The Wedding.

When I was invited to two weddings in China.I considered going to both.  Unfortunately they were not at the same time.  One was in December and the other is in February.  I was offered a place to stay from December to February, but it was not an option for me, as tempting as it was. 

What does an Australian (foreigner) do at a Chinese wedding?  I had no idea.  I was inclined to panic a bit.  The information I received about what to do was confusing, and as it turns out was not correct.  I did know that every region has different ways of celebrating almost any event, and weddings are just one of the events that differ.

I did look at some websites which offered information on Chinese weddings.  This one and this one.   Here is another one.  I communicated with Chinese friends, but the information was confusing.  

I was very tentative when I arrived in China on December 1st, and this post is a "report" on the wedding celebrations.  (I might add that I have booked to go to the one in February too!)

The bride and groom met me at Hangzhou Airport - at 8 pm.  They presented me with a gift.  A wonderful bunch of flowers.  I was thrilled as one of my favourite flowers is the Lilium, which produces a wonderful fragrance which fills a room in the evenings.  

Already feeling wonderful, if not tired, we went to the home of the bride and groom.  It was a Villa and they proudly showed me around.  I would love to have lived in such a place!  The garden was wonderful, and I had a strong urge to take out the camera, but was promised we would return.  We did, a few days later, but the place was filled with marquees and people so I did not get the shots that I had planned.

I met family and friends, and later we had dinner which was prepared by a local restaurant with about 10 of us at the table, though some family members came and went, as final wedding plans were being made. The bride gave me another gift.  A beautiful bag, which contained a velvet covered box with pearls inside. Awesome!!

A driver took me from the Villa to the hotel which I had booked into.  It was odd arriving so late - must have been around 11 pm, but all was well and I went up to the 6th floor with my flowers.   I had asked for a vase, but there apparently were none.  I found that the coffee mug in the room worked wonderfully, and the flowers continued to spend time with me until I departed.

The room was pretty ordinary - but luckily was at the back of the hotel and much quieter, and it worked well for me as I really only slept there.  The stained carpet didn't impress, but the rest was ok.

The following day I had to myself - it was good to catch up on some sleep and walk around the area to get my bearings.  I found the Carrefour supermarket and bought a few things.  I had tried breakfast in the hotel.  Once.  It did not impress so I didn't go again.

The first celebration of the wedding was on the Thursday.  A lunch at the home town of the bride's father.  Zhuji.  

The restaurant was decorated to let everyone know about the celebration.

Lunch is ready!

The groom goes around to drink with guests!  Cheers!

The bride and groom

Arriving at the bride's parents home.  Fireworks.

Lots of smoke!

The afternoon was spent at the bride's home.  Several people sat and watched television, and I did too as there was little else for me to do.  The bride went to have her hair done, and no one else spoke English, and of course I watched the pictures on the television screen and endeavoured to work out what was happening!

Later the bride and some bridesmaids returned, and they set to work decorating the house with the red wedding symbol.

The wedding symbol was attached to all windows and the red patterns on the cornices.
Afterwards, we went to dinner at another restaurant before I returned to my hotel.  I found one of the groomsmen/best men spoke English and I questioned him about my responsibilities and what I should do at all the festivities.  He told me that there were no rules for me, and even over the following days if I asked another question, he would remind me that "there were no rules for you."

The next day was extremely cold, and I donned my very heavy coat to go to the villa, which is in the groom's father's home town.  It was certainly a big celebration with all sorts of decorations out the front of the villa, with two marquees on the property and many people.  It was pouring with rain - so I was unable to take any photos of the outside areas.  In the marquees were tables and chairs and preparations for the luncheon party.  In the main room of the villa, people were placing a red carpet (felt on the floor and within a short time, there were tables and chairs and the tables set up for the lunch.  

Hard to believe that the room was transformed so quickly!

The ceiling and other decorations of the main bedroom
In the bedroom

The bridesmaids

Wedding window decorations

The bride and bridesmaids

Posing for the photographers

At the lunch
Some of the foods

It was a great celebration with lot of food, lots of laughs, lots of serious speeches that I didn't understand!!

When I left the party, with my driver, we drove through snow!!!  I had never been "in" snow before, so I was quite thrilled.  Yes, it was cold.