Another Chinese Wedding

I am so fortunate.  During my days teaching English in Shaoxing, China, I made great friendships not only with the other "foreign" teachers, but with students.  It is eight years since my first contact in Shaoxing, and two students who were there at the time invited me to their weddings.  I attended one in December, 2015, and one in February, 2016.

Despite the fact that they were in the same province of China, the weddings were quite different in many ways.

Here is the post about the first one. 

My young friend, whom I will record as "R", was the bride for Wedding No 2.  She first came to Australia  in 2010, and has been again since.  I spent the first five days in Shaoxing, which I will write about later, and on the sixth day, I went to the campus of Yuexiu University of Foreign Languages, and met up with my friend R, who was there with two friends to take me to Cixi.

I had been to Cixi back in 2014, when I visited her and stayed with her in her home.  It was a short 2 or 3 days from memory.

This time I asked to be booked into a hotel, so that I would not be "in the way of wedding activities" but she promised me an apartment or hotel and until I arrived I was unsure of where I would be staying.

As it turns out the family company had an apartment, and I stayed there.  We went to the supermarket and bought a few things, and I was subsequently ensconced in the apartment.  I had water to drink, some snacks to eat, coffee, paper cups, but no spoons to mix the coffee, and no way of heating/boiling water.  I found a jug in the belongings of one of the staff, and found my way to a local supermarket and bought a teaspoon.

The outside temperature was around 1 - 4 degrees during the day, so I wore my heavy coats when out and about.

My apartment was in this housing block - a little to the left of the photo, on the 3rd floor.

The wedding was held in the factory, which was transformed into a wedding venue with red felt carpet, many tables with red tablecloths, and fancy red chairs.  You'd be hard pressed to recognise it as a factory.  There was a stage, a catwalk, and "arbour"!  Gold and red everywhere!  Some 600 people attended the luncheon.

The caterers operated out of marquees in the car park.  There were some formalities as the bride was given away by her parents.

The bride changed in the office above, and almost ran through the factory to the outside and the red carpet that was on the car park from the factory gate to the door of the factory.

There was a lot of excitement, plenty of photos taken as the bride and groom entered the factory and the ceremony started.

Yours truly was asked to be the "Marriage Celebrant" and I had to stand before all and read some prepared notes (which I had arranged to be totally edited from the "English" stuff I was originally given.)  An interpreter repeated each of my sentences in Mandarin.  An odd experience that is for sure.

The tables were all full of food, which seemed to keep coming.  Plenty to eat.  Guests were given a box of goodies, which I will detail later.

The bride ready for the event.

Walking from the factory gate.

The bride and groom

On the stage
Following the ceremony in the factory there were giveaways - children were given soft toys and an amazing array of entertainers, some who were famous opera singers performed.

A little boy watches on as the entertainers pose for a photo.  They all performed solo.

The next step of the performance was the journey to the bride's home.  She changed into another wedding dress, and the groom had to come and "take her away".  There was some games as the groom was initially denied access to the bride, but then when he got into the bedroom, he kneeled before her and offered her flowers.

Fireworks.  I haven't mentioned them.  At the factory at the beginning of the day's events, and as the bride left, and when they arrived in front of the bride's house.  Later, more fireworks. 

Around 10 black cars with red ribbons on the doors and red stickers on the windscreens, left after more fireworks and headed to the groom's family home.  I was in one of the black cars!

On arrival at the groom's village, which was about 45 minutes drive away, there were more fireworks.  We initially went inside, and I spent an hour or so upstairs as the bride was prepared for the next event, which was a dinner at a restaurant/hall nearby.

Wedding guests walked through the Village, following the bride and groom to the upstairs venue, where we ate another array of foods.  There was no ceremony.  Folk ate and then left.  In fact for much of the night children played on the stage with balloons, and the folk sat playing with their mobile phones.

Afterwards, we walked back to the house, sat in the bedroom while the bride chatted with a few folks.  Then cars took folk back to Cixi and I was taken to my apartment.  Sleep came quickly.

Walking to the hall 
The stage area

The bride in traditional outfit