Similar to other countries, marriage is an important event in Cambodia. However, perhaps you will be surprised because many Cambodian young people today are still following arranged marriages know each other through matchmakers. Besides, premarital sex is unacceptable in this country, especially women. They often get married so early; the girls in rural areas even marry as teenagers.
A traditional wedding in Cambodia is a long, complicated and expensive affair which lasts for days, requiring many multiple ceremonies with various kinds of outfits and money. These ceremonies often relate to ancient mythical Khmer stories. Traditionally, depending on the condition of the families, some rich families will hold weddings lasting a week, whereas, indigent people only have one-day-lasting weddings.
Wedding in Cambodia
Nowadays, due to the development of the world, wedding ceremonies in Cambodia are usually completed in just one day, including the following rituals:

Dowry Ceremony
Firstly, the groom and his family go to the bride’s house, bringing presents known as the dowry. All of family members as well as the groom’s friends are introduced in turn. After that, the groom and the bride exchange the wedding rings.
In the dowry ceremony, there are three traditional songs performed:
Neay Pream He Kaun Kamlas (Arrival of the Groom): A song about the groom and his family’s journey to the bride’s house with the offerings including meats, fruits, cake, drinks…
Chambak Rouy (Presenting the Dowry): This is the conversation between the matchmakers, parents, relatives, and friends of both bride and groom. Now, the groom’s side will officially give the dowry to the bride’s family.
Pak Paeuk Pisa Sla (Inviting the Elders to Chew Betel Nut): In this section, the elders sit to chew betel nuts and the parents will give blessings for the pair.
Dowry Ceremony, Cambodia Wedding
Tea Ceremony
This tradition has existed for many ages, in which the bride and groom will offer tea to express the gratitude to their ancestors.

Hair Cutting Ceremony
In this ritual, the groom and the bride are cut their hair. This means they will start a new life, a new relationship. It is done symbolically by the master of the ceremony first. While cutting, he gives the best wishes for the couple such as happiness, prosperity and longevity. Then the parents, friends, relatives in turn also cut the bride and groom’s hair and give the blessings too. In the past, the groom and bride’s hair were really cut in the ceremony, are not done symbolically as it today.

There are two songs in this ceremony:
Sarika Keiv Vong (The Beautiful Cardinal Bird): The song praises the bride’s beauty and considers it as the beauty of cardinal birds.
Trapeang Peiy (The Village Pond): The song draws the image of a pond with fresh clear water where the bride brings water to take the bath. Besides, it symbolizes the beginning of the bride and the groom in the the new life as wife and husband.
A couple during a wedding ceremony in Cambodia
Pairing Ceremony
This is the final ritual of the wedding. All the people of two families will in turn tie the bride and groom’s wrists together with blessing strings. Every best wishes and blessings of happiness, success, richness, good health…are said in the rowdy sound of gongs. At the end of the ceremony, the guests will throw palm flowers over the couple for congratulating.

Four songs are presented during this ceremony:
Phat Cheay: The bride and her bridesmaids are invited to the pairing ceremony. Then a female relative takes the bride into the room.
Kang Saeuy: A melody played when the couple offers the gifts to the ancestor, asking for their blessings.
Bangvel Po Pil (Seven Rotations): Married couples are allowed to sit around the bride and groom while the sacred flame is rotated seven times around the couple. The burning flame of the candle symbolizes the anger, which the couple should avoid to keep a harmonious relationship, and the smoke of the flame is to protect them from all evils. Family members move their hands over the sacred flame to lead the smoke to the new couple.
Bay Khon Chang Dai (Tying the Wrists): This song is sung in order to congratulate the new relationship and to wish the happiness while the bride and groom’s wrists are tied with the blessing strings.Cambodia wedding