Wet season ends, wedding season starts
"The three-month rains retreat for monks is over now that Buddhist Lent has ended. Monks can now leave temples after three months of renewing their spiritual vigor, meditating, studying and teaching.
The end of Buddhist Lent also marks the start of the wedding season in Laos. Once Lent is over, the wedding invitations start coming. Some people view it as a time of wasted money as they have to spend a lot with each wedding invitation they receive.
Women in particular spend a lot of money on wedding attire such as traditional skirts ( sinh ) and silk blouses. For those who are getting married the costs are far greater as they have to prepare and pay for the wedding ceremony.
This is considered one of the most honorable duties for Lao women and a joyful occasion for her parents when they see their daughter honoring and respecting them by choosing a traditional wedding in her transition to starting a family.
The wedding season is also a busy time for shops selling wedding attire and paraphernalia. A shopkeeper at the Morning Market Shopping Mall in Vientiane, Ms Keoudon Xayaphet, told Vientiane Times that since Lent ended last week she is seeing more and more customers every day.
She sells a wide variety of sinh ranging in price from 800,000 kip to about 6 million kip. Some handmade bridal outfits fetch up to 20 million kip. [The exchange rate is currently about 8000 kip to $1]
Ms Keoudon explained that wedding outfits are more expensive than everyday sinh because they include more detailed decorations and patterning. The price of an outfit is based on the quality of the silk and the intricacy of the patterns. Some designs are difficult to make and take a long time to produce."
Bai and I will be returning from Laos around Dec. 1 and plan to purchase more classic Vientiane style silk sinhs with matching scarves. They will be perfect for looking your finest for Lao New Year celebrations or any Lao weddings you may be participating in or attending.
As you can imagine the cost of silk and paying for the time-consuming cost of handweaving and embroidering each sinh and scarf has dramatically risen over the last two years. The article above really does a great job in explaining why these sinhs and scarves are more expensive than traditional sinhs. Consequently we spend a lot of time looking at sinhs in the Morning Market in Vientiane until we find shops that offer the best quality and price.
The silk sinhs and scarves we purchased we'll probably be selling at two different prices. A year ago we were able to price the cheaper sinhs at $150 and the more expensive sinhs at a discounted price of $250 (we paid twice the cost of the $150 sinhs). There are some still left at these prices and for sure our prices will go up as the price of silk has dramatically risen.
Why the difference between the two different prices? The more expensive sinhs use a higher grade of silk, they’re thicker, and you can easily see from the photos that there is more added detail which is more finely woven. They’re beautiful. The difference is clear, though the cheaper sinhs look fine, and we wanted to give our customers a choice, though we bought more of the more expensive sinhs because we really think they're gorgeous and we think you will too!
About six months ago we sold one of our new sinhs and this is what the customer wrote us after receiving the sinh. "Hello Peter and Bai, Just wanted to say I received my sinh and scarf today. It has to be the fastest I have ever received a package ordered by internet. Also, the sinh is so beautiful. It is exactly what I expected. Beautiful, beautiful color. I absolutely love it!! I have been looking awhile, but I believe I have found the perfect wedding dress. I will definitely order more in the future, and have already told friends and family about this site. Thank you for the great customer service! - Tina"
She also wrote us before she ordered stating, "I just read the "about us" portion of this page. I just want to thank the both of you for starting this page/business. I am Laotian and am very proud of my cultural heritage and Lao textiles. It is very hard to purchase Lao textiles without going to Laos or having friends/ relatives buy them for you when they visit. I have just ordered a sinh and matching scarf today and am very excited and can't wait to get it. This definitely won't be my last purchase for sure and I will definitely tell my family about it as well. Please continue to sell these products. I know of many Lao people who have a hard time finding these things. Thanks again."
It's great to see that Tina understands what we represent here at Laos Essential Artistry and it means a lot to us to have a satisfied customer like her confirm that what we're doing really does make a difference. Thank you Tina!
New Lao Sinh Manual now available!!! You can read more about the manual on another one of our blog posts here.