Lao marriages take place over a period of 2 days. The evening before the ceremony, the bonzes come to bless the future house of the married couple. Later there will be a communal “stag and doe” party for the future spouses. Family and friends will gather to drink and celebrate the event of the next day. The future couple, are supposedly virgins, and are not allowed to sleep together either that night or the following night.
The next day, a procession goes all through the town to tell all the inhabitants about the marriage, then everybody meets up at the future couples house. The man, with help from his friends, has to force the human wall made up of his future wife’s friends, who will only let them through if they are given envelopes of money.
The spouses will meet for a benediction ceremony, during which they will sign the marriage contract in front of witnesses, who will also assist in the handing over of the dowry by the husbands family. Photos will be taken, especially the traditional one of the spouses in the nuptial bedroom, which they will only be able to use for the first time the next day. A huge festival follows in which ther are rarely less than 300 guests.