Over the weekend someone recounted to me their wedding photo experience in Laos. A wedding in Vientiane for the reasonably well off will include a wedding photo of the bride and groom. This is taken before the wedding day. It is placed at the front of the reception to greet guests. Signature features of a wedding photo are heavy photo-shopping and an ostentatious gold frame.

In this particular case the groom had hair artifically added to his receding hair line. “It was like standing next to a photo of a stranger”, was how he described it.

The photo store must have been very proud of their work because a few weeks later a friend called to say, “You’re on an 8 foot poster on Dong Palang Road!”. The couple were also printed on the photo store’s business cards. It was the Lao equivalent of being featured in a poster on Time Square.