San Francisco Bay Area Wedding Photographer: Ronald & Vi Part I: The Cambodian Khmer Ceremony
How do I even begin to talk about Ronald & Vi? Not only are they the kindest, warmest couple you could possibly hope to meet, (and their families were no different!), but Vi made an almost impossibly beautiful bride. The two of them dated briefly in high school, but had parted ways to go to college, only to rekindle their relationship after graduation. Not your traditional high-school sweetheart story, but all the more amazing for it.
Ronald’s family is Cambodian, and Vi’s is Vietnamese, so their wedding happened in two stages – A Cambodian ceremony (three days compressed into one!) at Ronald’s parent’s house one Saturday, and then a Vietnamese ceremony and reception the following weekend. I felt so lucky to get to know both of them and their families – especially Ronald’s awesome sister who was just the cutest thing imaginable, and his best man who totally saved the day – but more on that with the next installment! Suffice it to say that Vi’s description of the wedding as “5 different ceremonies, 5 beautiful outfits, tons of food, and close family and friends. I couldn’t have asked for a better first wedding!” was dead-on.
This was my first Cambodian wedding, which was really interesting and lot of fun – especially the outfits! There were a series of different ceremonies, beginning with a dowry processional by the groom and his family, followed by a ceremony to honor their ancestors, a “hair-cut” ceremony to cleanse them of their former lives and ready them for a new life together, a blessing by Buddhist monks, a candle blessing, a tying of the knots ceremony (during which the couple knelt together as guests tied red strings around their wrists as the guests threw showers of white seeds at them), a ceremony where the groom holds a sword in one hand and the bride’s scarf in the other as they walk in three circles to the bedroom, where they then feed each other fruit, and then finally, a folding of the mat ceremony that marks the end of the wedding ceremony. Each ceremony was presided over by a Chao Maha and a traditional singer who helped narrated the story of each event. Between each ceremony, the bride, groom, and wedding party changed outfits five times, with coordinating color schemes. A team of dressers was on hand to change them quickly, while guests took breaks to eat and relax (and even nap in a quite spot!).
I’ll save the rest of my congratulations for the next chapter… coming soon! All the best, you two!