First of all, congratulations to Fibi and Garry, the bride and groom, whose wedding ceremony I attended on 1st January 2012. I remember exactly the day when Fibi asked me “Agness, would you like to be my bridesmaid?” I was speechless, excited and surprised. Yyyyy, me? Why me? I saw her maybe twice in my life and didn’t know anything about her. But… could I say no? Maybe she could take it as an offence. I wasn’t really sure what to think about it but I finally said…. “Yes, of course. That will be my honour.” That day Fibi promised me we will spend more time together, get to know each other and start preparing the wedding together. Unfortunately, I was busy with my work, she was always out and we met a few times only to have a lunch or dinner together. I know being a bridesmaid at Chinese wedding when I don’t know the bride and Chinese traditions at all seems to be a little crazy, right? But, I couldn’t wait for the big day anyway. For me it was (at least it seemed to be) a great experience until the wedding day has come.
Of course, I didn’t know much about Chinese weddings. As it turned out, they differ A LOT from typical Catholic (European) weddings. Why? No church, no wedding party and no….. WEDDING CAKE! But let me start from the very beginning.
A night before the wedding, I was asked to stay with Fibi all night and play games with some members of her family. All night? Yes, from 7 pm to 5 am. Unfortunately, I was too tired, needed to take a shower and get my dress ready for the next day so I explained nicely to Fibi that I can’t stay. Her reaction? She looked very angry and upset but still smiling. Never mind. At 8 pm, the same day, we were taken to the beauty and hairdresser’s saloon to style our hair and put some make-up. When we came back home, I have shown Fibi my dress, shoes and earings as she has never seen them before. For some reason, she didn’t like neither my dress nor shoes. Still have no clue why. I was a little bit scared when I saw her angry face again. Maybe she didn’t like the color. What’s wrong with the red one? It’s Chinese color. This day, no doubts, was absolutely crazy but I was still waiting for the next day to come.
I didn’t have to wait that long as I went to sleep at midnight and had to wake up at 5 am. Yes, Chinese weddings start very early in the morning. I went to Fibi’s flat to help her dress up and make up again and she gave me some jewellery to wear during the wedding. I didn’t like it at all. It wasn’t my style and the necklace looked like one of Barbie doll’s accessories. But… it was another Chinese tradition. When the bride was ready, we had to wait for the groom to come to visit her. Garry arrived at 6.30 am and asked her parents to let her go with him promising he will take a good care of her. Fibi was crying a lot saying goodbye to her parents. Suddenly, everyone started to cry. Me and Kenneth felt awkward. I said to Kenneth “She is still going to live in the same building as her parents but in a different flat, so why is she crying?” Fibi said her life will change and she will not see her parents every night before she goes to sleep. Wow, she is 26 now and she still needs to see her parents before going to sleep (as far as I remember, I haven’t seen my mom for almost a year…).
We spent some time in Fibi’s flat then moved to Gary’s flat which was located 5 minutes walk. We had a breakfast (noodles) here and stayed in Gary’s room for about 2 hours. Don’t ask me what we did for 2 hours because I fell sleep after 10 minutes. I was tired and bored so I put my head on the table and Zzzzzzz. Kenneth woke me up screaming “Agness, we are going to the restaurant now!!!” It was nearly 11 am. Before going to the restaurant, Fibi had to pop in the beauty saloon again (that was her 3rd time this day) to put more make-up on and style her hair. When we finally got to the restaurant, me and Kenneth had to stay outside, smile and wave to all guests (500 people were invited). Freezing cold and me smiling to everyone saying in Chinese “Hello! Welcome to Gary and Fibi’s wedding.” There were many different people attending this celebration: teachers I know, teachers I have seen first time, family members, close friends and Fibi’s workmates. Of course, everyone was starring at me like I was the main attraction of the wedding, not Fibi and Gary. I could see Fibi wasn’t really happy about this but… what could I do? I’m not only a foreigner but also a blonde girl and people have been looking at me since my first day in China. I kinda got used to it. Me and Kenneth sang a song for the bride and groom. People were cheering. We had a lunch together and…. by 1pm everyone’s gone. Fibi and Garry came back home shortly.
To sum up, it was my first Chinese wedding and I felt a little disappointed. It was quite boring and usual. Nothing suprising really. People were dressed like they were going to work or a market to buy some potatoes. However, I was happy for Gary and Fibi as, I can imagine, it was one of their best moments of their lives. That day I missed European weddings a lot. Next time if someone asks me “Do you want to be a bridesmaid at my wedding?” and this person isn’t one of my best Chinese friends I will definitely say “No, thanks” or think it over 100 times before make my decision.
I have found some websites describing step-by-step the ritual of weddings in China. You might find it useful. Unfortunately, I have experienced none of them.
Check out the pictures in the gallery.