I went to my cousin’s wedding yesterday. I take this opportunity to present you several wedding customs in terms of decorations and wedding banquets.
This wedding is held in the countryside of Zhejiang province (Southeast of China), the customs presented below are different from regions to regions. If you have different wedding experience before in China, don’t hesitate to share it with me on the comments below. ^^
a view of the countryside
According to the local habits, a countryside wedding will last 2-3 days with around 5 banquets. You may be shocked by the length of the wedding celebration and the number of banquets we have. However, it doesn’t mean you have to be there during the whole process. You can choose to come on the day you prefer, or you can just give your best wishes to the new couple then leave immediately. Actually, from my personal experience, a wedding celebration is always quite fun and full of happiness.
This is a special character used only for marriage. It consists of two ‘喜'(xǐ) which means ‘happiness’, so two ‘喜’ indicates double happiness. When I arrived, I can easily find their house, as there was a big ‘喜喜’ on the gate of their house. Besides this, they also put similar wallpaper on the wall of the main hall where is going to be used to conduct a wedding ceremony.
To the left of the gate, they placed three bales of hay with one string of firecrackers on each. When the bride’s car is approaching, they will set off the firecrackers first then ignite the hay. The reasons are because the sound of firecrackers can inform all guests that the bride is here now, and also the sound will drive out evil spirits. Burning hay represents the acceptance of the bride as a real member of her husband’s family, in Chinese, we call it ‘过门'(guòmén).
This is the main hall where is going to be served for the wedding ceremony. The table is covered with a red sheet with four dark red chairs behind. On the table, there are four red candles, two pots of red decoration flowers, two red small baskets, and also two red thermoses on each side. It is believed that red is the symbol of happiness, good fortune, and joy. In fact, you can easily find red everywhere during other Chinese important festivals, such as Spring festival.
We also need to prepare a room which is used as the bridal chamber. The main color of the room is red. As you can see in the picture above, there are many duvets placing in the middle of the bed. This is a part of the dowry (an amount of property or money brought by the bride to her husband). The number of duvets is always an even number such as 6, 8 or 10.
Last part is the banquets. If you already had experience having a meal at a real Chinese restaurant, you must be familiar with such tables. At my cousin’s wedding, there were around 20 tables for lunch, and 10 for dinner. People eat and talk, share happiness together, and also send the best wishes to the new couple. There were around 20 dishes served during the lunch and less for the dinner.