With the end of Buddhist lent comes the beginning of another wedding season. Holding the big day in Myanmar can be overwhelming so Myanmore gives the lowdown on how to prepare for the special day.

Traditionally, newly engaged couples in Myanmar would announce their wedding by informing seven houses to the left and right of their house, writes Grace Tun

These days, they tend to be celebrated on a much bigger scale, with invitations sent to relatives, neighbors, and friends of both families. Also, no weddings are held during the Buddhist lent from July to October.

In traditional weddings, the master of ceremony joins the newly-weds’ palms and ties them in a white cloth before dipping them in a silver bowl. This practice, however, isn’t very common these days. Contemporary weddings usually consist of the couple proceeding behind a flower girl and walking toward a stage, where they will be presented with garlands and wedding rings by a long-standing marital couple who are of acquaintance. Once these wedding rituals are completed, food and refreshments, as well as musical entertainment, are offered to the guests. Afterwards, as the guests begin leaving, they shower words of congratulations and good wishes upon the couple.

On this special day, the bride will usually wear an elaborate traditional outfit, similar to those worn by royalty in the past, with a hip-length jacket and a htain-me-thein. As for the groom, he will wear a headdress known as a gaung baung and a taung shay longyi, which is an elegant, silk men’s longyi. Typical wedding venues include a monastery or church, the couple’s home—especially in rural areas—or a hotel. When attending Burmese weddings, it is customary to present gifts including cash, tableware, and utensils such as rice cooker. Fun fact: as with many couples, my parents found themselves gifted with several rice cookers on their wedding day. But feel free to get creative with gifts. We have included the best place to buy good wedding presents, along with your guide to wedding planners, venues, jewellery, and the best places in the region to enjoy a honeymoon. 

What to Buy

Bringing a gift for a couple’s wedding is the norm all over the world and Myanmar is no exception. Presents run from kitchenware to bedsheets, art and just plain old cash. Min Ye Kyaw lists some of the best and most convenient places to buy a gift.

Ocean Supercentre is your easy no-frills choice. Its three huge stores stock everything from kitchen utensils to furniture and are located at North Point Shopping Center, Pazundaung and Shwe Gone Daing. For a wide choice of textiles, furniture, electronics, and jewelry (again, no-frills) try Sein Gay Har branches in Dagon, Hledan and Parami. Or if you know the couple loves tech, visit Wai Yang stores for big TVs, phones and appliances on Pansodan Road and in Myanmar Plaza.

If you want to splash out on something more extravagant for the newly-weds, try Enchant Luxury Furniture, which works with German and Italian designers to create elegant and contemporary furnishings that are sought after by top hotels, condos, offices and plush households. Enchant’s two showrooms open from 9am-5.30pm and are located at North Dagon and Yankin townships. In Yuzana Plaza and Ahlone Township, Sweety Home is another option. Known for its mattresses and beds, it imports steel, aluminium and high-quality plastic furniture from Thailand, Korea and Taiwan.

Shopping around Sule Square Mall, you will see some of the world’s best brands, including Emporio Armani, Lalique, Mont Blanc, Omega, Rolex, and Swiss Time Square. Junction City, too, has top makes such as  Moschino, Versace, Hugo Boss, Coach, and Armani Exchange.

Where to Propose

It might be one of the most important moments in a person’s life: to get down on one knee and propose. Min Ye Kyaw recommends some top locations in Yangon to make it a memorable moment, for the right reasons. 

Yangon’s one and only luxury yacht hotel anchored is in Botahtaung harbour. Inside is a 1920s-style interior and mini theatre room (US$100 per hour) which could be a good place to propose. The hotel offers balloons and flowers for hire too. Or how about some of Yangon’s best restaurants?

Apart from its attractive indoor decorations, The Yangon Restaurant also has the benefit of being located in a park near a water foundation and green trees. The restaurant can provide flowers and balloons to back you up if you book in advance. Set in a beautiful colonial mansion overlooking Inya Lake, Le Planteur has all the trappings to help your proposal come alive. Also in the mix are superb wines and some live music. While SEEDS offers a lake view with its stunning design and dining area platform running to the lake. Plus it has a treehouse-style private dining area which could be perfect for your proposal. 

