We had the great privilege of being invited to the marriage of Raksmey, the young man who heads up the TWR Cambodia Youth Team to his sweetheart Rathmony. It was a wonderful celebration, a beautiful blend of traditions that honoured both the Khmer culture and the Christian culture. The ceremony, which began at 7:00 a.m. was held in the chapel of the Phnom Penh Bible School and of course included breakfast and lunch.
The morning began with the community tradition of each guest carrying in a gift of fruit or food to present to the families of the bride and groom.
Both families then “met” and with the services of an intermediary, negotiated the terms of the marriage. When both families agreed that the marriage should proceed, the mother of the bride brought her out to present her to the groom’s family. The members of the families where then introduced to one another and the congregation. With all of this settled we broke for breakfast and the first of many changes of wedding outfits for not only the couple but for the wedding part as well.
The next session of the ceremony was a pretty traditional western style wedding with a processional, the couple in white and Dad walking the bride down the aisle. After the vows, exchanging of rings and charge to the couple by their pastor; the marriage was sealed with a demur little kiss on the bride’s forehead.
While the next change of clothing took place, the stage was rearranged so that family and guests could present best wishes and a token gift of money to the happy couple.
After lunch, we broke for the afternoon while people went home to prepare for the evening reception which is all about eating, socializing, music and dancing. For the women this was the time to get your make-up done and dress in the most amazing outfits. The bride and groom again changed outfits regularly throughout the evening.