Khmer Wedding: A Complex Festival of Rituals and Rites

Khmer weddings are marvelously complex 3-day festivals of rituals and rites with the bride and groom going through more outfits than a runway model. Unless the couple has saved for many years or have wealthy parents, it can front-end load married life with serious debt.

But as in other cultures, Khmer society has its own way of making these elaborate weddings possible. Khmer wedding places abound where the bride and groom can rent the costumes and most couples do this. The Khmer bride and the groom have one costume each custom made for themselves to keep as part of their wedding souvenirs. The rest are all rented unless of course you are part of the Cambodian elite.

But why all these rites? These rites accompanying a Cambodian Khmer wedding have their origins in ancient Khmer tradition and are binding not only to the two individuals but their families and communities as well so there are serious expenses matching major commitment. The negotiations are conducted between families with grandmas prominently featured in the process. Unless the two families agree, the wedding cannot really take place.

The first Khmer wedding we attended in Cambodia was of this couple in the picture. It was held in the bride's house in the outskirts of the city. The village folks in their fine Khmer costumes were there giving toasts to the bride and groom. It was a big surprise to see the bride and groom changing costumes several times as they went through the many rituals of the wedding.

Note: Pictures in this lens are owned by aesta1, f.llanora and s.kamer. All rights reserved by the owners.Permission granted for publication in this lens.

Traditional Rites in Khmer Wedding

Cambodian Khmer observe traditional wedding rites

Preparing for the Popil Ceremony

© s.khmer. Used with permission.

This picture is of my friend’s wedding. Although the groom has already lived in the United States for years and my friend is far from being conservative, they still followed traditional rituals in their wedding.

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  • KathyT Mar 25, 2013 @ 10:18 am
    I love learning about different cultures, and think attending a Khmer Wedding would be marvelous!

The Khmer Wedding Date

What is Most Auspicious

Cambodian Khmer Wedding

© s.kamer. Used with permission.

Choosing of the appropriate time to marry is quite an elaborate affair among Khmer in Cambodia. They consult fortune tellers, feng shui masters and Buddhist holy monks not only for the best date and time but even on how to prepare the bride’s room, from the bed to the pillows and blankets. The Khmer believe that all these stand permanently in the way to happiness of the would be couple.

To ensure happiness of the couple, the Khmer fortune teller, based on the groom and bride’s age, date of birth and the astrological elements, calculates the best date and time for the wedding. Based on the fortune teller’s findings on numerology or astrology, offerings are made to further enhance the compatibility of the couple. Sometimes, the wedding has to be called off if the stars just can’t be aligned.

In many cases, it is really the wisdom of the fortune teller that prevails. As the wisest of these fortune tellers said, when it is obvious that the bride and groom really love each other, the blessing is given immediately.
The Complete Book of Numerology

Numerology in Khmer Wedding

The numerology master look into the birth dates of the Khmer groom and bride to establish the auspicious date for the wedding. At times, panic sets in when the numerologist says the future bride and groom are not compatible. But not to worry, there are things that can offset this. The master sets out for the families the ritual they need to do to offset the negative elements in the match. There are, however, cases when the master sees major problems and recommends that the wedding be cancelled.

Interested in finding out if your own is auspicious? Here's a book to guide you on how to go about this.

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How Khmer Weddings are Arranged

Watch the Cambodian Grandma Mafia

Parents Arrange Khmer Wedding

© aesta1

Tying the nuptial knots in Cambodia does not only involve the groom and the bride. In fact, many times, they are not hugely involved. Their parents, in particular, the mothers or maybe grandmothers, make all the necessary arrangements.

The families are major participants from the engagement to the wedding. And families can be huge. The tradition is for the groom’s family to visit the bride’s family and ask for her hand in marriage. Then, the formal engagement period starts. When this is done, the Monks and Grandmas conspire to choose an auspicious day for the wedding.

But before the parents meet about this wedding, they first find out about each other’s family background, the character of the person, even the date of birth of the future bride and groom as astrology plays a part in the choice of marriage partners. The grandma mafias dig as far as can be dug and all is reported. When the parents are satisfied that this will be a good match, then, the future groom’s parents approach a middle person to arrange the meeting with the future bride’s parents. Again, much ritual huffing and puffing surrounds the approach. In this meeting, the negotiation is often on the dowry.

