One of my main reasons for traveling to Hong Kong was to attend my cousin’s wedding. Even though we haven’t seen each other in over a decade, with the growth of social media, we were able to connect and keep in touch even though we were an ocean apart. Weddings in Hong Kong are very different from North American weddings and I was in for a bit of culture shock. Because it was also my cousin’s wedding, I spent the whole day with family. Weddings (like everywhere else) is a family occasion and the more family the better the celebration. There is a lot of food throughout the day and some traditionally ceremonies that are performed.
In the morning, the groom will go to the bride’s house to receive his bride. This is done as a symbolic gesture that the bride’s parent are passing on their daughter to the groom. During this time, the bridal party will play fun games to start the day on a good note. After the groom arrives at the bride’s house, the tea ceremony is done with the bride’s family. This is a sign of respect and a personal way for relatives (parents, aunts and uncles, older siblings) to give their congratulations and best wishes for the happy couple. Gifts of gold, money and jewellery are also given. The jewellery is placed on the bride and she will wear it for the reception dinner. After the ceremony is completed at the bride’s house, the entire bridal party will then drive over to the groom’s family and do the tea ceremony with the groom’s family.
After the tea ceremony, the wedding ceremony follows. The ceremony is fairly standard, same as North American weddings where there is an official and vows are exchanged.
The reception is very different from North America. It starts a lot later, the first course is usually served at around 8PM and can range from ten to thirteen courses. Cake cutting is also done before the dinner, and so some people will have cake during the cocktail period. During the dinner, they have a fake cake that they cut for photography and ceremonial purposes (quite odd to me…). It’s quite the show though! There are some speeches, but not a lot, usually from the parents and the bride and groom, a lot of photos and food. aligned with the culture, food and conversation is the main entertainment of the evening. It’s a fun time spent in the company of family and friends. For me it was super exciting because not only was it my first time in Hong Kong ain over a decade, but I also got to meet my mom’s other relatives which is was super awesome! My family is a lot larger than I thought….
Anyways, another wedding tomorrow, and four more days before Korea.