Planning for a Chinese wedding is like organising a WHO meeting. There are preparations, considerations and frustrations before the actual celebrations. The whole event runs in a few phrases and stages:
Stage 1: Date for a suitable number of years. Too short and you’ll be suspected of marrying out of wedlock (and that would seriously damage your reputation if you come from a conservative Chinese family. Forever.).
Stage 2: Arrange for The Meetup. Parents of couple to meet over a meal and talk about The Expectations (usually a bomber, consisting of number of banquet tables required, boxes of wedding cakes desired, amount of dowry and etc). At this point some groom may seriously consider becoming a monk. And I don’t blame him really.
Stage 3: The couple runs around like headless chickens trying to find all the resources for The Wedding of a Lifetime. (or so they wish) They may already be contemplating for a divorce before marrying each other.
Stage 4: A date is set for The Deposit, which is when the groom-to-be goes to the home of the bride-to-be with The Match-maker to hand in The Expectations (or part of it). The Matchmaker is an interesting character. Because she isn’t really The Matchmaker. She’s just a pretend Matchmaker who didn’t actually matchmake the couple but is suppose to be the representation of a Matchmaker. Do you get what I mean? No? I didn’t either.
Stage 5: The families arrange for a prosperous elderly couple to set The Bed. This is suppose to bring much fortune and many offsprings to the couple after the marriage. Oranges, red dates, gingko nuts and all sorts of lucky sounding foods are left on The Bed as auspicious symbolisms. Oh did I mention the couple is not to use The Bed after it’s being set until the wedding night? (Note: make sure you have a comfy sofa before arranging for Stage 5)
Stage 6: The day usually starts at 5am, involving the groom fetching the bride at her place, getting ripped off at the door by her “sisters”, him having to go through humiliating stances in order to “win” the bride, kneeling to offer tea to 768 relatives, taking 34,989 photos, and feeding 130,305 guests. All while keeping that radiant, happiest-moment-of-our-lives smile on your faces. Bravo.
They should seriously give every couple a “I Survived a Chinese Wedding” plaque. In 24k gold. Delivered personally by the Oprah.
Having said that, it can be quite fun for the spectator. Like when I find meself examining the wedding gifts from my brother to his parents-in-law to be (Stage 4).
to be continued…..