As one of the more senior people in my dept (Chris as well), my gin nah colleagues are getting married one after another... next year i expect at least THREE red bombs ('red bombs' are used to describe chinese wedding invites as they mean you need to give red packets containing money which burns a hole in your pocket). chris has at least 4 weddings this year. to minimise damages, we go alone (our spouse don't know our colleagues anyway wat) otherwise it's DOUBLE man =P
Chinese parents ALWAYS INSIST on having lavish wedding dinners, especially the bride's family cos they get to keep the ang bao money without forking out a cent. another reason i believe, is cos these parents were invited to their friends' kids wedding dinners, gave ang baos and now it's PAYBACK time... LOL
A Chinese Wedding is very bing bing biang biang and usually starts way back from...
1. one of the couple saying: "Er... shall we go apply for HDB flat?" before their combined incomes hit $8000 and they have to buy private property or resale
2. guy asks girl's parents for her hand secretly. some guys skip this step if the girls parents know him v well already and like him. or he just doesn't know he needs to ask for permission to propose. chris never asked my mum... but i think it's courtesy... my daughter's boyfriend better ask me properly.
3. the formal proposal with ring la, flowers la,... all the pattern he can ever chute he will chute now and she'd better enjoy and appreciate it cos after the wedding no more liao hor
4. decide on date and quickly book hotel for dinner (like one year in advance). non-Christian couples would mostly consult the almanac.
5. if Christian, quickly book church and sign up for PMC (pre-marital counselling) and chope favourite pastor. if it's wesley methodist church, it's as hot as the hottest hotel in town. so book at least one year in advance too...
6. book ROM (registry of marriage) date
7. the triad boss' negotiation dinner: parents meet parents... lay down the cards... girl's side makes requests (actually more like demands), guy's side say whether they can give (try to bargain a bit)... discuss discuss, confirm, done. some traditional stuff people ask for are roast pig la and whatnots, depending on their dialect group. girl's side will ALWAYS ask for tables (8-10 is the norm). what this means is, the guy's parents have to PAY for the tables but the girl's parents get to keep the money... so for Chinese, if you have a whole family of daughters, for each daughter you marry off, you earn close to $10k. LOL
8. check out photo studios for studio shoot, gown, suit and all that. plus if they're going to move to new house, gotta find contractor to reno the place, shop for furniture and misc items... v stressful this one.
9. then they have to find helpers, usually their good friends to do free labour like fold programme booklets, tie ribbons, do slideshow of pics of them from babies to adulthood to how they met te blah te blah, reception etc etc. or worse, be their wedding coordinator which can be super stressful.
10. decide on nitty gritty details like colour theme, flowers, design of invites, music, guest list.... invite who don't invite who. who sit w who, who CANNOT sit w who etc.
11. the "xia pin" day: guy brings all the gifts to girl's house.
12. nearer the date, got to book spa, facial and mani pedi for bride. groom... heck la, no one looks at him anyway. he also doesn't have anymore money left. just go for a haircut at Sri Dewa or Sri Nada can liao la. mum prepares stuff like spittoon (i seriously don't know what this is for...), double happiness stickers to stick EVERYWHERE, chopsticks (Kuai Zi sounds like "quickly birth precious son"), red lamps (must be some lucky, longevity or longlasting love thingy) and other la la chap chap stuff... for the couple's room.
13. one week before: church wedding rehearsal, go for facial. i strongly recommend wearing the heels you'll be wearing on the actual day.
14. the night before, bride: mani, pedi, pluck eyebrows, face threading if necessary, face mask, chat w mum, sis, best friend, admire her gown 500 times, look at herself in the mirror 1000 times, can't sleep.
15. the night before, groom: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
16. actual day, 7 early 8 early, brides parent's comb her hair three times and say blessings like "white hair together" etc etc... put on the veil for her. her good friends go to her house to guard the door, groom's entourage get ready to barge into bride's house. usually, there are two "gantries": the main door and the bedroom door and getting through is not as simple as slotting your cashcard in the IU... some stunts you may need to do (w the help of your buddies) include push-ups, dancing, singing, eating weird stuff, absolutely malu-ing yourself and surrendering a big ang bao. my friend adriel is so smart. he just nonchalantly told his bride-to-be pamela, "I meet you in church." LOL... and she said ok... then bride and groom eat Tang Yuan sweet dumplings soup (Yuan means completeness and the sweetness signifies sweet sweet bliss).
17. then it's the tea ceremony at guy's family then go back to girl's family for tea ceremony... ah this one i like. you serve tea to the elders, they say blessings and give BIG ANG BAO!!! wa! the more elders the better. but some old fogeys like to give yellow gold -.- so passe. if the couple is going to live with the guy's family, the bride must go and sit on the bed (so that she will always be horny when her husband needs it? no la, must be those quickly give birth thing la), the parents will get a boy to roll and jump on the marriage bed (so the couple will birth a son soon). some people even put chicken and rooster under bed, see which one comes out first means the first child is girl or boy la... pattern more than badminton.
18. the more traditional and non-Christian families may practise things like shielding the daughter with a red umbrella and scattering rice, to ward off evil spirits and ensure she has enough to eat. she may need to walk over a fire pot that kind of stuff...
19. then church wedding + ROM
20. then dinner...
- firstly, the bride walks in... then cut cake
- then after the don't know how many dish, bride needs to change into something else (it's her fashion show ma) and they walk back in, pop champagne trying not to hit anyone / champagne glass pyramid / chandelier with the cork, then yam seng, then the speeches to thank father mother sister brother friend te blah te blah... occasionally couple may perform.
- everybody go back to eating
- then watch same old slideshow (the one the friends made... from the time the bride n groom were babies to how they met ending with lovey dovey pics)
- then bride and groom go around to take photos w guests, half of whom they don't know
- finally, after dessert is served, everyone heads home
- bride and groom's family shake hands w everyone and thanks them for coming
- all the cars get jammed at the carpark exit
- everyone go back, shower and sleep with a full stomach
- bride and groom count ang bao money then are too tired to consummate they just ZZZZZZZZZZZZ
yeah... that's it.