With the warmth that summertime brings, so commences wedding season, and countless other momentous life events.
Ample time is dedicated to all the details; from venues, catering, entertainment, and of course, the wedding dress. The wedding dress is oftentimes one of the most important elements to any wedding, and this is certainly no exception for Thai weddings.
Thailand’s weddings are known as some of the most elegant and beautiful events in the world. This especially includes the wedding dresses, which are ornate and specially designed garments that can be noticeably different in each of the 4 regions of Thailand.
Today, we will explain the differences in dresses between the four regions of the country, and explore the influences of neighboring countries and cultures that have impacted the designs of the various regional wedding dresses.
Central Wedding Dresses
Wedding dresses in the central region of Thailand probably have the most variety. Traditional Thai Sabai wedding dresses are typically white and red, with gold sequins and floral patterns embroidered into the fabric. A long sabai cloth covers the floor, and a sarong skirt adorns the bride. Another style is a traditional Thai Wedding Dress, where the bride wears a lace-patterned shirt with puffed sleeves, paired with a white silk skirt. This type of dress has been prominent since the reign of King Rama VI in the early 1900s, and combines aspects of both Thai and Western dress into one garment.
The groom wears a white royal shirt with a cylindrical neck, and long sleeves. For pants, the groom may either wear black dress pants, or a jong kraben, which is a lower body, wrap-around cloth whose twisted ends are pulled between the legs and tucked into the back of the waistband.
Northern Wedding Dresses
Northern Thai wedding dress, also known as “Lanna Wedding Dress,” have been influenced by the cultures of Xishuangbanna, a region of China and Myanmar. The bride’s outfit incorporates the colorful Sabai dress, which can contain various elements. Unlike dresses in the Central region, the pattern will most likely not include sequins placed directly onto the fabric, but rather a hidden striped pattern. The outfit will be worn with a Sarong, and have Sangwan ornaments across the shoulder to stand out against the distinctive pattern of the sarong. During a Northern Thai wedding the groom will wear a dark colored double jong kraben.
Southern Wedding Dresses
Southern Thai wedding dresses are culturally derived from Malaysia and China, and you can definitely see their influences in the patterns. In a Southern Thai “Baba” (wedding,) the bride wears a light-colored lace blouse with long sleeves, a Chinese-style stand-up collar, paired with the same color batik overlaid with a ruffled robe and three “gosang” pins attached to the outer garment. The groom wears a suit with flowers or a brooch decorated with pink tassels on the chest.
Northeastern Thai Wedding Dresses
Wedding dresses in Northeastern Thailand are influenced by, and share similarities with wedding dresses in the neighboring country of Laos. The bride and groom will both wear white shirts with long sleeves, and have a sabai Khit or a silk sabai across the shoulder. Where they differ, the bride and groom will wear different color sarongs during the ceremony. Northeastern sarongs are woven with giant looms, and are communal creations. This is true for most textile pieces that are crafted in this region; a group of women will work on a piece together, creating a high level of detail and intricate designs on the final wedding garment.
While fashion trends in Thailand have changed through the years, you will still see traditional Thai dresses at formal occasions, including weddings. Through the delicate craft of weaving, ethnic groups across Thailand use their special weaving techniques to produce beautiful dresses with differentiating colors, patterns, and designs. Each bridal garment hand-crafted is truly a unique piece of art, and one certainly worth admiring.
And don’t forget about post-wedding planning! Thailand is known internationally as a honeymoon destination that truly has something for everyone; from mountains to beaches, cities to remote islands – Thailand is sure to wow whether you’re planning a relaxing, adventurous, culinary, or spa and wellness honeymoon for two.
Here’s to “I do”!