Arrangement of Khmer Wedding

Not just the groom and bride

Families with Priest at the Cambodia Khmer Wedding

© s.khmer. Used with permission.

A colleague described how the marriage ramp up was a long, often maddening process. First, when he found his potential lifetime partner, he asked his parents to see the lady’s parents. Sadly for him, when his parents came back, they told him that the girl’s parents did not accept the proposal as they wanted more money than what his parents could afford.

He was disappointed so he went to see the lady and asked her again. He talked to the lady’s grandmother who finally gave her yes. But when the lady’s mother returned, she again put a stop to the wedding.

Meanwhile, through the match maker, another family invited our friend as they wanted him for their daughter. They served him a good lunch and our colleague emphasized that they gave him Tiger beer, a prized commodity in Cambodia at that time as it was imported from Singapore. But our friend insisted to this new approach that he was still in negotiation with the other family and he wanted to keep his word. The first family finally relented and agreed to the marriage (a bird in the hand…etc.) Our colleague has now three children and has learned a great deal about negotiations!

Another colleague, a very good international consultant, told us during a meeting that he finally found the girl he was interested to marry. He saw her once in a gathering but did not approach her. Instead, he started asking people about her and when he found out she was from his village as well, he asked his father to approach the family. The father of the girl asked to first meet our colleague so he could assess him. Our recent update was the proposal was not accepted and our colleague was really hurt. He didn’t know why.

In the past, even the community was involved. From what they knew of the two, the community determined whether they were compatible or not.

This practice is changing now, of course, but in many families, this is still the norm. We just attended an engagement ceremony with all these traditional rites, even though, the bride and groom are graduates of Western universities and occasionally looked somewhat bemused by the process.

Best Tiaras for Khmer Wedding

For every change of costume

The brides in the Cambodian Khmer wedding wear tiaras to match every change in costume. These tiaras will go so well with the beautiful costumes worn by brides at weddings in Cambodia. If you're the bride, become the princess of the day. It's your special day after all.

At the Core of Cambodian Khmer Wedding

The Three Jewels of Buddhism

Khmer wedding Cambodia

© s.khmer. Used with permission.

Cambodian Khmer consider 3 to be an especially auspicious number because of its association with the “three jewels” of Buddhism: the Buddha, the Sangha (brotherhood of monks), and the Dhamma (the Buddha’s teachings). Thus, the 3-day wedding celebration. But, nowadays, many in the urban areas have shortened the ceremony to just 1 day and a half for all the ceremonies that have to be performed. The intrusion of cities and factories and time clocks is having its predictable effect. But in the rural areas, the Khmer still stick to the three days.

Just the engagement alone already requires a full day of celebration from early morning to late at night. I attended one recently and I had to prepare two dresses, one for the morning ceremonies and another for the evening party. But who wants to miss the fun?

Cambodian Khmer Traditional Wedding Rites

Rooted in Cambodian Khmer Ancient Traditions

Khmer wedding

The rites that comprise the wedding ceremony also have their roots in the Khmer ancient traditions.

In the past, there were two venues for the ceremony, the groom’s house referred to as the Vivahamongkul and the bride’s, Avahamongkul. Village life ground to a halt for these events so weddings had to be held in the quiet season for agriculture.

It seems that in the past, Khmer wedding can only be held in 31-day months (May, July, October, December, January, and March) and these cannot be held on their birthdays, religious days, lunar or solar eclipse and Khmer New Year.

Weddings are also not held during the rainy season. In the past, it must have been difficult to organize one.

Traditional Cambodian Khmer Wedding Songs

For each rite in the Cambodian Khmer wedding

Each of the rituals in traditional Cambodian Khmer wedding has its own traditional song and music accompaniment as you can hear in the following videos.

Bridal Shoes for Khmer Wedding

Choices Khmer Brides Can't Resist

The Khmer really dress up for wedding celebrations. Shoes are carefully chosen. The party gowns come out as well as the traditional Khmer attire. As it lasts for 3 days, several outfits and shoes are required for those very close to the family. What is great here in Cambodia is you can have shoes made according to your own design and size and the price will not break your bank account.

Groom's Family in Procession to the Khmer Bride's House

To bring gifts of fruits and sweets

The March of the Grrom to the Bride's House

© s.khmer. Used with permission.

