I finally was able to attend a Chinese wedding! My friends Nico (Western male) and Zoe (Chinese female) got hitched! They had the ceremony in her hometown Dongying (东营). This city is a three hour train ride from Jinan. There weren’t many tickets, since it was National Holiday, so we had to stand for three hours! 🙁 Luckily some seats were free for the first hour. Rian and I boarded the train at 7:35 in the morning of the Wedding Day and made it just in time for the wedding. We returned that night with some other friends completely exhausted.
My First Chinese Wedding
General Sequence of Events
1.The Bride and Groom must get the wedding certificate
2. Time to begin preparations for the wedding
3. The Groom has to buy a house, apartment, and rings.
4. Then he has to get the apartment decorated (with a bunch of red decorations that have the Chinese character meaning double happiness).
5. Find a person to help choose a day to get married
If you read my post about Superstitions, you know that Chinese people love Numerology and certain numbers are deemed auspicious. Did you know that on August, 8, 2008 (the day of the Beijing Olympics) many people were married? It’s because 8 is considered a lucky number because it rhymes with a word that means “wealth”.
6. On the morning of the wedding day, the Bride gets ready with the Maid of Honor. The Maid of Honor needs to hide the bride’s shoes in a room.
7. While the Bride is getting ready, the Groom and The Best Man must prepare red packets (5 or 10 kuai in each).
8. The Groom and Best Man then needs to go to the Bride’s home to deliver the Red Packets and pick up the Bride.
9. The Groom cannot enter the home until he finishes answering questions about the Bride (prepared by the Maid of Honor).
10. The Groom then has to find the Bride’s shoes that were hidden earlier and help the Bride put on her shoes.
11. The Bride and Groom then go to the hotel to begin the ceremony.
12. The ceremony will begin with the sound of firecrackers. If you are ever in China and hear firecrackers, it’s probably because someone is getting married.
13. When the Bride is at home, she wears a red dress. During the wedding ceremony she wears the wedding gown. After the wedding ceremony she then changes to a Qipao- Chinese traditional dress（旗袍）
14. During the ceremony there is a “MC” who introduces the Bride and Groom and tells their love story.
15. This part is considered the most important part. The Bride and Groom publicly call their in-laws “Father and Mother” as opposed to “Uncle and Aunt”.
(Uncle and Aunt is a polite way to address another person who is older than you and who you don’t have a close relationship with).
16. Next is the exchanging of rings and vows
17. After the ceremony, the reception begins.
18. The Bride, Groom, Best Man, and Parents then have to toast each table. They can’t eat until they are done 🙁 Thankfully they are able to drink coke or water. I wouldn’t be able to handle toasting every table at my wedding. It will be too many people!
19. There will always be too much food and people taking leftovers!
Nico & Zoe’s Wedding Differences
Rian and I didn’t get to make it to the first half! However, I heard they set off firecrackers while they were leaving to the hotel. So that was shocking!
Nico & Zoe’s wedding was short and sweet! They had this slideshow that showed their pictures of when they first were together, up until their wedding photos. I was literally glued to the screen admiring their love story!
Nico’s parents and family weren’t there, but they sent these cute videos that played after the ceremony! Zoe’s Mother also gave a loving speech to the couple. I understood most of it!
What are weddings like in your country? Have you been to a wedding in a different country before? Let me know in the comments below!