipped cream that made all the difference.

cherry cake

cherry cake

Chaitawat had the very good sense to order this delicious cherry cake. I think cherry and dark chocolate is one of my favourite flavour combinations. Elisa, you want to send me another cherry ripe for my next birthday?!

Anya, Netta, Chaitawat, Niyeda, me and Joy (Jason is taking the photo)

Anya, Netta, Chaitawat, Niyeda, me and Joy (Jason is taking the photo)

In between lounging, we made the most of our dress up clothes and rather fancy backdrop and took photos.

This one of Netta won the prize for photo magic of the day.

Netta on the telephone

Netta on the telephone

And here is me by a tree!

Sarah meets a tree

Sarah meets a tree

Sadly, shortly after this photo was taken my batteries died (shouldn’t have take 150 photos of the water pouring I guess).

The reception began moments after the tree-posing and we ate, drank and got warm and fuzzy when Air and Nat got up and did their bit.

Lesson no. 4. Thai weddings are quite similar to quiz shows

At a Thai wedding the emcee (a very beautifully dressed friend of Air’s, reminiscent of the quiz show host) takes questions from the audience for the bride and groom to answer. Knowing that they were going to get the “how did you meet?” question they had an animation (I’m not kidding!) of how they met (at uni when they were in the same class) projected onto the screens. Nat’s friends also filmed what looked like an ambush of Nat while he was sleeping to hijack his phone and publicly display all the cutesy text messages Nat and Air send to each other. Ahhh, friends are wonderful aren’t they?!

Lesson no. 5. Thai weddings are kind of similar to Australian wedding.

The rest of the night was spent eating and drinking and catching bouquets, which is pretty much the same as an Australian wedding, but with less 80s music (there was a string quartet) and no “rowdy table” of drunk people who both sides of the wedding party try to disown. This was one class act!

Why I love being the token white person

Even though there are banyak bule (many white people/foreigners*) in Aceh, it’s still pretty common to get singled out. Sometimes this can get tiring (e.g. being yelled at from cars and motorbikes), but let’s be honest about one thing, I love getting special treatment of any kind. 

Today it really worked in my favour.

I went with a couple of colleagues to the site of a Balai Inong, which is a kind of women’s community centre common to Aceh. The organisation I work for is funding the construction of three of these in tsunami-hit areas. We work with the local committees who manage and monitor the construction.

Every now and again we attend a ceremony for the turning of the first sod. The photo above is one of the construction workers digging the hole for an offering of rice and flowers. I’ve lost the photos of the actual offering. Nice one Sarah.

This morning, about a month after I took that last photo, we went along to another at the same site for another ceremony… and voila! A Balai Inong!

Any celebration is good right? But my enjoyment is quadrupled when…pulut is served!

Pulut is my favourite Acehnese dessert and it is sensational. You get some sticky rice, ladle coconut-y soup with banana over it and add some other stuff whose ingredients I can’t even begin to fathom. Today, when someone found out that I loved the dessert I was immediately ushered into the eating room to get the first serve. Everyone found the image of me sitting alone in the room stuffing my face pretty funny. Sadly, I am the photographer, and I was too buys eating to take any photos, so it’s a mental image only.

This is truly a special occasion dessert. The first time I had it was at Fazil’s wedding. Here is Fazil (he is a security guard at the office) at his house before the wedding:

And here is me eating the dessert at the wedding:

This is another perfect example of special bule treatment. Even though we didn’t know anyone at the function (apart from the groom), we got to sit in the VIP dining area with senior members of the family! The rest of the plebs had to sit outside wherever they could pull up a chair. Suckaaaahs!

I am aware of the absurdity of me posting about how being white gives me unfettered access to dessert before posting about the fascinating event that is an Acehnese wedding. I can only apologise for my misguided priorities.