The Khmer groom’s family and community of relations and friends descends early in a well orchestrated procession to the bride’s house bearing meats, fruits, pastries, drinks and desserts of every variety. Depending on their wealth, these trays can really become expensive.This is accompanied by chanting and banging of pots and pans. We had been in some of these processions and felt proud about being part of a big family.

Groom's Family Bringing Gifts to the Khmer Bride's Family

Trays of Fruits and Sweets

Acceptance of the Gifts by the Khmer Bride's Family

Offering fruits and sweets to the Cambodian bride's family

Bringing of Gifts in Cambodian Wedding

© s.khmer. Used with permission.

With his three best men, his family and clan, the groom waits at the entrance of the bride’s house where two banana trees laden with fruits have been placed as pillars.

Wedding Gifts from the Khmer Groom's Family

Trays of fruits and sweets

Cambodian Khmer Groom's Family

Waiting to be received by the bride's family

The groom's family in procession to the bride's house

The groom's family arrives at the bride's house

The groom's family bringing betel nut for the bride's family

The groom's helpers

Cambodia Khmer Wedding Gifts

To the bride's family, enough or not?

Presentation of the Gifts

© s.khmer. Used with permission.

Once these gifts are displayed, the master of ceremonies, a singer cum jester describes the gifts and asks the bride’s family if they are satisfied or they want more. This always causes laughter as the bride’s family always nod their heads in approval of the suggestions of the groom’s…ahhhh cheapness.

This is followed by breakfast of traditional rice porridge (Bor Bor), fruits and sweets with the master of ceremony keeping the guests entertained with folk songs. Here’s how to prepare BorBor.

As guests look on, the bride and groom feed each other. Only after the bride and groom have finished their breakfast will the guests start eating. The real fun is all the children peering through the curtains to catch the action. The giggles are as loud as the singing. Quality Assurance is managed by the Grandmas, of course.

Table for the Cambodian Khmer Wedding Gifts

Uniquely Cambodian

Receiving the Gifts

© s.khmer. Used with permission.

The fully laden trays are neatly arranged inside the bride’s house or on a decorated table outside in a wedding tent.

Rite of Acceptance in the Cambodian Khmer Wedding

The Khmer Bride's Family Welcomes the Groom's Family

The Khmer bride’s family accepts the gifts from the groom’s family and the wedding master of ceremonies cum jester asks the bride’s parents if they are satisfied with the gifts to which the answer is always no to the laughter of everyone present. All good fun. You can see this in the following videos.

Khmer Wedding - Phearin & Leangguek (Part 10)
by PhearinD | video info
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curated content from YouTube

Welcoming the Groom's Family in the Cambodian Khmer Wedding

Khmer traditional greeting ritual

The Bride Greeting the Groom

© s.khmer. Used with permission.

To the chimes of a gong, the bride’s family greets the visitors with the traditional Cambodian greeting Sampeah. Then, an older lady carefully chosen from those who are successful in life and blessed in marriage leads the bride out to welcome the groom. The bride and groom helpers, 3 for each, must come from families with both parents happy with each other. The Khmer believe that these blessings will then be passed on to the bride and groom.

Once the acceptance is made, the Cambodian wedding rites start with the master of ceremonies telling the story of the meeting of the bride and groom and the challenges encountered by the groom’s family in their journey to the bride’s house. This can be good fun as the challenges are often made up now that wars and rivers and dragons don’t get in the way. Each rite in the Khmer wedding is accompanied by a Khmer traditional song.

Honoring Parents in the Cambodian Khmer Wedding

The ritual for honoring parents in the traditional Khmer wedding

Groom's Family bringing Gifts

© s.khmer. Used with permission.

The groom’s family bring in their gifts and the priests present these to the bride’s parents. Meanwhile the bride has gone to her room and stays there until she is called back.

After the groom’s family have presented the gifts of fruits, cakes, vegetables, household items, meat, drinks, sweets and a new set of clothes for the bride and groom, the bride is brought back and together with the groom kneel down in front of the beautifully decorated altar to pay respects to their parents and offer prayers.

Khmer Bride and Groom Place Garlands on Each Other

Another carefully celebrated ritual in the Khmer wedding

Putting of Garland in Khmer Wedding

© s.khmer. Used with permission.

The groom and bride then place garlands on each other after which they walk into the house carrying a silver bowl with flowers from the areca nut tree and other offerings. As they pass, young girls throw jasmine flowers along their path.

