Our First Khmer Wedding

8 12 2011

Tim’s co-teacher Chanthou got married this week, and we were invited to both days of the wedding festivities. There is truly too much to say about Khmer weddings– it would never fit in only one blog entry– so today we will just include some of the highlights.

The happy couple!

Specifically, we’d like to recognize the three most awkward moments of the occasion– you know, those moments that have you physically uncomfortable because of how agonizingly awkward they are. I have to tell you, this was a tough decision. We felt that there were many worthy moments, but we’ve narrowed it down to the top three for your pleasure.

(Before going on, let’s not take this too seriously. Virtually all cultures have wedding rituals that would seem nothing short of bizarre to outsiders. I could have just as easily compiled a list of awkward moments at US weddings. The removing of the garter, anyone?)

Okay, let’s begin with the second runner-up.

3.) The bride and groom stoically sompea-ing (bowing) to the audience as they were being covered in silly string. It doesn’t sound like much, I know, but how on Earth do you take yourself seriously when being sprayed with silly string? The juxtaposition of one of mankind’s most playful inventions against the solemn (grave, even) expressions on the wedding party’s faces was just too much for me.  High awkwardness rating.

Next up…

2.) The father being fed a banana by the wedding singer. Painfully awkward to watch. I’ll let the photo speak for itself.

And, (drum roll, please!), the winner of most awkward moment is….

1.) The bride and groom’s first kiss!

As I’ve mentioned, Cambodian courtship is drastically different from in the US. For example, a couple getting married in our town has (generally) never kissed before. This was the case for Tim’s co-teacher and his new wife, and let’s just say it was blindingly obvious that this was their first time.

In fact, it reminded me of a little clip that I recently came across on the interwebs. If you haven’t seen this clip of Ellen talking about TLC’s new show “Virgin Diaries,” I implore you to do so now. You will not regret it… plus, it will help you better relate to the discomfort that Tim and I felt last night watching the nervous couple share their first kiss.

“Less chewing!”

Okay, all jokes aside, Tim and I had a great time at the wedding. Chanthou and Kunthea seem to be sincerely happy, and we wish them the best of luck. We felt very lucky to get to participate in the celebrations, especially with so many friends who made sure we had a good time. It was a very special occasion and one that I’m sure we will remember for a long time. Congratulations to the new couple!!

Tune in tomorrow for our awards for the top three best dishes at the event. And, in the meantime, check out more pictures of the wedding on Facebook.

Katie

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3 responses

11 12 2011
christinee

This is amazing.

14 12 2011
Susannah

So many thoughts ran through my mind during this post, as well as my Facebook message you sent me. First off – I am so happy that even though you are half a world away, you caught the Virgin Diaries clip. Fantastic. Rob and I were watching something else on that channel – probably one of my wedding shows to which I’m shamefully addicted – and saw a preview for the Virgin Diaries and immediately set it up for DVR amid fits of laughter. We then watched the entire episode after it recorded, and honestly the whole thing is worth seeing. I’m not trying to put down other people’s values of purity…. but. I’m just so happy I wasn’t at that wedding. The guests clearly felt as awkward and uncomfortable as you describe here.

Second – it has been my upmost goal in wedding planning to eliminate awkward moments. I told Rob if he shoves pie (yes pie) in my face I will immediately annul the marriage, and I have been fighting the garter ritual but he insists – so the compromise is that he can remove one from my leg, but it will not be tossed to his creepy friends. They don’t need to be in possession of something that was on my leg. Unfortunately for my guests, they will probably feel uncomfortable with all the public kissing/necking that occurs, but at least we know what we’re doing and it won’t look like we’re trying to eat each other’s faces off.

The silly string thing is weird.

22 12 2011
Anne Marie

Oh God. That kiss. I can’t stop cringing.

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