We recently went to Jinan in Shandong Province for the wedding of Jack's cousin. It was my first experience with a Chinese city wedding and it left me thinking, “identity crisis”. Or perhaps I should say, it was a Western wedding with Chinese characteristics. There was a wedding march of sorts, but it was into a hotel banquet hall. It was set up on a stage that resembled more a catwalk than a church aisle. There was an emcee instead of a minister, “I do”s but also long speeches. People seated at tables with snacks and drinks like they were watching a show.
The couple arrived with a bang, literally, in a convertible with painfully loud fireworks. The groom was wearing a pink dress shirt, though somehow it suited him. The bride changed costumes several times during the day. And after all the fuss by my friends over what I would wear, the groom’s side of the family were wearing simple slacks and polo shirts, shiny pajama-like clothes and such. The bride’s side was much more smartly dressed. The family actually seemed little involved besides speeches by the fathers. No big wedding party participating in the ceremony.
It also made me think, at least for the father of the groom, that this sort of Chinese wedding is also an excuse to drink for two days. Nevertheless, despite the constant eating and toasting, it was still enjoyable. In any culture it’s fun to watch a new couple begin their new life.