One of the most memorable experiences in my life took place this weekend - my best friend got married!
It all started about 5 years ago when my boyfriend and I invited both of our best friends to come along with us on a number of excursions. By some stroke of luck and fate, our best friends fell in love. And so it came to be that both V. and I were groomsman and bridesmaid for their wedding.
At 5am I headed over to the other bridemaid's house to get our make-up and hair done. It was amazing to see how 4 sleepy heads could transform into 4 lovely maidens. Then we drove over to the bride's family home to have breakfast and to prepare for the games and the tea ceremony. In Chinese tradition, the groom must overcome a series of obstacles and tests set out by the bridesmaids before he can claim his bride. The games that we had ready included everything from romantic serenades to eating wasabi popsicles (ugh!). Once both the groom and groomsmen pass their tests satisfactorily, they can enter the house and greet the bride.
This was the first time that the groom had ever seen the bride in her wedding dress and he looked so blown away. She glowed and beamed at him and he twirled her around and couldn't stop smiling at her. It was really quite cute.
Then two pillows were set out in front of the couch, and they kneeled to serve tea to all of the relatives. In return, the relatives would drink the tea, give them their blessing and well-wishes, and give them gifts of money in red envelopes. Some of the relatives gave gifts of gold jewelry to the bride. Many tears were shed in happiness over the moving occasion.
Then the boys settled down for some home-cooked breakfast while the girls continued to primp and preen in preparation for the church ceremony.
Suddenly, "Ooohs" and "Aaahs" were heard - a white luxury limousine had pulled into the driveway. It was a surprise from the sister of the bride so that the whole wedding party could travel in style together throughout the day. We had originally planned to travel in 3 separate cars. The bride hugged her sister in delight and we piled in to enjoy the chilled champagne and roomy leather surroundings.
From that point on it was a whirlwind of picture-taking, waiting, and smiling. There were so many special moments to remember - the bride looking at herself in the tall oval gilded mirror and looking nervous as she waited for her moment to walk down the aisle, the pixie-like flowergirl so sweet and so innocent, the bride and her groom looking into each other's eyes and looking so completely entralled in each other and the moment.
The church bell rang long and loud and they were now married.
We headed to the reception hall for free-flowing spirits and a sumptuous buffet, and dancing, dancing, dancing that went on into the early hours of the morning.
"Would you do this again?" one bridesmaid asked. "Definitely!" we all answered. It had been so much fun.