The Chinese sure do know how to put on a wedding. At the start of this month (December) installment No.2 of Paul and Suesues weddings, a traditional Chinese wedding took place. With the opportunity to get back to China, I had to go. Unfortunately Roy who was supposed to be best man did not get to make it to China, instead got called to work in PNG – Long story.
Paul and Suesue got married last year here in Australia a traditional white western wedding. It was the first installment of a their weddings and the first time us Australians got to meet Suesue, you can take a look at the photos from their wedding in Melbourne. I love weddings and I have to say the Chinese know how to have a good time. Suesue has been organising the wedding from Australia, getting a wedding company to help keep the day traditional.
On my arrival to China, I was asked to be one of the best men along with Lily (Roy’s sister). Nervous, I was not sure what we were going to wear or had to do – lucky for us we had a rehearsal before the big day. We also got to try on our costumes for the ceremony. Traditional weddings are coming back into to style in China, after the western weddings had been so popular. We were asked to be at Suesue’s place for 7.30am to get ready and start the wedding ceremony.
Entering the building I was built with excitement, who does not love weddings. This one we get to wear cool costumes too. Suesue had been up for a few hours and started getting her hair and make-up done. Double happiness signs were hung around the house and at the entrance to the building. Traditionally a bed is made for the newly married couple to sleep on, for there wedding night, it is red with signs of double happiness and offerings are laid on the bed.
Apart of the tradition Paul and his best men had to break into the building and knock down the door to get to Suesue. Arriving at the bedroom door, he then had to answer question about Suesue to prove he is going to be a good husband. Then once we were in the room we had to help find Suesue’s shoe which was to be placed on her foot. It was a bit of a laugh, if you had cold feet and wanted to ask any lingering questions, it would of been the time to do it.
All in our costumes and hair done we went to a traditional wedding venue in the heart of the city. Here we met the guests, had more photos taken and watched the lion dancing. The ceremony began at 12 noon in the main room were Lily and I stood with our lanterns. First the lion dancing and the fathers of Paul and Suesue had to paint the dragon’s eye. The mothers were next and held up two blessings from the dragon’s mouth. The energy in the room was building.
Once Paul proved his love by shooting arrows in the sky, he walked Suesue to the stage guiding her to step over a saddle along the way. As the ceremony was spoken in Chinese I don’t know exactly what was being said but could watch it like a performance. There was tea drinking, bowing, apple bobbing – which i think was almost kissing and lastly dumpling eating. It was entertaining, colorful and really amazing to experience a traditional wedding. After the ceremony lunch was served.
Chinese people love food and it was definitely shown at dinner. Plates of food brought to the table one after the other. It didn’t stop the plates getting stacked on top of one another and if your favourite was hiding at the bottom it was best to try something else. Unfortunately I don’t know all the names of the dishes served on the day, I hope to explain what they are instead – fingers crossed.
Clockwise from top left: Dried beef with chili, crab served on battered corn, duck with rice bubbles crackling and pork skin and fat with cracked wheat served on peas.
Clockwise from top left: Chicken with chili, chicken and vegetable, duck and chili and spicy hot soup with fish.
There was also another big soup on the table with a whole chicken in it with ginger broth, steamed greens were shared out and even a plate of dumplings. With 12 people to a table and a lazy-susan in the middle we ate till almost bursting, trying everything.
After lunch it was time to retire to the tea lounge and play mahjong. We sat around sipping our tea while many of the locals played mahjong, I did not get the opportunity to take a look at the game being played. They bet during the game and with a huge language barrier and not understanding how to play it was best to stay out. Mahjong is not a game of finding two tiles the same and then removing them from the board – I think it is similar to a game called rummi.
After our relaxing afternoon of sipping tea it was dinner time, this time we fortunate to sit with Suesues grandparents and her cousin who is a rockstar of food in China on Weibo. Communication was through small words we both new of the other language, it was a load of laughs.
Clockwise from top left: Soy beef, tofu and veggies, steamed bread and chicken and shallots
The food was so good, that I could go to a Chinese wedding everyday. I would eat like a king and my waist line would not be very forgiving, yet the taste of the food will be rewarding. I had such a great experience the amount of work that goes into a real Chinese wedding is unbelievable the costume changes, the ceremony, the venue, the pre-wedding games, two meals and gambling. Such an experience.
Below are more photos from a wonderful day.