The Groom's Traditional Welcome

To the Khmer Bride's Family

The Khmer bride with the older Lady and her three servers

The Khmer bride placing a garland on the groom

The groom placing thr garland on the bride

The greeting of both families

The receiving of the gifts

Monks' Blessing in the Traditional Cambodian Khmer Wedding

More of a private ceremony

wedding cambodia0105

© s.khmer. Used with permission.

The first day is set aside for the bride and groom to ask for blessings from the monks. This is a more private ceremony with only the couple and their families and the village elders present. The bride and the groom and also the family members with them wear the traditional white worn to go to the temple. The blessing takes place in the bride’s house.

After the monks blessing, some families do a Buk Leak ceremony where they hide the red dye and the groom has to search for it.

Blessing the Khmer Bride and Groom

Key Part of the Cambodian Khmer wedding ceremony

Asking for the monks blessing at a Khmer wedding

Praying with the monks at a Khmer wedding

Khmer Bride and groom offering to the monks incense, tea, sugar, milk and money

Khmer Bride and Groom Receiving the wedding blessing from the monks

Monks blessing the bride and groom at a Cambodian wedding

Temple Offering at a Cambodian Khmer Wedding

A very important Khmer wedding ritual

Other Rites in the Cambodian Khmer Wedding

Presentation of the dowry

Wedding Rituals at a Khmer Wedding

© s.khmer. Used with permission.

After the Neay Pream He Kaun Kamlas or the Arrival of the Groom ritual, the presentation of the dowry or the Chambak Roy follows. The song that accompanies this rite tells of the dialogue between the matchmakers, the parents, relatives and friends of the bride.The dowry is currently more in the form of jewelry or money but in the past, it took the form of land such as rice fields, buffaloes and cows.

Master of Ceremonies in the Cambodian Khmer Wedding

A singer-cum-jester

Master of ceremonies at the Khmer Wedding

© aesta1

The master of ceremonies in the Khmer wedding, the singer-cum-jester, and his lady partner directs the wedding event through songs. When they arrive, they say they are from heaven and that they heard the music and the hum of celebration so they decided to come and check this out. They have other songs to present their role and mostly they are funny but very well suited to the occasion. At the reception. they continue to entertain the guests crooning and dancing in a traditional slow rhythmic tune accompanied by a band hired for the occasion.

Master of Ceremonies with his assistant

In action in a Khmer Wedding

Master of Ceremonies Singing Stories

Masters of Ceremonies Acting out Stories

Masters of Ceremonies Making Offering to Parents

Chewing of the Betel Nut

Symbolizes the Agreement Between the Two Khmer Families

Chewing of the Betel Nut in Khmer Wedding

© s.khmer. Used with permission.

Then, the Pak Paeuk Pisa Sla (Inviting the Elders to Chew Betel Nut) follows. This symbolizes the agreement between the two families as they chew betel nut together.

This rite came from the mythical story, Som Sla Kanseng. This is the story of two men who enjoyed feeding their buffaloes together that they wanted so much to become relatives. So, because one had a son and the other, a daughter they decided that they can be related by marriage. To hold each other to their words, they took their betel nuts carefully wrapped in their kroma (scarf) and shared these to chew with each other. This is still more or less what families here do. They choose practically whom their children will marry.

Bongvil PoPil Rite in Cambodian Khmer Wedding

The Seven Rotations Ceremony

Popil Ceremony in Khmer Wedding

© s.khmer. Used with permission.

On the second day, before the sun rises, the groom in traditional attire goes to the spirit house and facing east prays for blessing and asks for good time for the ceremony. Once the sun rises, this is taken as the coming of the good time for the ceremony. The priest hits the gong three times to signal the good time for the ceremony to start. This signals the bride to pray three times in her room to get the blessing and happiness in the future. Then, the priest brings the groom inside the bride’s house accompanied by a traditional Khmer band playing the song, Sdech Yeng which translates to “the coming of the King”.

The groom then stands at the entrance and the priest asks if he can bring the groom inside. All the bride’s relatives have to say, it is alright for the groom to come in. The groom then stands on a small stone at the entrance of the house to symbolize his patience and readiness to forgive. In the past, the priest calls the bride’s lady assistant to bring water in a tal (a traditional Khmer water container) and wash the groom’s feet and gives him the betel in a handkerchief. Then, she ushers the groom to sit down while the bride goes back to her room. At present, the bride does this ritual of washing the groom’s feet. The Khmer believe that this ritual will ensure that they become steadfast in their marriage in spite of problems.

