In “For Chinese people, getting married is a hassle”, we briefly describe the “marriage” of Chinese people. Perhaps more interesting, it is not a series of complex social issues about marriage, but more specific details: what does a Chinese wedding look like?
Similar to the ancient West, Chinese weddings, in the cases of non-“matrilocal residence”, are also regarded as the performance of women leaving their parents and entering the husband’s family. Therefore, for the husband in the wedding, it is normal to pay more, have more etiquette, and the process is more complicated. Let’s first describe the typical process of a wedding:
The first is to choose a suitable wedding date. Although many Chinese people no longer believe in ghosts and gods, choosing a “auspicious” day has very little cost, hence many people will still choose a good day. But in fact, because most young people have to work, weddings can only be held during holidays, preferably during long ones. Choosing auspicious dates in holidays sometimes leads to a large number of weddings gathering on the same day, causing some inconvenience, such as lack of hotel space, but these are tolerable.
The second is to arrange who will handle the wedding. In fact, the whole process is not that complicated, but involving too many people and props. If you manage it yourself, it will cost a lot of energy. As a result, many Chinese have to hand over their weddings to professional wedding agents. Generally speaking, wedding agents have high gross margins because they leave plenty of profit margin on the quotations of personnel and props, but it is difficult for users who lack professional knowledge to argue with them about the cost. If you plan to reduce wedding costs as much as possible and hold a simple small wedding, you won`t need these agents.
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Then is taking wedding photos. Before the wedding, the bride and groom put on their wedding day costumes in advance and take pictures in various venues as a souvenir. Wedding photos are also a popular link that has been criticized. First of all, the shooting process is lengthy and consumes a lot of energy. In particular, many wedding photos have to change several scenes, and the bride and groom have to spend a lot of time on transportation. Secondly, some young people think that if they wear a wedding dress before the wedding, there will be no freshness on the wedding day. But even so, wedding photos are still essential for many weddings in order to commemorate the wedding, rather than hastily taking pictures that are not good-looking on the wedding day.
Let us skipp the boring links such as bride price and dowry and directly come to the wedding day. Early in the morning, the bridegroom will take his friends and drive to the bride’s house to pick up his fiancee. For most Chinese, they will choose to rent a luxury car for one day to form a spectacular luxury motorcade to show the style of the wedding. It may be somewhat self-deceiving, but at least good-looking.
The bride’s home will also decorate the room to make it more festive. The groom has his own team of best men, and the bride has her own team of bridesmaids, which are often their unmarried relatives and friends. The family and bridesmaids team will help the bride dress up, put on her wedding dress and wait for the bridegroom to pick her up. When the groom arrives, the bridesmaids team will find some ways to make things difficult for the groom. For example, refuse to open the door, or hide the bride’s shoes so that she can’t go out. To solve these problems, of course, it is necessary for the bridegroom to give red envelopes to the bridesmaids team. Pay attention to this point and we will talk about it in more detail below.
From here, there are family members or photographers holding cameras and begin to record the day. After that, most of the processes are also taken or photographed as souvenir.
When the bride leaves home, there will be different arrangements depending on the degree of development in different places. In more developed areas, the process will be simpler, because the concept of “the bride leaves home and becomes a member of the husband’s family” has been watered down, and the wedding is just a formality. But in slightly backward areas, traditional values are still deep-rooted, so the bride needs a series of ceremonies to say goodbye to her parents, which will not be discussed in detail here.
Generally speaking, the above links should be promoted as early as possible in the early morning, because according to the customs of some places, weddings must be held before 12:00 at noon, which is regarded by the Chinese as the rising period of “Yang Qi”. Once after noon, the “Yang Qi” decreases and the “Yin Qi” increases, the wedding is no longer auspicious. What’s more, after the bride leaves home, the motorcade takes the bride and groom and others to the wedding venue-usually a hotel. The process may take a long time.
After arriving at the party place, we should first entertain the guests before the wedding begins. Guests who receive invitations will come to the hotel one after another and sit down at the table. Coming to a wedding is not free – most people need to prepare “share money”, which must be at least several hundred yuan-in short, it must be more expensive than the food and drink they enjoy at the wedding.
In “For Chinese people, getting married is a hassle”, we said that the money was actually to help the bride and groom recover the cost of the wedding-although in many cases the bride and groom will receive hundreds of thousands of yuan, they can still earn some money after pay the bill. This is a simple Chinese concept of mutual help, although some people think that attending a wedding is also a hassle, especially for those who do not plan to marry themselves, because they can only spend a share of the money but have no chance to get it back. Please pay attention to this section, which we will also focus on below.
