Thursday 14 July 2011

Our wedding in Cambodia.....

We got married in December 2003, before the blogging world took off and well, before I knew what a blog was! I have mentioned our wedding here a couple of times, usually around our anniversary but with it being just after Christmas and before new Year it gets swapped by other things. Anyway, after a discussion on FB and at the plea of some friends I thought I would do an out-of-the-blue post about our wedding!
Well, you know I am from the UK and my other half is Japanese, when we decided to get married we had the problem of where to have the wedding, if we had it here, my lot would be upset and if we had it in the UK his lot would be upset. We looked on a map and found Afghanistan was roughly half way but to be honest we didn't really fancy that. So, we decided on Cambodia, as you do. This wasn't a totally random choice, we had been there for the millennium and fell in love with it so we thought it would be perfect. We also had a posh meal with my husbands family and an insane fairy tale costume party in the UK with my friends and family but I will save that for another day.

this is a long post, you might want to stick the kettle on...

We booked in at the Angkor Village Hotel, we had been there for the theatre night so we knew it was lovely. The manager of the hotel put me in touch with BoBo the Driver and so all the arrangements were done through him via email. Surprisingly, it all turned out fine.

We paid $10 for the flowers and there were loads of them, this is just one of the many bouquets. I was amazed because when I went with BoBo to order them it was a ramshackle hut with a freezer in it, in the freezer were half a dozen sad looking flowers, certainly not all the gorgeous ones we ended up with.


The day started early, my uncle arrived just in time after arriving in Cambodia in the early hours the day before. We had actually got paper (legally) married in Japan before we left because it made life much easier. The ceremony was a traditional Cambodian Buddhist one and we had NO idea what to expect. We have 5 monks and 9 nuns who were all very funny and it was held in the hotels traditional theatre.

Part of the ceremony was for fertility, we had to take the coconut flower, that long green thing in the picture above and pull all the insides out...

When we were done it look like this... then all the nuns broke the insides into tiny pieces and my husband and I sat in the middle of the circle whilst the nuns and monks chanted and everyone threw the pieces of flower at us. I had it down my dress, in my hair...

After we were covered in coconut flower bits we exchanged rings...

They are the nuns in the background, they had be a bit worried because they kept talking about having children, lots of children. The dress I designed myself and had it sewn by a Japanese seamstress in Tokyo, she said she couldn't do the beading so I did it myself, the first time I have ever beaded anything. Then I made the headband to match.

Once the ceremony was over we had a Khemer Apasara dance performance put on for us, the girls are so beautiful.


Group photo with a difference, you don't usually get the entertainment on the group pic at a wedding do you?

After all that we had brunch at the hotel restaurant, they set the table out by the pond and because it was brunch we missed the other guests staying at the hotel and pretty much had the place to ourselves.

The cake, yes, it has been a point of amusement ever since. Bobo took me a couple days before to a Cambodian equivalent to a 7/11, there were bags of grain, bottles of beer, washing detergent some live chickens and a cook book from the 1960's The shop owner asked me to pick a cake, I just picked one with the same colour theme that we had gone with and asked for no writing or candles, as you can see, she ignored me. I wish I had a picture of the book because the cake looks exactly like it. Tasted OK too.

We didn't want to be out in the heat in the middle of the day of so we kicked back and relaxed.

Then took some pictures in and about the hotel. My best friend Di made it as did my mom and step-dad and uncle Si, who is only 4 years older than me.

Uncle Si was designated photographer, that was my only regret, not getting a professional photographer in, it would have meant Si didn't have to try and juggle three cameras and a video, he didn't do a bad job though.

Once it cooled down a bit we headed out to Angkor Wat for photo's, we wanted to have the ceremony there but it would have meant bribing officials to do so. We decided we didn't like that idea and instead gave the money to the school that Bobo's daughter attended. The red string around my wrist was part of the ceremony, hubby had one too.

Trying to get a shot without the swarm of kids selling postcards was quite tricky! We also had a lot of tourists taking pictures, it seems odd to think that we are in peoples photo albums that we don't even know. The kids kept shouting 'hello beautiful lady' and loads of people smiling, waving and shouting congratulations.

This picture makes me giggle, my mom and Di were both walking around barefoot - high heeled shoes are not suitable foot wear for ancient ruins and uncle Si looks like some random backpacker who wandered onto the photo for a laugh.

This is one of the few pictures I managed to take, I don't like being in front of the camera, much happier behind the lens.

So, as if that wasn't enough excitement, we then went on elephant back to the top of the mountain so that we could watch the sunset, ohhh romance...

Can you spot my shoes hanging off the back of the elephant saddle? I would have lost them otherwise.


We had forgotten that to see the sunset you have to actually climb up the temple, so it was off with the shoes, my stockings were ruined, thank you Di for this lovely shot! Should have made him carry me up.


made it!

Then back down on the elephants which was pretty scary since I was wearing a satin under skirt and kept sliding forward. This picture looks so much better in sepia, like some 1900's explorers.

No, we still haven't done. It was back to the hotel where I got changed then it was to the lobby for cocktails.

Uncle Si tried to pretty himself up, a tough job, but it worked since he met his current partner whilst in Cambodia.

Then it was dinner by the swimming pool under the gazebo. The French chef was brilliant, he tailor made menu's and the food was delicious.

We had a bit of a butterfly theme going on, I made fans with the schedule on one side and the wedding announcement on the other, butterfly confetti and place names. I also had tiny gold butterflies in my hair.

It was a very long day but certainly the most exciting wedding that I have been to, not that I am biased or anything. I'm not so sure taking all the guests on honeymoon was the best idea though...


  1. Wow Jo! What an amazing wedding adventure you had! Such lovely memories!

    Thanks for sharing them on your blog! I loved all the fabulous pictures and reading about your beautiful love story! :)

  2. What an awesome wedding! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Lovely, and natsukashiiii. My husband (Japanese) and I met in Laos in 1997 (and went to Cambodia, too, among many other places). Now I'm wishing we got married there, too. We never had a real wedding, and my 4 yo is convinced we're not really married.


  4. I like your wedding! totally different from us! we got married in Kensington and Chelsea office in LOndon with 2 witnesses.After we headed to the Goring Hotel in Belgravia for tea. No regrets not to have our parents with us. Our daughter was born the same day 6 years later;)

  5. Amazing! Beautiful! I'm exhausted just thinking about it :)

  6. That sounds like an AWESOME wedding!!! I totally want to hear more about the fairy tale costume party as well though!!! :-)

  7. what an amazing and special wedding! Thank you so much for sharing so much cultural details.

  8. Very excited! U r a beautiful and lucky lady!

  9. Hi there, sound exciting got married in Cambodia and is really nice to have it at Angkor Wat. I just got married last year at Phnom Penh, Cambodia with a Cambodian man! Nice to know that there is someone out there who loves about Cambodia.




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