Our Chinese wedding
Finally! I got the pictures from the official photographer and I can at last tell you everything about our Chinese wedding, which was on May 13th. Well, as you will see, our wedding was not a traditional Chinese wedding at all, because we are not traditional. We tried to have a wedding that we would be happy and comfortable with, and I can say we succeeded. We were very glad that neither my parents nor C.’s parents meddled with the wedding organisation… in fact, they did not to try to do anything at all! I was very relieved, as I know that usually Chinese mothers in law insist in arranging everything and you basically attend your own wedding without knowing how it is going to be.
I have attended many weddings in China so I know a fair bit about them. Because I know how they normally are, there were several things I wanted to make sure for my own wedding: 1) it would be an outdoor wedding; and 2) there would not be an MC. Outdoors because I don’t like the usual banquet hall were the windows are covered (I think they are ugly and they even give me a bit of claustrophobia) and no MC because they are very noisy and annoying (MCs in Chinese weddings “entertain” guests during the whole dinner, telling stories on the mic, singing, even doing games).
There are not many places which arrange outdoors weddings in Suzhou. Some hotels have gardens where you can have the ceremony, but the dinner still has to be inside (in a windowless hall! Argh!!). However, we were very lucky to find a beautiful little hotel where both the ceremony and the banquet could be done outside, and we quickly booked it. Besides, this hotel had other two advantages: it is pretty small, so we would have a limited number of guests (Chinese weddings are usually a huge affair, with many guests that you have never seen in your life), and its restaurant serves Thai food, which ensured that our wedding menu would be different to your typical wedding. In Suzhou, when I attend a wedding, I know beforehand what I am going to eat because the menu is ALWAYS the same. Booooring!
After we booked the hotel, we also hired the wedding planners they normally work with. The wedding planners then arranged the decorations, the photographer, my make up, the lights, the DJ, the stage, the “priest”… C. did all the communication with them and the only thing I had to do was choose the colour theme and my bouquet. I was a very relaxed bride, haha. C. had to work a bit more, as he had to find a band, make the seating plan, buy the alcohol and cigarettes… Well, we both had to work (it was literally manual work) assembling our gift for the guests: a small red wooden box which contained Ferrero Rocher inside. We had to assemble over 800 boxes, as C. had to give gifts to everybody in his company! But C.’s parents helped us with this and in fact did most of the boxes.
On the actual day, I woke up to find our apartment full of people, as C.’s uncles and cousins came. C.’s mother was in charge of attending them and I was told to do my thing. At 11:30, my mum, my bridesmaid and I were driven to the hotel, where we were going to get dolled up and dressed. At 3 pm we had a brief ceremony by the lake, then there was an afternoon tea with pretty cakes and then the rest of the guests started coming (only the closest ones were invited to the ceremony, although a few more appeared somehow, haha). The dinner started at 6:30 and I actually had time to eat something, as I only changed dresses once. Ah, right. Another thing that I didn’t want to do in my wedding was changing clothes too many times, as I wanted to actually be there. Some Chinese brides change outfits 5 or 6 times during the day! As if I was even capable of finding 6 wedding outfits that I liked, haha. I had a hard time finding just two…
I’m so glad I had time to eat! During the previous months I was not really sure how the food was going to be. We had decided to have a buffet, and I was a bit scared food would not be too good, or enough, or that people would make a mess in the buffet area. But the hotel did a fantastic job. The food was amazing and more than enough. We had many different dishes (including at least 5 or 6 vegetarian options) and there was fresh salmon sashimi being cut on the spot (which I actually don’t even remember ordering, hahaha). The Filipino cover band we hired played at the beginning of the banquet and after that the soundtrack was a playlist I had prepared beforehand. Believe it or not, but once I went to a wedding where the same song was played all the time during the banquet (is it just me or listening to the same song 300 times in a row is one of the most annoying things ever?).
After the dinner, we went with a bunch of guests to the karaoke to finish the night. We were tired, but we sang a few hits! We love karaoke so it was the perfect ending.
And now… the pictures!
We were extremely lucky and we had a sunny, blue sky day (the previous day had been raining). I absolutely loved the decorations in the ceremony and the background of the blue sky and the lake.
Now it is my time to arrange and organise things, as our Spanish wedding will be in October. Weddings in Spain are more complicated I think, as they are longer. Let’s see how it goes!