Then the groom takes the betel to the parents and bows three times followed by offering Kasla flowers to the bride’s parents and relatives accompanied by the song, Pha Theay, calling the bride out to sit with the groom and the parents and relatives. Then, the gong is hit again and the musician shouts out, Chey Hong Sur Hong and Sok Hong (success and happiness in everything) and the others follow. Then, the bride comes out and sits beside the groom.

At this point, the priest invites persons who have good background and marriage to sit around the bride and groom. Once they are seated, he asks the parents of the bride and groom to light the first candles and give these to the bride and groom. Then, the priest blesses them three times and then passes on the candles to the left 19 times. After the seventh time, the lighted candles are blown off and placing the betel leaves on top, the smoke is guided towards the bride and groom who breathe the smoke in as blessing for a future of deep love for each other.

The PoPil (Formerly Popi meaning 2 blessing) ceremony comes with two blessing, one from the god Eyso and the goddess, Okma Pheak Vatey, for the couple to have many healthy children. This is still strongly practiced because the Cambodian king, Jayasurya was a student of Eyso and he promoted this practice all throughout the kingdom.

The ceremony continues with the singing of Mouan Rongneav (chicken crow) or Phat Jeay or Lomneang. The musician then takes the sword out with the shouts of Chey Hong Sur Hong and Sok Hong and then sings, Daov Euy Daovdek (Sword). The holding of the sword at the Khmer wedding came from this mythical story of a high ranking knight in the Peareansey Palace who deposited a bar of gold as a dowry for the lovely daughter of a villager and with it his promise to return in three months to marry her. Three years after, he failed to come so the villager married his daughter to a neighbor. On the night of the wedding, the Knight appeared and killed the groom so since then to dismiss all bad things, the sword is worn at the wedding.

Blessing from Parents and Elders

On the Cambodian bride and groom

Blessing from the Community

An important Cambodian wedding ritual in the past

Blessing from the Community for the Khmer Bride and Groom

© s.khmer. Used with permission.

In the past, weddings are community affairs. People come and bring their produce. But during the ceremony, they give advice to the couple given what they know of them. They advise them on how they can make their strengths and weaknesses work in harmony so their marriage becomes lasting. The community takes weddings very seriously as they take responsibility when the marriage does not work.

Today, the ceremonies have relegated this community responsibility mostly to giving money in an envelope. The ancient wedding rites have been replaced by global trends and somehow commerce has taken its core. Many though still follow the basic tenets of their culture.

Tying of the Red Thread at the Cambodian Khmer Wedding

Giving of Blessing and Advice

Holding of the Sword at Cambodia Khmer Wedding

© s.khmer. Used with permission.

After the Popil ceremony, the priest ties the thread around the hands of the groom and bride and gives them blessing and advice. Then, the parents do the same thing. As the bride and groom’s wrists are tied, this song, Bay Khon Chang Dai is sung: “We tie three strings to each wrist of our children. We wish for true happiness and success to this couple, who will always be together like wet grass seeds. We tie your left wrist to make you remember your parents. We tie your right wrist to make you carry on the family lineage and traditions.” Then both parents come to tie again followed by relatives who at the same time give money for the bride and groom.

Then, the groom and the bride stand up and the groom holds the bride’s scarf with one hand and the sword on the other. The bride holds a container with rice and both walk inside the room. Then the song, Prek Thong Neangneak (King Prince and Princess of the Dragon). Then the gong is hit to signal the end of this part of the wedding.

Tying of the Thread at the Khmer Wedding

Watch this on video

A traditional rite in Khmer wedding.

Cambodian Khmer Bride and Groom Asking for Blessing

Blessing from Ancestor Spirits

Asking for Blessing from Ancestor Spirit in a Khmer Wedding

© s.khmer. Used with permission.

Close relatives give rings or chains in addition to the usual words of advice and wishes of happiness, prosperity, good health, success, and love. The praises are acknowledged and witnessed by the loud sound of the gongs and joyful cheer.

