Click through to read about our experience attending a Burmese Wedding in a village in Myanmar

What It Was Like Attending A Burmese Wedding

 What do you consider to be a big wedding?

100 People?

300 People?

Mr & Mrs handing sign on a wooden archway with trees in the distance

Well, in Myanmar, at least for those living in villages outside of the cities, a traditional wedding will typically include an average of 1,500 people… A “large” wedding can attract upwards of 3,000.

Can you imagine inviting 1,500 of your closest family members, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances to celebrate with you for a day? Even more baffling, can you imagine trying to feed this many people!?

Wedding bouquet of pink and orange flowers and greenery held out by a bride

Our Burmese Wedding Story

While trekking through rural villages in Central Myanmar we were able to learn about this tradition first hand. While passing through a village, on the first day of our trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake, we were lured to a monastery that was emanating mouth-watering smells.

Travel blogger Tj looking out over green fields and hills under a blue sky on our first day of trekking

Unsure of where exactly these delicious smells were coming from, our guide shared that a group of men was making preparations for a wedding. He told us about the incredible amount of work that goes into preparing for a wedding. A group of at least ten men will spend several days butchering meat and prepping food for the big day. Which came as no surprise when we learned that they have to at least 1,500 mouths to feed!

Burmese women sitting on a carpet and enjoying tea and snacks under a green tent at a Burmese wedding in a village in Myanmar

Attending A Wedding

The following day we passed through another village and our guide became very excited when he spotted a large gathering up ahead. “There’s a wedding! I’m hungry, let’s go!” he said to us as he visibly hopped up and down with excitement. Unsure of the customs or expectations for attendance, we followed him apprehensively as we weaved through the crowd and were handled bushels of flowers by young children whose faces sported decorative Thanaka designs.

Flowers

 As soon as we arrived, our guide showed us how to make a communal donation (one of the ways the family offsets the costs of such high attendance). We were then quickly ushered into a large tented area and had a feast laid before us.

Travel blogger Tj smiling and eating at a table full of different Burmese dishes served family style at a Burmese wedding in a village

The men serving would laugh as they presented exotic spicy dishes and were impressed when our trekking group proceeded to finish bowl after bowl of the spiciest of the foods. As we sat, hundreds of people came and went from the feast. Typically, a wedding will last from morning until well into the night with guests arriving astray pleased to eat together and honor the bride and groom.

A table full of different Burmese dishes served family style at a Burmese wedding in a village

Behind The Scenes – Cooking For A Burmese Wedding

We were honored (and our tummies quite pleased), that we were able to attend such a grand ceremony. The most shocking part of all was watching the army of men whose job it was to prepare the food all day long and ensure that everyone’s plates were always full.

A field filled with different cooking fires covered with pots emanating steam to cook the food for a Burmese wedding

Behind the dining area, large fires were kept billowing to heat the massive pots of curries, slabs of pork, and cauldrons of tea that were constantly being replenished to feed the guests. And one of our favorites, the mortar, and pestle so large they must have weighed a ton, constantly crushing fresh chilies to give each dish the perfect dose of spice. Mortar and pestle being used to make a spicy chili dish for a Burmese wedding

 Experiences like these are not hard to come by when traveling, but you never know when they will arise. One of our favorite aspects of traveling is learning about the cultures of the places we visit and stumbling into surprising experiences like a Burmese wedding.

The trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake is a cultural experience that we cannot recommend enough to anyone interested in visiting Myanmar. For anyone that wants more information please check out our friends at EverSmile Trekking or shoot us a message, we would love to chat 🙂

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Life Is Meant For Exploring

At Life Is Meant For Exploring we help promote and inspire a life of exploration with a focus on travel, outdoor adventure, experiencing local culture, and breaking away from the pack to forge a path of your very own. Our promise is to share crazy and honest stories, epic photography, thoughtful reflections & culturally respectful realities. Whether you’re traveling the world, sitting in your backyard, or looking for a fresh start, our goal is to show you how to enjoy life one adventure at a time.

2 thoughts on “What It Was Like Attending A Burmese Wedding

    1. We knew nothing about Burmese weddings before beginning the trek. It was a wonderful experience to not only be able to learn a bit about them, but to also have the opportunity to experience one first hand. Something we will never forget!

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