I hope this finds y’all all healthy and hopefully not quarantined! I’ve been stressing out about getting everyone updated! There’s so much to write about that it was overwhelming! So I decided I’d break it up into smaller sections, and post them as they get done. Here is the first of many (hopefully)!
In the last month we’ve been to two weddings. These were the first weddings that we were invited to the ceremony. (Here they only invite close friends and family to the wedding ceremony in the morning, then later in the evening, neighbors and other acquaintances come for the reception)
The first wedding was quite interesting not only because it was the first ceremony we were involved in, but also the boys got asked to be the groomsmen! It tickled me to see the guys in the traditional clothes! The groom was one of our staff members and comes to our church. His girlfriend lives close to two hours away, and the ceremony started at 7 o’clock, so we had to get up at 4 to get ready and left at 5. Despite the cold, I enjoyed watching the stars from the back of the truck! We don’t see many stars where we are because of the city lights.
I loved watching the ceremony, it was so rich in tradition. They had a very traditional Khmer wedding, but they also implemented God into it very much! They often set up tents and have the ceremony at the bride’s house. Once we got to her place they ushered us in. Every chair had a golden bowl setting on it with fruit or food of some kind wrapped in it. After about five minutes, everybody got up and walked down the road away. They call this part the “fruit walk” (traditionally the groom and friends would bring fruit to the bride’s family as a gift of acceptance). Everyone forms a line of two, walking beside someone with the same kind of food that your bowl has… the groom and groomsmen led the procession back to the bride’s house. When we got back to the brides house, her family met with the groom and they checked to make sure it was the correct house and the correct bride and groom, since all was correct, the fruit was given to the bride’s family.
After the fruit walk everyone was served shrimp rice Porridge for breakfast, with a side of loud music!
Later, two pastors, advocates for the bride and groom, asked the witnesses if the couple kept themselves pure. Some of the fruit that was brought was then put into two trays, given to the two families to taste, to make sure it is real fruit and that it tasted good. The actual ceremony asked a lot of the questions that a Christian wedding would have at home, if they’ll commit for life in prosperity or poverty, health or sickness.
One of my favorite parts was when they washed their parent’s feet to show their respect and thankfulness to them. Before they washed their feet they thanked them for what they did for them. It was emotional for both of them since both bride and grooms fathers are not living. So she had an Uncle stand in, he had his older brother stand in for the entire ceremony. They had a couple special prayers for the couple, then we finally ate lunch! Then everyone went home to rest and get ready for the reception.
At 4 o’clock guests that were invited for the reception started to arrive. The wedding party stood in the entrance welcoming the guests and handing out favors. They served 6-7 different courses, fish, beef, chicken, beef salad with ants (it was good!), soup, and a tapioca-lotus seed dessert! All accompanied with loud music! Sophon tried to get them to turn it down but they kept turning it back up! No alcohol was served, which was an answered prayer for the Sophon!
By the time we left, I had a throbbing headache from dehydration, the heat and the loud music!
The second wedding was my friend Sreynit, the only other youth aged girl at our church. She got married to one of the staff guys. There is a bit of an age difference between the two, her only being 17 or 18. It was quite a surprise to hear that they were engaged! It was a bit hard for me to grasp, especially since she’s only a bit older than me! Their engagement was just over a month too!
The day before the wedding, Hong called dad and asked if dad could have a blessing prayer for them, he also said that we are supposed to be there at 8. Well, at 7 frank called and asked why we’re not there yet, it’s going to start any minute. Then we rushed! Once we got there everyone was lined up but thankfully they hadn’t started yet! It seemed like they picked the hottest and most humid day of the week to get married! Thankfully the church house had ac in it so it was bearable for a small part of the time. Sreynit’s wedding was very different from Sophon’s! Instead of having the fruit put on trays, they had a pastor and his daughter walk/dance up the isle and “picked” the fruit as they went. It’s interesting seeing different ways of doing it! They family then tasted the fruit (and made sure it wasn’t fake). Both parties were satisfied, so everyone went outside and ate rice Porridge together! We thought the music was loud at Sophon’s wedding but I think this was even louder! We were lucky to sit decently far away from the wall of speakers for breakfast! Their service was more westernized than Sophon’s, Sreynit walked up the isle on her father’s arm and wore a white dress (one thing very different from an american one was that all the bridesmaids wore white too). I sat in on a bit of it but most of the time I was out in the scorching heat, taking care of Selah. The poor girl was tired and the heat and loud music didn’t help! Poor Forrest took a couple too many turns on the merry-go-round, he declared that he’s NEVER going to ride one again! Their reception was at a restaurant later in the evening. They had lots of good sea food, octopus, shrimp, fish and seaweed salad, and a couple things that we are not sure of what it was!
Speaking of all these weddings, we are going to be having a wedding in our family this year! Luke and Stephanie are engaged!We are all super excited for them…
Till next time…
~Heather for the Helmuths~