Photo by apdk
Over the weekend, one of my close friends got married to a wonderful man. I’ve known both of them for more than half my life and I was glad and honoured to have a part in their wedding ceremony and the banquet afterwards.
It was my first time being a bride’s maid and especially in a wedding that is so culturally different from mine. I was excited and yet a little worried that I’d stumble and offend someone with my faux pas, but I was assured that everything will be alright since the other bride’s maids or ‘sisters’ as we’re called in the Chinese wedding custom, are there to help me.
The day started very early for everyone as we had a very strict time schedule to keep to. The ‘sisters’ started arriving at the bride’s house by 7.30am, dressed in our matching dresses. While the bride and her family performed the customary prayers before the wedding, the ‘sisters’ gathered in the balcony and quietly discussed the tasks that we would ask of the groom and his groom’s men (or ‘brothers’ as they’re called in a Chinese wedding) to perform for the ‘gatecrashing’ part of the ceremonony, before they could gain entry into the house.
It wasn’t before long before the bride was all dressed up and waiting in her bedroom while the groom arrived and waited impatiently at the door. The tasks that we gave them weren’t difficult but it did involve in some bromance action, public dancing and declarations of love. We tried not to make it too difficult but at the same time not too easy since they have to work for the permission to enter the house.
The ‘gatecrashing’ part was a hoot for everyone involved and especially for the bride’s older relatives. When the groom was finally allowed to claim his bride, everyone had their well deserved cool refreshments. Who knew that egging on grown men to dance and kiss each other on the cheek, could be so exhausting.
After the requisite photo-taking session with the happy couple, we quickly made our way to the grooms place as they needed to enter the house at a 11am sharp, which is most auspicious for their wedding. Their arrival into the groom’s home and into the matrimonial suite was followed by the tea ceremony. I’ve never witnessed how the tea ceremony was done and there was a certain protocol that must be followed. It was fascinating to watch. After the tea ceremony is completed, we returned to the bride’s home for them to repeat the tea ceremony with her side of the family. All that ended by 1.30pm and I could see that everyone was exhausted. At least the morning activities were done and I went home to rest before the wedding banquet later that night.
The banquet was something that I was familiar with, having attended a few before this but it was the first time that I had to help the bride out with her wedding dress. Both her dresses weigh at least 2.5kg, what with the layers of cloth, embroidery and the crystals sewn onto the dress. It took a lot of effort from the both of us to just get her into each dress. Her evening gown needed her to hold on to her husband while I tied her corset tight enough for the dress to not fall off or shift when she walks. Also, being he designated make up carrier, I was handing out blotters and tissues like noone’s business.
There was much running around during the banquet since her honeymoon suite was in the other wing of the hotel and we had to by pass another wedding reception just to get to her rooms for her to change, but it was worth it. Both of them looked gorgeous and happy and by at the end of the night, I was tired, full and if I could drink, I would have been a little tipsy too.
While the whole experience of being a bride’s maid was exhausting and fun, I did learn a few important things, just in case I have to be bride’s maid again.
1. Wear slip on kitten heels instead of the normal 3.5inch heels that I’d wear with a dress because bride’s maids need to more fast and stumbling to put on your shoes slows you down.
2. Tube dresses are sexy but not advisable if you’re going to be moving around a lot, especially when you don’t have the boobage to hold the dress up properly without fashion tape.
3. Hydrate yourself and make sure you have sweets handy for the quick sugar intake.
4. Have lipbalm handy at all times.
5. Have fun.
I would definitely be honoured to be a bride’s maid again if any of my friends ask but I would prefer it if it didn’t have to be so early in the morning.