i am still reeling from the amazing thai buddhist blessing wedding ceremony for peter + mary last weekend…it was so beautiful, so full of tradition and love, and such an embodiment of the devotion and commitment that defines marriage.
guests gathered outside of the wat yarnna rangsee buddhist monastery to bear witness to a series of blessing ceremonies that were rooted in both buddhist and folk traditions.
the buddhist ceremony: peter + mary bowed before the image of the buddha as the monks of the monastery looked on. together they recited buddhist prayers and chants, lit candles and incense before the image, and made offerings of flowers to the monks. they were each anointed with three white dots on their foreheads, made of powder and blessed by the monks. afterwards, the couple entered the monastery to present offerings of food to the monks – their first “act of merit” or good deed, performed together. this action served to link their good deeds together and signifies that they are destined to be together forever.
during the ceremony the couple performed every act simultaneously, and in perfect unison – a further demonstration of their newly joined lives. buddhists believe that when you meet someone and are meant to be together, you fall in love, and become a couple, because you have done this together in your past life as well. in turn, joint merits performed in this life ensure your future together beyond this life. in this way, love never ends.
the groom’s processional: peter and his family gathered at the entrance to the monastery and began their “entrance” – thai drums beating alongside him, peter led the way, with everyone chanting, singing, and dancing behind him…guests lined their path clapping and cheering them on. when peter reached the archway where mary waited with her parents, he had to find a way to “pay his way” in order to “pass through”…he dug in his pockets searching for adequate gifts! it was hilarious! everyone helped him out, he was allowed to pass, and greeted his bride enthusiastically with a kiss…
holy thread blessing: at this point the couple knelt side by side while white yarn headpieces called monkols were placed on the crown of their heads. connected to each other by a string, this holy looped thread is a symbol of unity and matrimony and “binds” them together as a couple. a puang malei, or floral lei, was also placed around the neck of both the bride and groom.
water blessing ceremony: using the sacred conch shell, guests took turns pouring blessed water over the hands of the bride and groom – a sign of respect and love, and an opportunity to intimately congratulate them.
afterwards, guests were treated to an expansive arrary of home-cooked thai food, and karaoke by members of the family!
to peter + mary: thank you so much for allowing me to witness such an incredible event; i feel so lucky to have documented your day. it was a beautiful ceremony and a truly memorable experience that i will treasure always. best of luck in your newest adventure: married life!