I was invited to a wedding celebration for my Cambodian friend Mongkheang and his new wife Kanha. I’m not any sort of expert on Cambodian weddings, or even American ones, so I can’t make any generalizations about this one, other than to say that, although it appeared to be extremely opulent and lavish…Kanha assured me that it was actually pretty middle-of-the-road. Amazing. The whole event was much more like seven or eight different weddings….it took a full day (7am until 10pm) and then another half day (7am until about 2pm), about a thousand meals were served, the bride had about eight different outfit changes (complete with a team of hairdressers, makeup artists, dressers, handmaiden and the works) while the groom had about five. Each outfit was as ornate and exotic as any white wedding dress, with detailed tailoring, lots of jewelry and pomp. There was a 6-piece band, with a supporting 4 piece-band, dancers and a comedian, an MC, several different teams of caterers, a massive sound system, and the wedding was attended by hundreds of guests who each had several changes of clothes and who drank beer, ate food, and milled about for the best part of 36 hours.
Here are some photos of the event. It really was a massive production, and Monghkeang and Kanha hung in there under the hot lights like champs. Congrats to the newlyweds!
These first shots are from arriving the night before to get oriented. A caterer is setting up the tent (which later got massive) and building the stage set. The kids from the families were playing…they become a regular gang during the event.
Then the wedding day arrived. We arrived early to watch the attendees stream in. Mongkheang was a bit stressed with anxiety, but he got so busy that it passed.
The first ‘program’ was the Fruit Walk. Everyone went outside with a bowl of fruit or beer or whiskey, then marched back in as a procession, placing their offerings on a different table.
The second program was a dance and offering some things to the parents of the bride and groom.