China and its weddings..’s been a while.. wedding preparation is on a bit of a break at the moment since we have organised pretty much the big things. Just waiting for time to get closer to the date so that we can finalise the details. A few weeks ago, we started to talk about different weddings from different cultures so it reminded me of the wedding I went to in China a few years ago – my to be brother in law’s wedding. It was an experience that I have never experienced before so what I talk about may or may not be something that is typical!

To start was a very long day. From what I recall, the preparation on my fiancé’s side started from the late evening of the previous day – with fireworks/firecrackers around 3am in the morning…and it continued for the rest of the day (with breaks in between). We started off early from the groom’s house and the convoy of about 10 cars.. and set off for the bride’s house which was about 45 mins – 1 hour away (still in the same city!).  First surprise was how safety was not an issue for the cameraman (as shown in the photo). We must’ve been driving somewhere in between 60-100kms/h and he was shooting from the top of the car.

When we got to the bride’s house, the whole ‘village’ came out to watch – while I was trying to absorb everything, I pretty much walked into firecrackers that were just lit. Everyone didn’t seem to mind and kept walking through them anyway. Then there were about 30 people all squashed in the balcony of the bride’s house waiting to be let in. However, with tradition, the groom and his ‘brothers’ must complete several games and pay money (the red pockets) before they can get in. This is typical for Chinese weddings even in New Zealand. Once we finally got in the groom continued to give out red pockets as we went through each door and the last thing was to find the red shoe. Next comes the Tea ceremony where you give tea to the elders (parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles etc) as a sign of respect and in return you get gold. Up to this stage, I am quite familiar with this.

Once this is all done (the bride got changed in between), everyone then gets ready to leave to the groom’s house. So all the little old ladies bend down and picks up 2 baskets with a pole in between and puts them over their shoulders. Those are all the gifts for the groom’s family. Another tradition is the couple now needs to walk out under a red umbrella. One important thing to note is that it can’t be opened inside (someone got told off during this). So we travelled back to the groom’s family and on the way I see people selling things on the road (side step from the wedding).

Once we get there, the same thing happens all over with the tea ceremony and people eating but with the groom’s family.

After all of this, we all went to yum cha (My nose started to bleed at this stage so I went back to rest) but everyone else stayed until the dinner.

At the dinner, everything was rehearsed. The MCs were from the restaurant, they had Micky and Minnie walk in first then the couple and from then on it was very structured from the exchange of champagne glasses all the way to the cake cutting. While I was sitting there by myself still eating (as the bridal party was going around the tables) I suddenly felt this silence and when I turned around80% of the guests had left within 45mins-1hour of the food coming out. I have never been to a wedding that was deserted so fast.

It was an interesting experience – a lot of it was something that you had to be there for – especially to experience the noise and busyness, people yelling and screaming, making sure everything was done right. Would I do the same for my wedding? Probably not. 🙂


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