After all the guests are seated, the wedding will begin at the scheduled time. At this time, guests generally have only simple drinks and snacks on the table, in oder not to disturb the atmosphere. The process of formal weddings is complex and changeable, but you can also see most of the sections in typical Western weddings, so there is no need to describe them in details. In particular, nowadays, when the bride and groom wear a suit and wedding dress, the visual effect is more like a western-style wedding.
For Chinese young people, they are more willing to take the opportunity of the wedding to show their hobbies and talents. As a result, some weddings add different cultural elements, such as singing and dancing, pre-edited films, and even cosplay. The author has seen that the husband and wife know each other by playing World of Warcraft, and their wedding also chose the theme of the World of Warcraft game, dressed in cosplay. Such interesting weddings are very rare in today’s China.
Generally speaking, after the end of the oath, the wedding is basically over. The rest is the wedding reception. At the wedding reception, the groom usually takes the best man team to toast to show his respect for the guests-how can the bridegroom drink too much on the wedding day? This is the purpose of the existence of the best man. They will drink in place of the bridegroom to prevent the groom from getting drunk. The bridesmaids also have some problems of their own, which we also describe below.
Traditionally, the wedding process continues until that night, when the newlyweds enter the wedding room together, while others block their “first night”, which is called “making a bridal chamber”. But in today’s more civilized China, weddings usually end after the banquet, and not only the invited guests, but also the best men and bridesmaids can go home. On the one hand, this saves the wedding process and expenses, and on the other hand, it gives all wedding participants more time to rest-after all, once the working day comes, most Chinese still have to work. It is important to stay vigorous.
Next, we will focus on some phenomena that are still relatively backward in weddings. Remember the three small problems we mentioned above? Let’s talk about it one by one.
First, when the bridegroom team picks up the bride, it will be blocked by the bride’s family and the bridesmaid team, and the groom not only needs to perform all kinds of embarrassing performances, but also needs to hand out red envelopes to comfort everyone. This ceremony is designed to express the reluctance of the bride’s family and friends to the bride, and to make the wedding more festive and lively, but in the hands of some family members with bad character or bad intentions, it will be greatly changed.
In some news, families keep asking for a larger amount of money, so that the problems that should have been solved by a few hundred or a few thousand yuan have risen to tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of yuan. Regardless of whether the bridegroom team has prepared so much cash, even if they have money, tens of thousands of yuan is not a figure to make fun of for most Chinese people. But in this section, some families are so greedy that they must ask for more practical benefits from the bridegroom in addition to the bride price.
As a result, it is easy to imagine that such wretched games often make the groom very unhappy. In serious cases, the bridegroom will be offended by this greed and shamelessness and leave in anger, and the wedding will come to an end. The loss caused by such upheaval is unacceptable to both sides, but in reality, there are some families who lack thinking and do such annoying things.
Second, cahs gift. As we said above, money is nominally a festive etiquette to attend a wedding, but it is actually the cost for relatives and friends to help crowdfunded weddings. Therefore, generally speaking, we think that we should only ask friends and relatives for some money, and since other people take the initiative to help, we should not ask for more. But in fact, money often brings trouble.
There are two main kinds of trouble. First, some bridegrooms are greedy for money and invite a large number of friends who are not very close, such as colleagues in the company, or even classmates they haven’t seen for many years. When you encounter this kind of invitation, you can just politely refuse it. Once you attend, you have to prepare some money, which is really uncomfortable. Second, some bridegrooms and brides ignore that sharing money is the goodwill of others, check or even compare the amount of money shared by guests, and dislike the poor and love the rich, and despise those guests who give less money. This is, of course, putting things to the end, and it may even bring long-term friction to interpersonal relationships.
Third, bridesmaids. In backward areas of China, bridesmaids sometimes assume responsibilities that they should not undertake at all, which is to bring fun to the guests. These programs would be fine if they were just talent shows, but sometimes they will turn into sexual harassment. Some groomsmen and guests will try to harass the bridesmaids, take off their clothes, push them into the pool, and so on. In some uncontrollable situations, bridesmaids can even be raped.
Although this situation is very rare today, it still exists in some backward areas. To make matters worse, similar phenomenon has occurred in some developed areas, even at the weddings of celebrities and stars. This triggered the angry condemnation of the vast majority of Chinese. We should not regard the bullying of bridesmaids as part of a Chinese wedding. In fact, this phenomenon is also deeply abhorred by the Chinese people.
Well, that’s the end of the brief description of the Chinese wedding. If you have any more detailed questions, please feel free to leave a message and ask us. How about we talk about Chinese funerals next time?