After a few days in Hong Kong and a week in Beijing it was time to head to Kunming in the Yunnan provence ( a 3 hour flight from Beijing). While in Beijing I had almost forgetten about the reason for the whole trip to China - the wedding of my Brother. He had and met a Kunming girl in NZ and they had lived there together for 6 years before making the move to China.
We had a few days in Kunimng before the wedding and got to see some of the sights (eg Green Lake Park and the Shilin Stone Forest) but this blog will be about the wedding
The day started with a light lunch before the girls left to the house of the bride where she had been waiting. Shortly after most of the guys attending the wedding followed to assist the groom in "capturing the bride"- a Chinese tradition
None of us knew quite what to expect except that we had to break into the house and find the bride.. Seemed pretty simple. Well at first it was - we "broke" into the house (apartment) with a key the groom conveiniantly had and
caught the lift up to the right floor (in groups of 10).. But from there it got a bot more interesting...
There were 20 or 30 of the brides friends and family waiting for us and they were armed with weapons ranging from brooms and sticks to toilet rolls..
Our first surge to the front door was reppelled by the armed women.. it was clear they werent going to let us in without a fight. Next came the demands from the brides sister - the groom would have to sing a song to the bride before we would be let in ... a rousing rendition of Living on a Prayer was delivered. Next up he had to say "I love you" in 10 different languages ... not an easy task.. We thought this would be enough but next the women were asking for money! A bribe!! I should have known ... we are in China! We had come prepared for this though with money tucked into red envelopes. These were thrown to the screeming women who kept demanding more. Enough was enough and the boys packed down a scrum and surged through the front door. Still it wasn't
over. We next had to find the brides pair of shoes which had been hidden the house. Even in an apartment this was not an easy task but within 5 mins they had been located and the groom was allowed access to the doors that had been blocked by the firery women. Within a couple more mins the bride had been located. However it still wasn't over for the groom. He was required to re do the prosposal in front of everyone and give in to the brides demands before she would accept.
Next there was a tea ceremony between the parents of the bride and groom before we all headed outside for the main event (in my opinion anyway) ... The Fireworks!
Everyone gathered in the courtyard while me and the brides father got the fireworks together. If anyone remembers the double happy fireworks .. think that x100 and you are getting close. I lit the first one and within a second there was a massive explosion and I jumped up, in the process ripping my suit pants. More fireworks followed and I was put to shame by the brides father and the casual nature in which
he lit the other fireworks while they were exploding around him.
We left from there in a Bus to the venue while I ducked back to the hotel with my sister who thankfully mended my ripped pants with a needle and thread. It was a nice sunny day and the venue overlooked the Green Lake park and looked great. We had a couple of beers and some bubbly while waiting for the service to begin. I was a groomsman so got front row seats to the service which was done outside. There was very cute flower girl and pageboy who almoststole the show until the bride appeared looking stunning in her wedding gown.
The ceremony was held by an Australian priest who plays rugby with my brother and it was a good mix of NZ and Chinese customs with a bit of humour. Prayers were read in both NZ (by my mum) and Chinese (by the brides made) and the whole service went really well. After some brief photos we went inside to sit down at the tables. A great speech by the best man (who had impressively learnt some mandarin) and some telegrams started off the formalities. The highlight had to be the video message from Dan Carter and the telegram from Brithish rock legends Saxon.
We had some great food and were getting stuck into the drinks. The chinese really enjoy a drink and love getting stuck into it with the foreingers. When someone says "Ganbei" to you it means finish your vessel.. or the literal translation "dry glass". Now we are used to skulling a few beers back in NZ so not too much trouble ...until the rice wine comes out. This stuff is lethal .. 50+% alcholol and it burns. I thought it would be the good thing to go around and introduce myself to each of the tables of the chinese friends and families. Of course everyone wanted to Ganbei with me and it is rude to refuse so within a couple of hours I was pretty smashed.
It gets a bit hazy from here but after a couple more hours of drinking at the venue most of the NZ guests and a few of the locals headed to a bar in town where more drinking and Ganbei's ensued
All in all it was an awesome day/night and a great occasion but its fair to say the next day was pretty much a wrtie off
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