Since moving to Korea, Kim and I have had our fair share of unique experiences but our past trip to China for SanKwun's wedding was by far our biggest "You're a bit far East" moment. The events I am about to describe are based on our actual experiences and have not been fabricated in any way. To support these claims, we have provided photo evidence. In all seriousness, while the wackiness of the day made us laugh (a lot) the trip was still extremely special and we feel lucky to have been there to share the day with SanKwun & ChunPing.
Let's get started.
The day started off pretty normal. The wedding started at 10:00AM. So after a quick breakfast, Kim and I headed back to our rooms to get ready. We were told to meet in front of the hotel at 9:45AM. During breakfast I asked SanKwun what a Chinese wedding ceremony is like and he told me that he did not know and was not sure what would be happening throughout the day.
In Kim's last post, she showed the billboard sized picture of SanKwun and ChunPing. A little strange, right? But not half as strange as walking out to see this as we came through the front doors of the hotel.
A red carpet AND a marching band. At this point we knew without a doubt that this was going to be an awesome day. And it continued to get better and better as we discovered that ChunPing's cousin, a wedding planner who was responsible for planning most of the wedding, spared no expense for this momentous day.
I heard that there might be fireworks at the wedding so I was pretty stoked, especially when we noticed these cannons lined up 8 in a row on each side the the red carpet.
There were also large inflatables everywhere. The one below was Kim's favorite.
Lined up in front of the hotel, was a fleet of Mercedes and 2 stretched limos.
When we asked what they were going to be used for, we were informed that
SanKwun, his friends and family needed to go to ChunPing's house and pick her up.
Well, that makes sense.
Before we got in the cars to begin the 3KM trip down the street to pick
up the lovely bride, ChunPing's little brother took me aside to show me his
arsenal of fireworks that he had stashed in his car. His plan was to was to
lead the motorcade while his cousin sat in the back lighting these fireworks
and throwing them into the street.
Well, I guess that also makes sense.
As we made our way through town, the camera zoomed around in the convertible capturing every moment.
I was still a little curious as to how they were planning on using the marching band. Once we arrived it finally all became clear. The marching band would lead SanKwun through the courtyard and up to ChunPing's front door, setting off every car alarm along the way. SanKwun was just as perplexed as we were, if not more.
Arriving at the apartment, we found ChunPing and some 3o+ members of her family waiting for the groom. There were some rituals performed, such as knocking on her bedroom door and asking her to marry him. Then they received the parents permission by bowing.
Finally, we got back on the rode for a 30 minute parade through the rest of the town.
The girls in the picture below are not ChunPing's friends, but instead hired assistants to help her throughout the day. We are still not sure why they were wearing angel wings.
The bride and groom made their way down the red carpet amid fireworks, confetti, balloons and other various explosions. Our Korean teacher would later explain to us that every Chinese wedding has explosions and loud sounds to ward off evil spirits.
We made our way into the ceremony/reception hall which seemed fairly normal except for this large fluorescent-lit walkway, complete with gold fish filled columns.
Arousing the curiosity of the guests as they entered and made their way to their seats was a rock-n-roll all-girls violin band decked out in their classiest short skirts and high heels.
After a surprisingly impressive 10 minute performance by the violinists, ChunPing and SanKwun made their way onto the stage. That's when the smoke machines also came out.
Obviously, the ceremony was in Chinese but I think that I can confidently say that there was not any religious significance behind any of it. They did play some romantic love songs like, "When a Man Loves a Women" to highlight the important moments. Later, the parents were introduced and told to come up on the stage. As they came up the walkway, the DJ played the Star Wars theme song.
The fathers then proceeded to each give a speech. Mr. Kim had his translated into Chinese by an interpreter.
After that, the angelic assistants made another appearance when they presented the bride and groom with this gift. No was ever able to explain what this was for.
When the ceremony was finished the newly married couple made their way back down the walkway with a hand full of paper airplanes that they tossed out to the crowd.
Notice the camera crane that filmed the whole event. That was actually pretty cool.
The meal was composed of various Chinese meat and vegetable dishes. There was a bottle of Chinese liquor on every table as well.
While we were eating, the waitresses passed out plates of cigarettes to everyone. I thought smoking was bad in Korea, but they literally smoke everywhere in China. At our table, there was an ash tray for every two people.
ChunPing and SanKwun went around to all of the tables while we were eating and took a shot with each person. ChunPing took shots with SanKwun's guest and vice versa. Since we were in China, SunKwun got the short end of the stick.
All jokes aside, we enjoyed the entire day. It was probably one of the most entertaining weddings I have ever been too. Coincidentally, my best friend, Joe, got married the following week. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend but from what I hear, it was a blast too. (Although as far as I know, there were no angels, fireworks, or inflatables...)