Last night we went to a Chinese wedding, my first. Holly says it was very atypical, which is why it was as fun as it was.
Lisa and Lee were the bride and groom. Lisa is from Nanchong, and owns a westernish bar here. Lee is Australian. They got married a few months ago, but just had the ceremony/meal now (the delay is common in China – you also do the photos weeks ahead of time so they can be blown up to 4 feet by 3 feet and displayed for people showing up to the banquet). There was a bonfire and dancing around the bonfire led by one of the pole dancers from Lisa’s bar (and was much chaster than that sentence might lead you to believe).
There were a few ceremonial rituals/games designed to symbolize different parts of married life(?). They stepped over a saddle and kneeled in front of Lisa’s parents and a few other things. Of course this was all done in 中文, which had people concerned for Lee being able to follow it, so Holly was recruited to be his interpreter, despite her unfamiliarity with the formal words for “bow from the waist” vs “bow your head.” The MC who was doing the 中文 part had a terrible squealing mic which detracted from the effect, but the bits where Lee had to repeat things in 四川话 (the local dialect) got good laughs from the crowd.
The part that I think was the best to have Holly awkwardly on stage trying to avoid being in pictures for was the exchange of vows/”say something nice” part. Then Lee could say romantic things about Lisa being special in his natural language, and Holly translated and everyone was happy. I think it was much better than him having memorized something short and simple so he could say it himself.
And then there was food. They had a dozen lambs and a dozen chickens basted in oils and spices and sesame, roasted on spits over coals. So fucking delicious. I’m normally vegetarian, but I give that up when I’m in China. (Basically I eat meat here because it would be such a pain in the ass for everyone else not to. Canada is well set up for non-meat-based foods. China is not.) And every time I come, there’s something like this that makes me so glad I’m eating the flesh of beasts.
There was some toasting at the wedding but not a huge amount because the after party was happening at Lisa’s bar. One guy came and toasted every foreigner at our table individually, meaning he had 8 drinks in 6 minutes. And that guy wasn’t me! This night.