The Exchange of Rings

Between the Cambodian Khmer bride and groom

Exchange of Rings in Khmer Wedding

© s.khmer. Used with permission.

Wedding Rings in a Cambodian Khmer Wedding

Beautifully Presented

The Rings at Khmer Wedding

© s.khmer. Used with permission.

Hair Cutting Ceremony in Cambodian Khmer Wedding

A Traditional Wedding Rite

khmer wedding

© s. kamer. Used with permission.

Breakfast is followed by the hair-cutting ceremony, a traditional rite handed down from the old days not only to make merry at the wedding but to symbolize the new life the couple are getting into. In the past, the hair-cutting was for real. The master of ceremonies and his partner pretend they are angels who heard the singing from heaven and they came to partake of the celebration. They bring a bottle of perfume and a jeung bin (tray) with a pair of scissors.

Nowadays, a mock hair cut is staged. The bride and groom are seated on decorated chairs. The master of ceremony then teases them adding to the delight of those present. Carrying a tray with scissors, a comb and a bottle of hair spray, the first person given the honor to cut their hair pretends to clip the bridegroom. Then, she retrieves a gold ring from the hair which had earlier been placed there by the monk. She does the same to the bride after which the hair spray is used. Other elders repeat this same ritual. Retrieving the gold ring signifies the couple’s prosperity in life.

Khmer hair cutting ceremony on video

It is a traditional Cambodian wedding rite still practiced today

Modern or Traditional Wedding

What do you prefer?

Planning your wedding? Do you want your wedding to be traditional or modern?

Do you want a traditional or modern wedding?


Traditional wedding

MSchindel says:

My wedding was mostly traditional with some modern twists. Everyone - including my husband and I - thought it was beautiful and authentic and we and our guests all had a lovely time!

KathyT says:

I've had a traditional wedding, and it seemed right at the time. :)


I preffer traditional

patgoltz says:

I wanted a traditional American wedding. That's what we had. It must have worked. We have been married for 47 years.

wattyan says:

Traditional wedding is better.

Modern wedding

elynmac says:

I think if I had to do a ceremony again, I would do a mix like I did last time!

jonathanwm says:

I prefer modern wedding as it is a little bit simple

maryLuu says:

I had a wodding half traditional and half modern. This way I made peace between generations.


Modern weeding with just s little bit of tradition.

MizzMary says:

Personally, I'll take my own wedding in Vegas with Dolly and Elvis. These are beautiful traditions you have outlined, and I added "attend Khmer Wedding" to my bucket list

view all 27 comments

Cambodian weddings are for families

And the communities as well

The Cambodian groom and bride in Western clothes.

The bride and groom with families and friends

The bride and groom greeting guests

The wedding reception

The bride and groom with friends

Cambodian Khmer Wedding Invitation

Envelopes Properly Accounted for

The Money Collectors at a Khmer Wedding

© aesta1

In this picture, you see the table with heart boxes at the back of the reception room. This is where the invitation envelopes which you fill with money go. Members of the family assigned open the envelopes and list in the book the names of the guests and how much each of them gave. This book will be kept for generations and it gets consulted when invitations for weddings come. Whatever the family who invited them gave in their own family’s wedding, the same amount will be placed in the envelope.

A friend planning his wedding wanted to put a dragon in gold, a symbol of power and this horrified the others as it should have a symbol of love.

The letters are usually in gold and inside is the map of the place where the reception will be held.
The envelope with your name is where you are to put your money for the bride and groom. The amount usually depends on the status of the one getting married signified by his job, position in the office, status of the family and closeness of the relationship. Some add more when the food served is good so they wait until they have finished eating before putting their envelopes in the carefully embellished box. But make sure your name gets into the record. When your own children marry, this record will be reviewed for appropriate contribution.

Cambodian Khmer Bride and Her Attendants

Welcome Guests to the Reception and Giving them Wedding Favours

Cambodian Khmer Groom and His Attendants

Welcoming the Guests to the Reception

Cambodian Khmer Wedding Cake

Looks yummy

Wedding Cake at Khmer Wedding

© aesta1

This is more of a Western tradition influencing a Khmer wedding.

Cambodian Khmer Wedding Reception

Wedding Places for Khmer Wedding

Khmer Wedding Reception Cambodia

© aesta1

A feast follows and more songs and dances for everyone’s entertainment. Just before the reception, the couple and their entourage go to nearby parks or the palace grounds often turned out in western wedding gown and tuxedo to have pictures taken. A classic media event.

