Just a month ago, I received an invitation to a very special wedding. Dr. Rujadhorn Indratula was marrying Dr. Nattapong Swangmuang. Dr. Rujahorn’s parents were my next-door neighbors during my first three years in Thailand. My sister, Carol, got to know the bride as Ms. Rujadhorn was writing her doctoral dissertation last summer. Carol was in Thailand caring for my mother as I traveled with the New Wilmington Mission Conference Summer Service Team. The bride’s mother, Kuhn Rujira, was the Director of Nursing at McCormick Hospital before she retired. She was a rock, a comforter, and a friend during my mother’s final days, offering advice, solace, and prayer as cancer continued its relentless attack.
It was my first Thai wedding in decades and what a beautiful wedding it was! The bride was lovely in a long white gown. The Maid of Honor was in pink chiffon. There were four little girls in white who spread rose petals on the red carpet leading to the chancel area. Two little boys carried the marriage certificate and the rings. Fresh flowers covered every part of the chancel and decorated the arch that the bride and groom walked through when they entered the church. I caught Kathryn McDaniel and Kuhn Sritong in the floral arch after the service! It was very similar to weddings I have attended or officiated in the USA with one exception: the bride and groom both knelt at the feet of their parents to receive their blessing after they said their vows. I was amazed and honored that they invited me to sing “The Wind Beneath My Wings” as a duet with Mr. Ekkawudt Preeyakraisawn for the ceremony. It was a pleasure to do so AND it gave me a front-row seat!
Afterward, I drove to the reception at the Empress Hotel with Kathryn McDaniel. Once there, we wandered around the entry to the reception dinner, looking at photos of the Bride and Groom taken for their engagement. There was also a floral wall set up for photos of the Bride and Groom with the guests. Inside, a live band played while we ate. We had a seven or eight course meal (an appetizer, two soups, two duck dishes, a chicken dish, other dishes I’ve forgotten, and a dessert). After lots of speeches and words of gratitude to various people and groups, the Bride and Groom cut the cake. Here was another place where Thai weddings differ from those I have attended in the USA: the cake was not a real cake and no wedding cake was served to the guests – with the exception of VIP guests, who did receive a slice of cake. At the end, unmarried women were invited to the front for the Bride to toss her bouquet. She elected not to toss it, but to personally hand it to her Maid of Honor. All in all, it was a wonderful evening and a wedding I’ll not soon forget!
More Photos of the Wedding: