Four weddings and a lot of romance
With so much hatred in the world going on at the moment, I think it's time to talk about love.
The past month has been an auspicious month in Thailand for love, and weddings. I attended four weddings, three of which were the children of friends, and the fourth was that of a friend. The first three were met with the usual feelings of pride on behalf of the parents, happiness on seeing their offspring mature and being ready to have a family of their own. There is always a tinge of sadness as well, sadness for themselves, at having a child leave the nest even though you know their wings are now strong. Whatever people say about gaining another son/daughter, you know it's not quite the same.
The weddings invariably follow the same pattern, which has now become the trend since the growth of digital technology.
Portraits of the bride and groom adorn the entrance to the reception venue, which is as extravagantly decorated as your budget will allow. This might be flower or foliage tunnels and backdrops, as well as a creatively designed stage. The guests will be treated to a film starring the bridal couple, tracing the growth of "The Relationship", and sometimes even going back to "The Baby" pictures. These will be met with a unison of "Awwww", while the shy, fumbling attempts in "The Courtship" will receive a round of laughter.
The moment of truth is "The Proposal", with everyone waiting to see how creative the groom could be. This, I'm sure, puts a lot of pressure on those planning to get married in the near future, because all will be revealed in "The Film". Then, of course, there's the admittance of love towards each other, and the things they love about each other, which often gets the guests a bit teary-eyed.
Then there's the procession into the ballroom, between a walkway lined with bridesmaids and bridegrooms carrying battery-lit candles and confetti shooters respectively.
The stage ceremony starts rather formally, usually with a respected guest of honour to offer a few words on a good marriage as well as his blessing. The emcees then do their best to embarrass the bride and groom, and get them to kiss for the guests and the camera.
The young ladies at the wedding will now be invariably lined up near the stage, hoping to catch the bridal bouquet. There is always one teasing throw to pique the enthusiasm before the actual toss.
Then there's the ritual cutting of the cake, and I say ritual because it is just that. The beautiful cakes are just for show, with the bride and groom tracing a line down the side with a sword that would make a Viking proud. This cake-cutting moment is usually surrounded by floating soap bubbles.
The younger generation usually go on to an after-party, which means the bride must have at least two gowns that evening. But it's her day, and who's to grudge her a beautiful gown or two.
The fourth wedding -- that of a friend -- was more unusual, because of the age group. Having been together through thick and thin for almost two decades, they were already a couple as far as everyone was concerned. And that is why the decision to take this final step made everything more emotional and touching.
The exchange of vows, which took place in a beautiful garden setting, was very personal and candid, drawing tears and smiles from all who were gathered there. It was beautiful to see how uplifting true love can be, and you just had to feel a deep sense of joy that they have found each other, and will remain with each other as they grow old. This is a sense that was not so pertinent with the younger couples.
Is there any difference in the relationship from the time before the wedding, you might ask? "The chips are all in," joked the groom.
There might be no real difference in their lifestyle, but the wedding served to reaffirm to the couple, and tell friends and family, that this love is for real, is lasting, is rare in this day and age, and is something that is to be envied.
I wish them all the very best, and hope that their strong love can somehow spread its aura to overcome all hearts.
Usnisa Sukhsvasti is the features editor of the Bangkok Post.
M.R. Usnisa Sukhsvasti is Bangkok Post’s features editor, a teacher at Chulalongkorn University and a social worker.