And here I thought my wedding days were over! As it turns out, I have back-to-back matron of honor duties in 38 days, there are two gorgeous spring dresses hanging in my closet, and I am up to my eyeballs in planning showers, parties, and all the fun details! Although I'm going to wait until these events are past to share the fun details, I can share some pictures from the fun we had at my best friend's Chinese wedding reception in January. Her fiance's family immigrated from Cambodia, so not only will they have a traditional American wedding in April, but they had a party up in New York City complete with all of the Chinese food, family, and traditions. According to that side of the family, they are already married, but they are counting April when they will file the paperwork and make it legal. Either way, it was such a fun experience, and I loved seeing a glimpse into their rich culture. And what's a party without a little food? They had TEN courses! And they were as traditional as they came, so while I did not try all of them, my mom would have been proud by how many bites of unfamiliar foods I did sample. My words can't do it justice, and my pictures probably can't either, but the least I can do is try, so here goes:
The reception took place in a restaurant in Brooklyn's Chinatown. What? You didn't know there was another Chinatown in NYC? Neither did I! I found it interesting that we had the entire middle section of the restaurant, complete with head tables, floral centerpieces, fine linens and chair covers, and yet there were regular diners seated on the outer walls of the restaurant (unlike most places that have separate private rooms). This is pretty common I later learned, and I kind of think it would be cool to go out to dinner and get to witness all sorts of traditional culture happening around you! They even had the back wall decorated to honor the couple:
As part of the ceremony, Elizabeth and her fiancé served tea to the elders. If they drank the tea, that meant that they accepted the union. Thankfully they all did! Here they are serving his parents... doesn't she look gorgeous in her traditional dress?
After drinking the tea, some family members placed jewelry on her or handed them red envelopes. Red envelopes = money... not a bad deal! She was all blinged out when all was said and done, with some beautiful pieces of jewelry!
Even though I had known about serving the tea to the elders, for some reason I just assumed it only meant his family, but apparently it was everyone, including her parents, which was really sweet. Then, so my surprise (and I think hers!), anyone older than the couple could go accept the tea. It ended up being a lot of people, which I found kind of humorous, just because I was only expecting them to have to do this a few times. Technically, I could have had them serve tea to me, too, but I thought they had enough people to serve as it was!
Mind you, all of the above happened before dinner started. I think the party started around 6pm (sad that I can't remember and it was only two months ago) and dinner started around 8pm. But as I mentioned, once it came out there were ten courses. Maybe more. And they were very traditional... check out some of the fare below:
You'd probably never guess, but this was actually a dessert course. Yep, dessert soup, made from all kinds of fruits and other sweet things.
This course was definitely my favorite though. In all honesty, I did try it and it was good. I am not a fan of meals that stare back at you though!
After dinner, there were a series of traditional games, which were highly entertaining (albeit embarrassing to the bride and groom!). Below, Elizabeth is blindfolded and trying to find her fiancé by only feeling the guys' faces! I decided to be nice and not post the video of her trying to roll a raw egg up and down Dara's pant leg... you can just imagine how that goes! It was certainly the hardest I have laughed in a long time and the highlight of the evening!
And of course... there was cake! I guess some traditions cross all cultures, and I'm glad cake was one of them! Oh, and if you hadn't noticed, she changed dresses in the middle of the party... traditional garb for serving tea and them something more "her" for the rest of the reception. I wish I had better pictures of both dresses because they were stunning!
And finally, a picture to prove I was there... and I'm so glad that I was! Josh had to miss out on the weekend, and was very missed, but he'll definitely be there in April. I'm so honored to share this time with such a special gal.
Hope you enjoyed a little bit of culture as much as I did! It's probably the only Chinese wedding I'll ever attend, and I must say, it was a good time!