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How I incorporated Chinese culture into my wedding

Popularity 19Viewed 11445 times 2014-5-19 20:53 |System category:Life| wedding, Chinese, culture

Although I am totally a romantic at heart, I have never been the type of girl to fantasize about my "dream wedding" so when my boyfriend of 5 years proposed to me, I was ecstatic, but had no idea how to plan a wedding. I watched American wedding movies to learn up on how to be a proper bride, but none of it appealed to me and I couldn't relate to the girls in the movie who had been planning it since they were 5 years old. I let my mother take control of a large portion of the wedding because I also felt like it was her day as well--I suppose many people would find this odd. The only things I cared about were the food and my dress. Since I was conveniently living in China during the whole engagement period, it was really easy to go shopping and buy decorations for the wedding. The following are some of the ways I incorporated Chinese culture into my wedding. 

Here are some of the decorations:


One of my artistic friends and I spent 2 whole days refurbishing an old window pane to make the seating chart traditional Chinese depictions of the dragon and the phoenix symbolizing husband and wife, as well as fish symbolizing wealth and prosperity. In the top left panel is a common wedding wish: 百年好合 (bǎinián hǎo hé) meaning 100 years of harmony. 


My mother labored for hours over the wedding invitations, which were dual language, English and Chinese. The English was printed, by my mother hand calligraphied the Chinese with gold paint and I affixed the red invitations with a gold wax seal engraved with my husband and I's Chinese names (伟伟 & 爱德华). We chose the auspicious date of August 18 (8/18). 


My husband's brother baked 50 cupcakes (yes 50, we had a very small wedding and I'm not big on sweets) and learned enough Chinese to draw the double happiness symbol on top.


Now to the actual wedding. My mother briefed the wedding party on Chinese wedding games. The first of which is when the groom must try and enter the home of the bride. Since our wedding was actually in New York at my husband's aunt's home, it was more symbolic that literal. In the picture, you can see me peeking through the window with my friends while my bridesmaids prevented my husband from entering. They made him dance like a ballerina and make up a poem professing his love for me--it was very touching. Traditionally, the groom must throw money over the door, but that made me feel uncomfortable because I felt it would be like he was buying me. 


In the actual wedding, we had a tea ceremony. Now traditionally, the tea ceremony takes place in the homes of the bride and groom, but our wedding was in New York and I was taking my own twist on both American and Chinese culture. Therefore, we had a brief tea ceremony during the wedding ceremony where I served tea to my husband's parents and he to mine. In the picture, my mother is giving me an envelope with money. My husband and I had our wedding clothes designed and tailored in China. I absolutely love the Mao-style suit and this is should be brought back into fashion. My dress is a modern combination of a traditional qipao and an American style wedding dress. 


Finally, we had Chinese wedding games, which we so fun! In addition to the typical "biting an apple on a string," my favorite was the guessing game. They blindfolded my husband and made him kiss peoples' hands trying to guess which one was me. It was very amazing, but he got it right! I was the 5th one.


As I am half American and half Chinese, I chose my favorite parts of both cultures and incorporated them into my wedding day. These are just a few example of the Chinese wedding traditions that I chose to incorporate. 

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(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


Passing

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1

Shake hands

Ray

Friends who just made a statement (12 Person)

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Comment Comment (25 comments)

Reply Report chinalionfish 2014-5-20 10:44
Congratulations! It's so amazing. Wish you bai tou xie lao, zao sheng gui zi.
Reply Report Jun2009 2014-5-20 11:28
You look great in Qipao. You don't know me, but I am happy for your joys in Beijing. Today is 2014.5.20. In chinese, this date has a special meaning that I love you and love you forever. Congratulations and best luck for your future together!
Reply Report jiewei798 2014-5-20 13:09
chinalionfish: Congratulations! It's so amazing. Wish you bai tou xie lao, zao sheng gui zi.
Thank you! I know 白头偕老, but what does zao sheng gui zi mean?
Reply Report jiewei798 2014-5-20 13:10
Jun2009: You look great in Qipao. You don't know me, but I am happy for your joys in Beijing. Today is 2014.5.20. In chinese, this date has a special meaning t ...
Thank you! Oh wow, what a coincidence. Why does it mean that?
Reply Report chinalionfish 2014-5-20 14:21
jiewei798: Thank you! I know 白头偕老, but what does zao sheng gui zi mean?
Have a cute baby soon.
Reply Report 286633460 2014-5-20 17:36
how stupid I am , up to now that I find you are a foreigner. anyway hope you can have a happy life with your husband.
Reply Report jiewei798 2014-5-20 20:36
286633460: how stupid I am , up to now that I find you are a foreigner. anyway hope you can have a happy life with your husband.
Haha, I am still a foreigner, but I am half Chinese. Thank you!
Reply Report bex 2014-5-20 21:03
congratulations ! you look amazing in the picture
Reply Report sfphoto 2014-5-21 03:40
Hello! First of all, congratulations on your beautiful wedding! Just to let you know, in today's "modern" China, brides wear white gowns during the wedding ceremony and red "qipaos" during the wedding banquet. For the groom, they wear either Western suits or Zhongshan "Mao" suits but only in dark colors and never in white which is the color of mourning. Cheers!
Reply Report objchina 2014-5-21 12:57
Congrats to you on your wedding.
Reply Report winnie伊伊 2014-5-21 14:15
congratulations, but in my home town have more customs.
Reply Report jiewei798 2014-5-22 22:42
bex: congratulations ! you look amazing in the picture
Thank you!
Reply Report jiewei798 2014-5-22 22:43
sfphoto: Hello! First of all, congratulations on your beautiful wedding! Just to let you know, in today's "modern" China, brides wear white gowns dur ...
Yea, but I didn't want to wear 2 dresses and I didn't want to wear white. Originally we ordered my husband's suit to be beige, but the tailor got it wrong! I wasn't too upset though because I don't care that much about superstitions. Plus he looked really good in a white suit :)
Reply Report jiewei798 2014-5-22 22:43
objchina: Congrats to you on your wedding.
Thank you!
Reply Report jiewei798 2014-5-22 22:43
winnie伊伊: congratulations, but in my home town have more customs.
Thank you! What are your hometown customs?
Reply Report bingtangxueli 2014-5-22 22:53
congratulations ,You look so  beautifuil  in  Qipao.but  Wedding ceremony is more  complicated
  in   chinese traditional rural
Reply Report tradervic 2014-5-23 06:53
Now the real fun and adventure begins - more power to the dragon and phoenix in this marriage.
Reply Report winnie伊伊 2014-5-23 15:01
A Lot,such as , one night -before they get married,they can't see ,And in bride's home,their  friends have a party for the birde.
people who can go there you know and you don't know.in the wedding day,the bride should have sesames (a crop) in the mouth.in general ,that's all the traditional way.
Reply Report jiewei798 2014-5-23 18:11
tradervic: Now the real fun and adventure begins - more power to the dragon and phoenix in this marriage.
Thank you!
Reply Report jiewei798 2014-5-23 18:12
bingtangxueli: congratulations ,You look so  beautifuil  in  Qipao.but  Wedding ceremony is more  complicated
  in   chinese traditional rural
Thank you!

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