East Meets West – A Wedding

I think getting married on Valentine’s Day is such a great idea. And when Valentines Day is just around the corner from Chinese Spring Festival/New Year, it is even better. Choosing an auspicious day for you wedding is very important in Chinese culture.

Yesterday we attended the wedding of our good friends, D & L, in a beautiful traditional Chinese ceremony. While we weren’t always sure what was happening, it was fun to be a part of their day and experience what weddings are like in China.

The thing that surprised me the most was the casual dress of all the attendees. Anything goes, really, but most people were wearing everyday clothes, like jeans. Most places in the West, weddings require anything from “Sunday best” to ultra-formal, but rarely are they casual. DH wore a suit and I wore a skirt and Chinese jacket I bought in Kunming. Of all the attendees, only the Westerners were dressed up. Of course it didn’t matter, as I said, anything goes. Since the groom is British, we felt like we were adding a Western touch to the wedding for his benefit.

The ceremony was all in Chinese, except for a few bits where the groom’s mother, sister and brother spoke and a few things the couple said. There was a lot of bowing. Everyone looked beautiful. The traditional color for a Chinese wedding is red, as white is reserved for funerals. The bride wore a red dress with lots of gold detail and a red veil. The groom, a red jacket with gold detail. (He says all the jackets were too small for him, and they had to take out all the seams!) When the couple arrived in their Audi 6, everyone sprayed silly string, fired rockets and shot confetti in the air. It was very impressive.

After the ceremony, the banquet began. Because there were so many guests, some ate in a large dining room and others were put into individual rooms. We got put in the “Laowai Room” (laowai = foreigner) and had quite a good time talking, laughing, eating, watching CCTV 9, toasting the newlyweds, and marveling at the unbelievable amount of food.

There are a lot of rituals and traditions surrounding a Chinese wedding, unfortunately, I am not sure what they all are. Lots of things get lost in translation. Let’s just say that a Western wedding, with the “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” has practically no ritual at all compared to the Chinese! There are rituals for proposal, engagement, bridal preparations, bridal hairdo, the groom picking up the bride for the ceremony, the ceremony, the banquet, after the ceremony, the bridal bed…

D&L Wedding
Very best wishes for a very happy marriage!

Post Wedding

A few of the Laowai revelers and good friend PengBou

(I have no idea if that is spelled correctly!)


One Response to “East Meets West – A Wedding”

  1. superkimbo Says:

    Did you get to witness the giving of the ang pao? This is something Chinese Malaysians do, but I don’t know if it’s still part of wedding ceremonies in China. The groom has to bring many red envelopes (ang pao) of money. He is not allowed into the house until he gives enough money for the bride. Like a reverse dowry. I love it!

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