The truth behind a Hong Kong wedding

The Talls went to a wedding a while back. It was a happy day, although the bride and groom looked a little frazzled by the time they said their good nights to the guests. This is understandable. Weddings anywhere are a big deal, but in Hong Kong they can be particularly intense.

Most weddings here blend western and Chinese traditions; this is nice, but it means there are many extra requirements for the joyful couple to meet. Hong Kong weddings are in fact so rich a subject there's no way I can hope to cover it here in one article. I hope we Batgung will have several to offer you in time.

For now, I'll give you an overview by providing a brief look behind the scenes of my own wedding day. In the table below, the middle column contains Mr and Mrs Tall's (well, mostly Mrs Tall's) well-thought-out 'Schedule for the Groom on his Big Day'. The right hand column reveals what I actually did. Mr Balding, who was one of my groomsmen, can confirm I'm being kind to myself.


Awaken, refreshed, and rejoice!

Realize, with a sinking feeling, that I'm not going to sleep at all. Practice vows, which I must repeat in Cantonese as well as English. Engage sweat glands.


Engage in grooming, buffing personal appearance to optimum for ceremonies, photos.

Remove jelly bean-sized piece of own neck using so-called 'safety razor'. Contemplate blood: it's so, so red. Try to remember: what are those blood cells that cause clotting called? Saucerians? Casserolars? Ah, yes -- platelets. Wonder why I seem to lack them entirely. Dress, omitting shirt and socks.


Greet arriving groomsmen, and join in manly camaraderie.

Absorb nine consecutive snide remarks about bleeding neck from groomsmen as they arrive, ranging from 'Are you the bride of Dracula?' to 'You can't get out of this by slitting your throat!' Aided by groomsmen's hastily-drawn diagrams, succeed in redressing.


Decorate the wedding car.

Fumble helplessly with decorations, realize fingers are as useful as de-skinned sausages. Led gently aside by groomsmen who, with impediment removed, decorate car quickly and competently. Express gratitude and amazement.


Organize groomsmen, plot strategy for getting in the door at bride's home.

Spout random gibberish. Expound on theories of door-opening based on quantum time-space manipulations picked up from lame Star Trek episodes. Soothed by groomsmen, then gagged.


'Getting in the door' games: groom and groomsmen vs bridesmaids.

Draw 31 consecutive blanks when quizzed by bridesmaids about future wife's qualities, habits, favorites, and name. Watch in rapt admiration as groomsmen, on my behalf, absorb wasabi-loaded crackers as punishment. When asked to sing, yodel like Tyrolean castrato. Bridesmaids open door in disgust,pity.


Tea ceremony with bride's parents, esteemed elder relatives.

First sight of bride! Still in awe of her radiant beauty, mix up bride's father and mother, then present tea to houseplant. Bride's relatives discuss traditional Chinese annulment protocols.


Proceed to church

Sit in car successfully.


D-day. The rubber meets the road. The fan is hit by the sh-- (okay, I did this part of the schedule, not Mrs T.)

Wedding ceremony begins. Achieve complete out-of-body status. Look down on body and realize it has a really, really big shaving cut on its neck. Complete vows, by grace of God. Ceremony ends. Realize that best man was first to kiss my wife -- minister forgot to give me the chance during the ceremony. Consider slapping best man's face with a gauntlet and swearing blood-vengeance, but there's just no time -- photos await!


Photos at church, then -- more photos! Outside!

Photos at church: Do I know you? Does my wife? No? Splendid, let's have a photo! Move to Hong Kong park. Look closely at bride and marvel at my utterly outrageous and unwarranted blessings. Smile. Photographers approve.


To the restaurant, freshen up for banquet.

Acute adrenaline shortage strikes. Assume fetal position on restaurant floor. Hold, until encouraged into standing position by swift kicks from bride’s aunties.


Relatives arrive, more tea ceremonies.

Drag body upwards into subservient kneeling position in front of numerous people I don't know, or wish I didn't. Second thoughts? Look over at Mrs Tall -- naaah!


Banquet begins.

Food? What food? Groom must sing. Fortify self with flat beer, then launch into 'Unchained Melody'. Waiters gather, appoint representative to sabotage karaoke machine.


Banquet ends.

Feel I have earned immediate 25th anniversary celebration.


Thanks for the heads up! It

Thanks for the heads up! It sounds absolutely delightful!* I can't wait until it's my turn.

*yes she was.

Well, as a western girl

Well, as a western girl marrying a chinese man, i can certainly relate to everything so far! It has given me sooo much to look forward to!

Have accidentally came across

Have accidentally came across your blog while "googling". Refreshing and hilarious I would say. I'm a Chinese myself residing in Malaysia.

Kudos to both of you on a wonderful blog.