Where to Honeymoon

So you’ve wedded in Myanmar, but aren’t sure where to honeymoon. Min Ye Kyaw has some regional and relatively inexpensive suggestions for you. 

With its palm trees, white sands, and clear waters, Ngapali beach has become one of the best beaches on the Bay of Bengal. You can get there by plane and then take a car to your hotel. Don’t leave the ring in Yangon though! The hillside retreat of Kalaw has some of the most beautiful scenery in Shan State and a cool climate to boot. Trekking and sampling the local Shan food and wine should warm you up. Hotel prices start from 30,000 kyats and you can by there by bus, train or plane. Naturally, Bagan is a strong contender, admired worldwide for its unique heritage and breathtaking pagodas. Hotel prices range from budget to luxury and a fun way of getting around is by jumping on one of Bagan’s ubiquitous e-bikes. 

Neighboring Thailand has some tempting choices. Phuket is situated along the clear waters of the Andaman Sea and has many high-end seaside resorts, spas, restaurants, old shophouses and busy markets. You can get there by plane from Yangon from US$150. An island in the Southern Thai province of Prachuap Khiri Khan, Hua Hin is popular among water sports fanatics and has a good range of hotels and restaurants. There’s no direct flight to Hua Hin from Yangon, but you can transfer in Bangkok.

How to Plan

Organizing the whole wedding by yourself can add even more stress to the occasion. Min Ye Kyaw offers some popular wedding planners that would be happy to help you out.

Signature Weddings & Events in South Okkalapa can help you out with engagement ceremonies, registering ceremonies, and wedding receptions and dinners.Their packages include all-in-one services covering suggestions, presenters, Burmese traditions and entertainment, florals, stage designs, music, photography and video. The rough cost for a reception wedding is 700,000 kyats and 1,000,000 kyats for dinner. Focused on corporates, weddings and event managements, Prestige Events and Weddings in the same township offers packages that start from 15 lakhs, including indoor and outdoor events. His & Hers Events and Wedding Studio offer photography and packages from 350,000 kyats to 9,000,000 kyats. They include makeup, jewelries, master of ceremony, music and entertainment, dresses, shoes, decoration of place and wedding car, pre-wedding photography, photography at the event, lighting and planning charges. For your wedding photos, Forever Wedding Studio has cemented its name in the industry since its establishment in 2006.

Where to Marry

Most of the fanciest places to marry in Yangon are the top hotels, writes Khin Hsu Mon. Novotel Hotel has become well-known for hosting big weddings, with its largest ballroom able to accommodate up to 800 people. Another popular venue is Melia Hotel, which has a dedicated events and management team that can assist your wedding plans. With its lakeside setting, Chatrium Hotel has re-emerged as a coveted wedding venue as well as a great place to spend a romantic evening, and the Shangri-La Yangon has long been a favorite for weddings, with its lacquer-panelled doors opening to an impressive ballroom. Perhaps the best choice for a vintage Myanmar wedding is The Strand Hall, based in its historical namesake. The new kid on the block, Lotte Hotels, has the ‘Crystal Ballroom’ and ‘Sapphire Ballroom’—two big spaces that their events management team will prepare for your special day. Alternatively, if you are looking for a smaller sized wedding try the classy Belmond Governor’s Residence, a romantic hotel that can accommodate up to 150 guests and that has a lotus pond, garden and spa. SEEDS Restaurant is also another stylish venue to consider, with its celebrated dishes served on the shores of Inya Lake.

One of the most alluring destinations for a wedding outside Yangon is the ancient kingdom of Bagan, where guests can watch the beautiful sunsets and hot air balloons scale above the abundant pagodas. Slightly away from the center at the The Hotel @ Tharabar Gate or the Aureum Palace. Or for some of Myanmar’s finest coastal nature try Ngwe Saung. The Ngwe Saung Yacht Club Hotel hosts beach weddings. Further on up the coast are the clear waters and pristine sands of Ngapali, where guests at a wedding in the Hilton Ngapali Resort & Spa would enjoy a dreamy view of the Bay of Bengal.

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