To the Western world, Thai wedding customs may be a bit of a surprise, with the monetary element tied to proceedings.
African onlookers, on the other hand, will find many similarities between traditional Thai weddings as well as traditional African wedding ceremonies and, it is quite interesting to note the thinking behind all the customs, which is what makes the tradition all the more valuable and logical.
The pre-wedding arrangements kick off with the groom paying a visit to the bride's family, so as to negotiate what gifts and how much money he will have to give to them for their daughter. It isn't necessarily a trade, where the bride is being 'sold', rather a kind of 'insurance policy' indicating the groom has only good intentions in marrying the bride, and is sure to take good care of her.
The wedding ceremony itself is an all-day affair of festivities and well wishes, with the morning kicking off with a procession, known as 'Hae Khun Mag', where the groom is followed by all the guests, with food and gift parcels in tow, destined for the bride's home.
Two obstacles await the arrival of the groom, at the bride's house, a Golden Gate as well as a Silver Gate, with the Silver Gate to be crossed first, by way of offering the bride's sisters their gifts.
The groom, followed by the procession, then moves on to the Golden Gate, where the agreed money is to be paid for entry, after which the Buddhist wedding ceremony takes place.
After the traditional Buddhist wedding ceremony takes place, the evening party brings the night nearer to completion, after which time the very important, final evening sending off ceremony takes place, where an older couple paves the way for the newly weds, by sending them to the bedroom, signaling the start of their new married life together.
Even for people who are not of the Buddhist religion, or those who are not native of Thailand, a nice traditional Thai wedding can add some nice variety to their marriage, or renewal of vows.