Last Sunday we attended the wedding of C.’s cousin. As we are close relatives we went to his parent’s home in the morning and witnessed all of the wedding traditions.
When we arrived at around 10 am the groom and his best man had already dressed up and were followed everywhere by the cameraman. The double happiness signs were pasted on the door and windows, the couple’s bedroom had new furniture and a bright red bed cover, and snacks were on the table waiting for the hungry relatives. After an hour of drinking tea, chitchatting and eating dried nuts, the men went outside and lit the firecrackers. It seems a lot of noise is needed when you start a new adventure, be it a marriage or a business.
At noon we went to a nearby restaurant to have lunch. That was when I was informed that I would have to perform some interpreting duties during the wedding, because the bride was from Indonesia, her mum and aunt had come to attend the wedding and C. and I are basically the only people in the whole family who can speak English. So after lunch I went with the groom and his friends to the hotel where the bride and her relatives were waiting for us. First the groom had to manage to get into the bride’s room, and that was not easy because the bride’s friends were asking for a lot of hongbao in exchange for opening the door. After 20 hongbao were passed under the door we could get inside. But the groom’s work did not end there, as he had to complete some games if he wanted to leave with his bride: first he had to carve the bride’s name in four apples (luckily it was her English name, if it was the Chinese name we would still be there!) and the word love in four slices of bread; then he, the best man and another friend had to dance Xiao Pingguo and ballet; and finally he had to find the bride’s shoes, which the friends had hidden. Then we went to the mum and aunt’s room, where I had to translate their blessings.
Later, while the couple was taking pictures, I stayed with the mum and the aunt in their hotel room to chat with them. In the early evening someone came to pick us up and we drove through Suzhou’s worst traffic ever. The banquet took place in a restaurant not far from where we live and, as usual in Chinese weddings, there was an MC talking the whole time, reciting cheesy lines about love, explaining what the couple was doing (drinking with the guests, cutting the cake, etc), and organising some games so the guests could win prizes. I have seen this last thing in two weddings and I thought it was very weird, usually in weddings you only get a small souvenir, but now couples are buying phones and other stuff to give away!
As usual, we ate a lot and toasted a lot. It is amazing the amount of food and drinks that people gulp down in weddings!