The general procedure to get hitched in the Kingdom is to block off a section of a street, put up a tent, with covered tables and chairs and throw together a kitchen to feed a hundred or so people. Then organize the monks to start to clang and gong and chant at 05:00 for three days. When it is all over, everything is packed up and gone as quickly as it was set up. Simply really.
When we arrived in the massive ballroom we were escorted to the table where Nick’s mother, father and a few other relies were already gathered. A quick glance around the room and I noticed that every – and I mean all – the women were decked out in sequence gowns with professionally done hair and make-up.
And as I don’t do pomp and circumstance very well – or very often – I think I will pass on getting a rhinestone cowgirl outfit. Stiff synthetic fabric with thousands of hand-sewn sequences just isn’t my style.
There were over a thousand guests at the banquet. Uniformed waiters were everywhere. I couldn’t even begin to speculate how much it would have cost. The Khmer tradition is that you give money in an envelope, which is so much more civilized than wading through registers of what to buy the bride and groom. I gave Nick the amount he told me was appropriate.
Without any particular adieu the food and drinks started to appear. And they just kept coming and coming. I had a flash back that I was at a state banquet in the Middle Kingdom. As the food tapered off, the bottle of Johnny Walker – conveniently placed on a circulating lazy Susan in the middle of the table – made the rounds. Waiters kept coming around and dropping ice cubes into the glasses. On the stage at the back of the hall a woman started to sing.
Then there was the grand entry of the bride and groom. I need a good flash for my camera so I didn’t get any good snaps of their outfits – all in sequences, of course – that oozed serious money.
There were a few short speeches and people started to leave.Going out the door I was handed a key ring with three pandas on it as a gift for attending the wedding. A most interesting evening. And now I can tick the “Khmer wedding” box.