Steve's China Blog

Monday, April 21, 2008

Chinese wedding

On Sunday I went to a wedding of some friends of mine... Cynthia and Tony. This is the first Chinese wedding that I've been able to attend. Actually, the official wedding happens at some government office where the couple signs some papers and the government then approves or disapproves the marriage. Once all that is done then the couple has a wedding party. The wedding party is what I attended. My Chinese friends here told me that this was a pretty traditional Chinese wedding party, so here is what happened...

The wedding party was held at a restaurant downtown called 广阔天地. I was greeted by the couple outside of the restaurant, and after signing the guest book I was offered candy and a cigarette that were spread out on some nice ornate trays.

Cynthia and Tony outside the restaurant

After entering the restaurant I was escorted upstairs to one of the guest waiting rooms where there were a lot of people. Most people were drinking tea and chatting. A few were playing cards. After awhile, all of us went back downstairs and sat down in the main dining area of the restaurant for the beginning of the wedding party.

This wedding had a little ceremony at the beginning, but compared to most western weddings it was very short. At the beginning of the party the father of the bride escorts the bride from upstairs to the entrance to the dining area where there was a leafy/flowery arch, and from there the groom escorts the bride to the stage.

The father passes off the bride

Bride and groom make their way toward the stage

Lots of happy family and friends celebrating

Along the way there will little flower stands, and I thought they had candles on them when I first saw them, but they turned out to be sparklers which are lit as the couple goes by. The couple posed for pictures on the stage for a little bit and then they lit a candle in the middle of a heart-shaped wreath that had little candles around it.

Lighting a candle

Then a few people came up to speak and offer the couple their best wishes. One was a manager at IBM (seems you really can't do anything without your reporting manager's approval. Haha!) and he read something. I wish I knew what it was, but it was all in Chinese. Then the father of the bride spoke for a little bit.

IBM manager gives approval (just kidding)

After that the groom gave the bride a ring. Wedding rings are not traditional here in China, but a lot of the younger couples are giving rings at weddings now.

The ring goes on that finger, Tony

Then came time for the groom to kiss the bride, and there were some big sparklers that went off at that time. It was a pretty quick kiss, and I missed getting a picture of it.

After the kiss

Then the wedding couple left the dining area, and changed into some more casual and traditional clothing, and the rest of us started lunch. We had lots of great Sichuan food. There was one dish that I had never had before and it was pretty good... It was made up of sliced up little potatoes, which were placed in a small mound. On top of those they placed several beef ribs and on top of those they had some shredded bread crumbs. This was all cooked together, and then before bringing it to the table someone strips all of the meat off the bones, discards the bones, and mixes it all together.

Jimmy, me, and Grace

Spicy tofu (left) and fish (right)

One of the bridesmaids gets a chance to eat

While we ate, the bride and groom came around each table and drank a toast with everyone pretty much individually. The bride drank orange drink and the groom drank 白酒 (often called diesel fuel by us foreigners), and he did a great job of not appearing drunk by the time all of the toasts were done. I had red wine which was pretty good. After lunch the party was over and everyone headed home. Everyone had a great time!


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