It was with great expectation that we got up early on one of our very few public holidays to attend the wedding of a lovely girl called Sandra who was my boyfriends previous manager at his school.
We have heard many mixed opinions about Chinese weddings as they differ greatly from our Western ones and we were keen to experience it.
The couple are Christian so the church seremony was not that different from what we are use to - although it was more informal with less of a church atmosphere. Some people came dressed in hoodies, and there was amusingly a little lap dog being held in the choir.
The bride looked lovely - as brides do - in a big white dress with a long train. After the cermony we were lucky to be driven with the wedding procession of red mitsubishis to the reception.
Arriving at the recpetion you have to hand over you hong bao (red envelope) first, this is your payment for the wedding. The amount is optional but anything under R300 per person will be frowned upon. The money is unceremoniously taken out of the envelope - counted and the amount is written down in a book. You can then write well wishes and your name on a long red paper wishing the couple a bright future.
After a long wait for the arrival of the couple, the first course of many were served. It arrived with a lighting and music show and electrical torches with quite a fanfare. The wine was opened - there isn't much of a drinking culture with weddings - it's mostly for toasting and after living in Cape Town the quality of the wine makes your toes curl in your shoes. So toast we did - with the bride as they go around to every table for good wishes. My boyfriend was treated to a taste of the bride's glass - fruit juice! Not a chance for a tipsy bride then. With a few dress changes ahead I quess the bride still had quite a day ahead of her.
The next 13 or so courses came in one after the other - it is very different to the usual Taiwanese food - which I really enjoy. There is a lot of Chinese traditional herbs in and it's just not really palatable - Sorry...When the last course - the fruit - hit the table, people start leaving - it's the usual end of the reception. We are greeted by the door by the couple with some candy and a generous gift and off we go home. (Craving a cheese sandwich)
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