Friday, July 15, 2011

Chinese weddings - the modern

Today, Chinese weddings have merged with western weddings to create a new hybrid celebration. Sticking with the format from yesterday's post, let's get started. 

 - Picking a lucky date. This is still done in today's times. But it also depends on how traditional one's parents are. Our friends N and N had to pick a lucky date. They met with a "lucky" woman and consulted the Chinese almanac. We, on the other hand, did not have to pick a lucky date. We just picked a date that worked for most people at the time (remember, this was almost 2 years ago). We picked our date well before the 2011 almanac was even published. Lucky for us (haha, pun), 8-20-2011 is an auspicious date.
- Installing the bridal bed. Aka, making the bed with red sheets and such. I know this is still done. It can happen one of two ways. One as a request of the uber traditional parents/grandparents. Or two, because the wedding party wants to prank you. I saw a photo on Facebook recently, but I can't seem to find it now. I have also heard of couples not telling anyone where they are staying the night of the wedding to completely avoid it at all costs.

 - The groom has ditched the old digs and now sports a nice suit or a tuxedo the entire day. Sorry guys, you might have been more colorful in the past, but you are definitely dapper now.
 - The bride. Ummm....a modern bride has been known to change an average of three times. She will have an outfit for the tea ceremony. This is most likely the kwa. She will then change into the white wedding gown for the western vow ceremony. She will then change again for the reception. A lot of Chinese brides will wear the cheongsam/qipao for the reception. But here's the kicker, she will continue to change throughout the entire reception! I've heard of brides having 7 different dresses! Personally, I have never seen it in person. Photos, once. 

 - Chinese wedding door games. I have yet to see this in person actually. But I KNOW that it has happened to people I know. The bridal party plays a huge fact, it is the main role of the bridal party. What is it? The groom and his groomsmen must come pick up the bride before heading off to the tea ceremony. However. The goom and his buddies are put through the ringer by the bridesmaids. The groom must pass a series of tests and obstacles before the bridemaids will let him "retrieve" his bride. Let me just say that some of these "obstacles" are quite embarrassing. I saw a photo of a friend (groom), who had a bikini on over his suit.

via Wedding Moments

Alice Hu Photography

 - Tea ceremonies are not going away anytime soon. The timing of them has just changed. One can have it the day before. One could have it on the same day either before or after the western ceremony. One can have it the day after.

Mrs. Toucan and Mr. Toucan during tea ceremony. Image via Weddingbee

 - Western ceremony. Pretty self exaplanatory, I hope. Bride and groom can opt in for a vow ceremony.

 - The couple can choose to either throw a reception as we know it: cocktail hour followed by dinner (plated vs buffet style) and dancing. They can choose to throw a more traditional banquet feast with a multi-course meal. Or, they can choose to do both. We have had multiple friends have a traditional banquet overseas and a western reception State side. Here is a collage of a 12 course dinner from a wedding. Abalone, duck, fish, lobster/crab, sticky rice, long noodles, and fresh fruit are all stapes.

via Carmen Weddings

 - Toasting. Almost completely forgot to mention this. The bride and groom, parental units, and wedding party will go table to table and toast each one. As you can imagine, one can get pretty smashed if you are toasting with the real stuff and taking big gulps. One "tradition" that has started with the younger crowd, say your college friends, is that the ice bucket is emptied and any and all alcohol is poured into it. When the wedding party comes around to toast, someone has to drink the concoction! The groomsmen usually take one of the team, but ugh. For N and N's wedding, me and the bridesmaids hid towards the back of the train, toasted with water, and let the groomsmen take care of the "ice bucket."
 - Theme and decor. It is completely up to the couple on how they want the reception decorated. Modern times me added modern touches like floral center pieces. Although, I'm not sure why you would want to waste money on center pieces if you are having a traditional family style dinner since there will be no room left on the table. One thing I've noted in weddings in Hong Kong/China and in really asian weddings in the US is having the the bride and groom's first name on display. Maybe this is so that you know who's wedding it is?

I think the bride is the one in yellow. Image via Yours Truly Weddings

Well folks. There you have it. Chinese weddings in a nut shell. To be honest, I didn't do it justice. There is SO, SO, SO much more. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions or want to know more. I can conjur something up.
Here's a link to a fairly traditional, but yet modern Chinese wedding. It gives you a pretty good idea of how things look and play out.

35 days.

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