Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hong Kong Day 4

Today was the big day: Grace and Ben's wedding day.
I've never experienced a traditional Chinese wedding before, and I'm really glad that I was able to be a part of such a special occasion. While the first part of today's ceremony was quite traditional, the second part was more modern. It was the perfect blend.
The day seemed far too long to explain everything in detail, so I'll give a quick run down and highlight some of the key points.

To start out, the bride's party convenes with the bride (which was at the hotel) and must all be there before the groom and his party arrive. Now, this is where some of the more modern aspects of the wedding show up. Before the groom was able to see the bride, he had first to undergo a series of tasks, questions, and trials. These were mostly just fun little games, but it was really entertaining and also really sweet.
After this, the bride and groom sit down and have tea with the bride's parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, etc. and gifts are give to both the bride and groom. These are usually pieces of expensive jewelery, and the more pieces the more prosperous the marriage is said to be.
Also, the groom gave out gifts (an envelope containing money) to the guests of the bride. I'm not sure if this is part of the tradition or not.

Once the tea was finished, the bride and groom (followed by the wedding party) join the groom's family for tea and the exchanging of gifts. In our case, the wedding party had to board a shuttle bus to the groom's home. Already the day was turning out to be quite the adventure! Once the ceremony concluded at the groom's family home, the wedding party took a break at a nearby restaurant for lunch. It was pretty delicious. There were steamed pork buns which tasted better than any pork buns I had ever had before
We then headed back to the hotel for a quick break and to change clothes, then it was off to the marriage license office. Luckily, the building was right next to the hotel, so it was just a quick stroll through the park. Along the way, many, many, MANY photos were taken by the photographers. It was a lot of fun, though!

After a short wait at the license office, forms were signed, rings were exchanged, and the bride and groom were now happily married! After stopping for more photos, the wedding party boarded another shuttle and were escorted to the reception, which was taking place at the Hong Kong Banker's Club (members only?).
Wow. The view from the 43rd floor was pretty spectacular. Plus, the reception hall was extremely classy.
Evelyn, one of Grace's friends from Finland, discovered a way up to the roof of the building while out for a cigarette. She later showed me the way, and I was able to snap some unbelievable pictures of Hong Kong at night. After eating more food than I think I've ever eaten in one sitting, it was back to the hotel to get some sleep. Best night ever.

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