Cultural Traditions: Thai Wedding Garlands

Many countries and cultures add their own symbols and meanings into their wedding ceremonies. Each addition, from flowers to wardrobe, offers something special to the ceremony. Whether you or your partner come from strong cultural backgrounds or, as a couple, you appreciate the beauty in other cultural traditions, these added pieces can bring your wedding to the next level.

For over 200 years, flower garlands, known as Phuang Malai, have been used as symbols of good luck, welcome, commitment and the beauty of life in the Thai culture. Flower arranging was largely practiced by the ladies of the king’s court in Thailand. Each lady would teach her ladies-in-waiting a particular design and it was then implemented into the education of the young girls during their finishing school.

Some styles of Phuang Malai can be seen with street vendors in front of temples, sold to the public and offered to decorate shrines and statues.

The wedding version of Phuang Malai is used in many aspects of the traditional Thai ceremony. For couples, the flower garlands are used in addition to their wedding rings to symbolize the fragrance of marriage and the beauty and fragility of life. It can also be used with the same meaning as a gift from the couple’s parents.

Phuang Malai are made primarily with jasmine as a core flower accented by marigold, orchids and roses – all strung together for the ultimate fragrant affect.

The idea of the Phuang Malai can become a beautiful detail in any traditional marriage ceremony. The colors of the marigold and orchids along with the fragrance of each of the flowers make the combination perfect for an outdoor ceremony in the spring time or summer months. If a full garland is not your style, think of adding a pretty headpiece, bouquet or accents around the alter or ceremony space.




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