It must be noted that many families have already shortened this event to a day and a half compressing the rites. However, lately, as more Khmer want to show what the family has achieved, the three days seem to be observed again.

These days, there are wedding places hosting these celebrations convenient for families, so both ceremonies have been merged. Now, they have all the rites in one day. However, the rules are still followed as written in the book of Oknha Mahamontrey Nhek Nov, Khmer Wedding Rules. Okhna Nov wrote that the rites are arranged according to the rules drawn up by King Preay Chey Chesda Thebdey who interestingly related these rites to mythical stories.

Listening to the stories of the younger generation makes one know that this tradition will live on for some time and the Grandmas are perched like warrior Phoenixes just waiting to pounce on any breach.

Celebration at a Cambodian Khmer Wedding

Khmer Weddings are huge celebrations

Big wedding reception hall

Ladies in gowns and gentlemen in tuxedoes line up to receive guests at the wedding reception.

Entrance to the wedding reception hall

A big wedding reception

Once the table is filled up with guests, service starts.

Khmer Wedding reception

Parents welcoming guest to the Khmer wedding reception

Big Khmer wedding reception

Another big Khmer wedding reception

A Cambodian wedding feast

On video

Each time we are at a Khmer wedding reception, it always amazes us at how pragmatic it is. Khmer families have to attend during the peak wedding season several receptions in one evening. They split to the various occasions but sometimes this is not possible. Many last night came from the office straight to the reception. To make it easy for many families, as guests arrive they are ushered to a table and once this table is filled up, service starts.

There is no head table as the parents and the bride and groom are there at the door receiving guests, having pictures taken or saying goodbye to those who came early. In the reception hall, service continues and when the table is done, signalled by the soup at the end, the guests leave and new guests claim the table. No one other than the families of the bride and groom lingers. We left our place at 5 and were home by 7:20 pm. We thoroughly enjoyed it. By the way, in this video, you can see the grandmas at work.

by Mary Norton | video info
0 ratings | 165 views
curated content from YouTube

Cambodian Khmer Wedding Ceremony

A Victory for the Khmer Culture

Khmer Wedding in Phnom Penh

The colourful Cambodian wedding ceremony is a well of tradition and remains an exhausting experience. But for most Cambodians, such nuptials represent more than a nod to the traditions of the past.

Each marriage here in Cambodia is a victory for their culture, a promise to their families and a commitment to the future.

Other Cambodian Traditional Rituals

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  • sheilamarie Jul 23, 2014 @ 4:25 pm
    Traditions hold so many deep meanings that the modern approach lacks. However, what would a poor family do in face of these traditions?
  • richard1988 Jul 09, 2014 @ 8:39 am
    Wow I had no idea so much effort and preparation went into these weddings, and I really loved learning more about the traditions - especially the two families becoming one - I thought the chewing of the nut was amazing and the food trays looked divine! Excellent lens :)
  • Wordwinder Apr 09, 2014 @ 8:58 am
    A traditional Khmer wedding is almost like its Indian counterpart. It must be so because the two cultures share a common heritage. Your lenses are always so detailed and well-presented. It is a pleasure viewing them.
  • kinworm Mar 05, 2014 @ 4:07 am
    What a beautiful and colorful way to have a wedding. I loved the gifts of fruit and sweets that is a lovely idea. A Khmer wedding looks like the best type of wedding to me.
  • FreshStart7 Feb 25, 2014 @ 7:57 pm
    I think that traditions are important. It was good of your friends to have a traditional wedding despite his having lived in the uS for a number of years.
  • aesta1 Feb 28, 2014 @ 8:36 pm
    So many Khmer still do this even when they are in other countries.
  • Vellur Feb 17, 2014 @ 10:05 am
    Enjoyed reading about Khmer wedding. I loved the Khmer jewelry, they look beautiful. Great lens.
  • aesta1 Feb 28, 2014 @ 8:37 pm
    They do and they are all hand made.
  • LiteraryMind Sep 13, 2013 @ 7:47 pm
    The costumes and colors of the decorations are absolutely beautiful.
  • d-artist Jul 25, 2013 @ 10:24 am
    The keeping of a tradition...and what amazing colors! Looks like a wedding I'd like to attend...

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