If you can attend a wedding celebration on your Burma tour. It is great! There are two phases to a wedding – the nuptial and the reception. The nuptial usually takes place in the home, the reception at home or in a hotel. The nuptial ceremony and reception are sometimes combined in a hotel. The reception sometimes takes the form of an adjunct to the offering of merit meals to monks in a monastery.
Things You Should Do at the Hotel Wedding in Myanmar
Dress in a business suit
You will find that a hotel wedding is all glitter and glitz. Wedding guests come in all their finery. This means in their “wedding best” clothes and jewelry of diamonds, rubies, sapphires, assorted Mogok precious stones, their own or borrowed. The bride is dressed in the costume of a court maiden-in-waiting and the bridegroom puts a gaung-baung on his head. This is the one occasion when people “show off’.
It is wise for you to attend in a business suit.
Be prepared to spend an hour
Guests arrive a quarter-hour before the invited time. If they arrive punctually they may get the seats which provide a poor view of the wedding couple or be ushered into a side room. The bride and groom enter about a half hour or forty minutes later. The reception addresses take a quarter-hour after which you are served tea. The chief guests who have garlanded the bride and groom depart about twenty minutes later when all guests get up to leave. All this has taken an hour or more. Likely more. By which time you are absolutely bored, the conversation being impossible with others at the table because of the ear-splitting music provided by a live band.
Send a gift
It would be a nice gesture to send a small gift to the home or to take it along with you to the wedding hotel where you will be received by the parents.
What to Do in Home Wedding of Burmese People
Because it is a wedding which is not in a hotel but at home doesn’t mean the guests don’t dress as well as to the hotel. The difference is that your invitation would be at the reception rather than to the nuptial ceremony. So, the bride would be in the modern dress, not court costume, and the groom would not wear the gaung-baung. But you still need to wear that business suit.
A home wedding reception is a grade less formal than a hotel wedding. It is more relaxed. The music is less ear-splitting. You don’t need to arrive a quarter-hour early. It is more possible to greet other guests. You can leave earlier than at a hotel wedding.
Two more functions
There are two functions that follow the nuptial ceremony and the wedding reception. One is the wed- ding dinner which follows the reception. This dinner is only for close relatives and friends of the family who are invited specifically. It is usually a “wet party” with drinks flowing freely.
The other function takes place the next morning either at home or in a monastery. This is the offering of merit meal to monks, performed to gain merit for the couple at the beginning of their married life.
Greet, eat, chat and leave
What you do at a monastery reception is simple. You come into the monastery. You will usually not need to take off your shoes because the presiding monk would have permitted the wearing of shoes. You greet the new couple and their parents. You sit at a table of your choice or one that is indicated. You will be served a full meal. You eat. You chat with other guests at your table or you get up to greet and converse with other guests you may be acquainted with. You then say goodbye to the newly-weds and you leave.
People don’t dress so richly for a monastery reception. If the weather is warm for a suit, it will be all right to go in long sleeves and a necktie.