In KL we were there for the wedding of my childhood friend Racheal, and her lovely Joe.
The big day started out with a Southern Chinese ceremony.
Part of the tradition involves the bride’s Ji Mui (‘sisters’) barring the entry of the groom and his Heng Tai (‘brothers’), unless they can pass certain challenges. I was honoured to be one of Racheal’s Ji Muis, and it was good fun indeed.
The groom arrives with his Heng Tais,
to be met by a guard of Ji Muis. The smiles merely hide our firm resolve.
There were three ‘gates’ at which we barred the groom. First, at the front door, we got them to dance to a bhangra song, using props we provided (bridal veil, parasols, necklaces, all sorts). We decided that they’d put on a good effort, but their hearts weren’t quite in it, so we had to demand a little extra ‘red packet’ payment. One of my friends who was the ‘head sister’ was a very good negotiator indeed. The second challenge, at the foot of the stairs indoors, was a quiz on Chinese kinship/relationship terms. Questions like “what would you call your mother’s brother’s son’s (who is elder to you) wife?” (I can’t remember); for any wrong answers the boys had to hand over a red packet. Being American, this gate was quite a challenge for the groom, but he was allowed help from his Heng Tais (though that was no guarantee of success). Kudos to Joe though, he did get some right all by himself!
The third challenge was at the bride’s room door, where the groom had to sing a Chinese love song, and then write out some vows to his wife on a board – in true Joe style they were very sweet, but also included random things like getting tissues when her allergies act up. Some of his Heng Tais are lawyers, and were on hand to offer legal advice on what he was committing to in writing…Finally, after the Ji Muis could physically bar the door no longer, the groom broke through and reached his bride.
From what I gather these challenges were far tamer than most other Ji Mui – Heng Tai games (Google it!), but they weren’t easy, and the boys took it all in good sport. After that it was time for the tea ceremony, where the bride and groom serve tea to their elder relatives in turn, and receive their blessings.
Then lunch was served, which included the Best Roast Pork Ever. That’s what these two are smiling about.
Later on it was time for the evening ceremony and reception. The inner wedding hall was stunning, but to begin with, at the outer area, there was so much fun stuff going on – the whole day was really Racheal’s Pinterest board brought to life. The theme was pinks and whites and vintage fun. It was just brilliant, and I only wish we’d taken our proper camera along.
Retro sweet stand, with all manner of treats
This is the sort of fantastic fun food (completely unhealthy no doubt) we used to have growing up. Behold the combination of fact + healthy dose of imagination + typo, that is so typical of the Malaysian / Japanese / Chinese snacks and knick knacks we love.
There was also a quirky photobooth, which must have been the biggest hit of the evening.
Then the Christian ceremony took place. As Joe is Polish American, there was a lovely Polish blessing afterwards as well: the bride and groom’s parents gave them some Bread, so they may never know hunger, Salt, so life may always have flavour, and Wine, that joy and prosperity may reign forever.
And then there was a fabulous Chinese banquet, speeches, toasts, catching up with old friends, laughing, and general merrymaking all round.
We had such an amazing time during and in the run up to the wedding, and we couldn’t be happier for Racheal and Joe.