This week, I went to my second wedding at the Rajpruek Club in northern Bangkok. Rajpruek Club is a sports club that is part of the North Park Project in northern Bangkok, close to the old Don Muang Airport. It has an 18-hole golf course, a huge sports club with both indoor and outdoor sports facilities and also has facilities for banquets, black tie dinners, special events and weddings.
I’ve only experienced weddings there but, must admit, I’ve been impressed both times.
The wedding I went to last week was the wedding of one of my very close friends. She’s American-Thai but was marrying a local Thai guy, so wanted everything to be done in traditional Thai fashion. She spent a few weeks looking at different venues for her wedding before her fiancé’s mother recommended the Rajpruek Club. She said she knew, as soon as she looked at it, that this was the place for her.
On the way to her wedding last week, the first thing I was aware of was location. Location in Bangkok is crucial for any event, as traffic is so horrendous, if you end up in a bad location, your guests could spend hours stuck in traffic on the way to your event.
The Rajpruek Club is perfectly located because it’s in northern Bangkok away from downtown. It’s also right off the expressway, so you don’t get stuck on side streets when you’re going there. Also, as most Thai weddings are early morning affairs (my friend’s was at 7am), you will usually be going against traffic as everyone is driving into downtown Bangkok for work that early in the morning.
After getting off the freeway in my taxi, I have been surprised both times to see what a pretty area the Rajpruek Club is in. It’s surrounded by wide lanes and has lots of trees and greenery leading up to it. My friend’s wedding was in the clubhouse and, as you pull up, it does have a quite grand feeling to it. Once inside, I went up the large open stairway and into the room where my friend was getting married.
The wedding had around 100 guests, so the club staff had set up a small stage at the front of the room for the monks to chant on. At the back of the room were two large tables; the first a round table where the five monks could eat breakfast after finishing the ceremony, and the second table the place where my friend, her new husband, the representative from the marriage license bureau and the family sat while my friend and her husband signed the marriage license.
The way the club staff had organized the wedding ceremony was perfect. In Thai wedding ceremonies, there’s a lot of monks chanting, lots of moving around, the bridal couple being moved around a lot to perform various ceremonies, and the movement of different pieces of furniture for parents, bride and groom and special guests to sit on. All of this came off without a hitch.
Partway through the wedding ceremony, the guests were told there was a ‘break’ and we were ushered into a beautiful light and airy side room for coffee, tea, sandwiches and little cakes.
For those of us who hadn’t had breakfast, this was perfect, as Thai wedding ceremonies last for around four hours, so a little coffee break was lovely. The coffee at the Rajpruek Club was also actually some of the nicest coffee I’ve ever tasted (Thai coffee can be normally quite bitter in taste), and the little croissant sandwiches and puff pastries were delicious.
After about 30 minutes, we were called back into the wedding ceremony room and the remainder of the wedding ceremony was performed, again, immaculately.
Once the wedding ceremonies were finished, the bride’s father announced we would be moving in to the Rajpruek Ballroom for the wedding lunch and all of the guests shuffled off, by this point really looking forward to lunch. And, I must say, we were not disappointed.
Lunch was set up immediately with a Thai buffet on a large table in the middle of the room. To one side was another large table with a salad buffet on it, over in one corner of the enormous room was a noodle stand where you could get made to order noodles, and in another corner a table with lots of platters of fresh fruit and Thai desserts.
The lunch was absolutely delicious. I’m not a huge Thai food fan and, normally find that wedding meals everywhere in the world are pretty awful. At the Rajpruek Club, however, the meal was simply lovely with some of the best Thai food I’ve eaten anywhere.
Waiters were also attentive, but not too attentive and the meal included soft drinks. Prices at the Rajpruek Club are pretty cheap too. For the Thai buffet, they currently charge 660 baht (around $18.60) per head including soft drinks.
For an International buffet, the charge is still only 770 baht ($21.60) and, if you want to go all out and have the traditional Chinese meal, which is always incredibly expensive, the Rajpruek Club does this for between 6,800 and 8,800 ($192.60 and $249) per table.
As the Thai food was so good, I’m sure the Chinese Table would be delicious too.