I attended my first Chinese wedding! Even though I was a little under the weather with a cold, if you didn’t know, you get a cold from the change of weather, it has nothing to do with a virus. This is what I am told by many Chinese. There is also a man down the street with some potions, tiger blood (oh yes you can get it, we have asked) and who knows what else that can cure it but I am going to just see what I have in my US pharmacy in the bathroom. It is a little exciting when my hoarding comes in handy. I couldn’t miss the wedding and so glad I didn’t let anything get in the way.
To sum up my Chinese wedding experience:
All the things you do at weddings (cake cutting, champagne fountain pour, lighting of candles, with the costumes changes of Cher, some games Honey Boo Boo style, IP infringements, all in a room that I imagined what one of those smoker boxes at an airport would be like to be in.
I was invited by the groom and the invitation came through email 1 week before the big day. In the email meeting request, a photo of the bridge in groom in wedding clothes. Normal wedding attire, white gown and black tux. I am confused.. wasn’t I invited to the wedding? Did I miss the wedding? Is it just to the reception? Are they already married? In China, couples often have wedding photos taken before the actual wedding. I think this is smart this way your photos look good, if they are bad you have time for a d0 over. When you have photos on the day or there is no do over photos. Trust me…I would have not let the hairdresser put my hair up as she insisted for it “wouldn’t have lasted in the heat of Las Vegas” HA! (I think she was lazy) if I saw my photos ahead of time, they would have been re-done. Digital cameras also probably help with this also.
In the invite we were told the wedding was from 11:18am-2:00pm. Why 11:18? I think it has to do with the number 8 being lucky. The day before the wedding it was suggested by the groom that we do not show up on time. My experience in China has been that nothing really starts on time, meetings, planes, the only thing that I have consistently had start on time are trains. I also heard culturally for events like weddings, the later you are the more important you are, you are so busy, many events and things to attend to. We arrived at 11:30 showing our lack of importance for the event was still being set up and were some of the first guests there.
We found our table and waited for the ceremonies to begin. From my experience Chinese weddings go like this wait, smoke, and eat. If you didn’t bring your own cigarettes to enjoy, don’t worry there are some on the table with the appetizers and drinks. This is very thoughtful for guests (if you smoke).
Everyone smoked, we were the only ones not smoking. This did not help my cold any. OMG I have never experienced smoke like that. This was my hell. It has to be what a smoking box at the airport is like but with more people in the box smoking. I couldn’t wait to go outside and breath in the pollution which has been high lately as it had to be cleaner air than the reception room. While we waited getting emphysema a slide show of their wedding photos were shown. The photos were gorgeous! Chinese wedding photos takes Glamour Shots at the mall to a whole new level. There are costume changes, hair changes, props, etc. The bride wore many different wedding dresses in the photos. I am going to try to get Todd to have some photos taken they are incredible and I would like to wear all those pretty dresses. I wonder if they have my size? Maybe they will be like the old fashioned photo time places where the backs of the clothes are Velcro. If so it could work! The wedding garb they were wearing in the photo on the invite is not what they wear at the wedding. We saw the bride in a total of 3 dresses during the event that is what made me think of Cher.
Around 12:30 a cute video clip featuring scenes in Chinese from Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, and some other cartoons were shown. I was told the various spliced together clips were saying “Welcome, will you marry me?”things like that.
It went dark, a search light came on through the room, I waved my hand in from of the camera before I took this photo to clear the smoke. The bride and groom appeared in the door way and brief music clips montage were played, My Heart Will Go on, Pirates of the Caribbean Theme, Beauty & The Beast, and Star Wars as they came down the aisle and walked up to the stage. I wish I knew they were doing a montage for I would have suggested Space Odyssey 2000 like Elvis would use. Why didn’t I use that at my wedding? The bride is wearing a new dress not seen in the wedding photos! I want multiple dresses too! I want a DO OVER! From this experience, Chinese weddings are awesome (exception being the smoking, it is cultural).
I have a lot of feelings, especially at weddings and I was wondering if I would cry as I normally do at weddings with it being in Chinese. The answer is YES. Regardless of the language the expression of the love and the beginning of a life together just gets me. What also got me was he proposed to her on the stage. He got down on his knee, said some words I was told was about how he was not her ideal man, not being tall, not being handsome, pulled out a ring, and asked her to marry him. She started crying, he started crying and I started crying even more. The couple then went through a series of all things done at weddings one right after another, efficient is the word for it. Like an assembly line meets Amazing Race of light a candle, cut the cake (but didn’t feed cake and thinking about it.. we never ate cake…), and poured a bottle of champagne together over a pyramid of champer glasses. Back down the aisle and they were out and the MC (did I mention there was a MC? With a microphone) Games started to entertain us as we waited for dinner.
The first game, I would never has guessed in a million years and I couldn’t believe it was happening someone had to have been watching some Here Comes Honey Boo Boo for they put baby bibs on the participants and gave them a baby bottle full of soda. The first to finish wins. Just like I saw on Here Comes Honey Boo Boo at Anna’s baby shower.
The next game was not as exciting for me but some of the other guests loved it! It was guess how much money is in the red envelope or hongbao.
After the games the bride and groom returned, in new wedding attire, I am talking full new hair and all! That is what goes on while we are playing games. Dinner was served and I forgot to count how many courses, it had to be around 10-12 courses so much food!
Weddings may not start on time but they do end on time, before 2pm, the room started getting striked, we were still in there.. doesn’t matter it was time to go. I heard the couple had a wedding dinner that evening. I wonder if they will wear the same clothes or if there is another wardrobe for the evening? I did ask if they had a wedding car with the flowers and bears but was told no they had a wedding bus! For the family and guests and it wasn’t decorated.
What an honor to be asked to be a part of this special day. It was so much fun to see the cultural similarities, adaption, and differences when it comes to weddings. A big difference, no dancing. Although it has been years, I probably could have led the macarana or an even better a little gangnam style would have been fun.
Now that I know what to expect, I am ready for the next wedding for they are a good time!