Here's our tip: If you EVER get invited to a Cambodian wedding here is a step by step guide on what to do next...
1. Stop what you are doing immediately
2. Clear anything you have on your calendar to make room for this event (this may or may not be limited to the birth of your own child. Okay okay. You can miss it for that I guess).
3. Find whatever means necessary for funding and book your plane, train, or car to get to this event. You DO. NOT. WANT. TO. MISS. THIS.
Seriously. This was our first Cambodian wedding, and there was simply nothing that could have prepared us for what to expect on the day. I knew the customs to watch for. The order of ceremony. The important bits. What we weren't expecting was how much fun and love went into the whole day. Unlike western ceremonies, for this event you did not have to be a captive audience which is great for two reasons. One, its a more relaxed atmosphere. No one is going to frown at you for getting up to take a break or grab a stuffed banana leaf. The other reason is that the ceremony is 6 hours. Minimum. That's right. At least six hours and six outfit changes for the bride and groom. Here are some of our favorite moments from the day along with some commentary on just what the heck is going on...
The amount of food presented and laid out for the event was amazing. Chickens, ducks, an array of fruits and veggies. Some were exotic like lychee and oh yeah.....a pig. You'll see him in just a few photos.
Sarah and Pan's garments were made custom for them, but at the same time they weren't. Sarah told me that she was able to choose the colors and a few of the styles prior to the wedding. Regardless it was so interesting to see the two ladies in charge of dressing them tug, pull, tuck, and safety pin their way to a perfect fit.
Pan and all the guest parade down the street carrying all the food and necessary items for the day.
Throughout the day there were so many fun parts that were purely ceremony. Like this for instance. The is the minister walking up to Sarah's parents house to ask if there are any single girls available to get married today. Her dad had some fun with it :)
Pan asking Sarah's father what he would like in exchange for his daughter. Mark's response was not something Pan was expecting. He told him "One Sacagawean dollar". After a bit of shock, Sarah's sister burst into the room with just that!
Our friend Mr. Pig!
They are not actually cutting hair. It's the ceremonial hair cutting. Not actual (I had to ask before it started). This was one part of the day where everyone participated. Guest took turns pretending to groom Sarah and Pan and then showing them their handy work in a mirror. It was hilarious. Some guests let just say took liberties.
The minister was having a little difficulty reaching the candles to light them and we were all becoming concerned that the carpet was going to catch fire. Josh graciously leaned in and helped out. Of course he had to document this.
Each guest took turns tying their wrists with beautiful red thread.
This was my favorite part! Guests showered Sarah and Pan with seeds and petals.