For those who were there, you know how awesome it was. For those who weren’t. you don’t know what you missed.
(This blog will eventually be updated with pictures of the day, so keep your eye on it.)
The morning was encouraging; we both dressed in our most Chinese nines, much to the awe and amazement of our respective relatives. The tea ceremony in both houses was an unusually happy event, but it was the night that brought the stars in everyone’s eyes.
People started streaming in as early as 6.45pm, an extremely uncharacteristic time for wedding guests to appear in a culturally confused Asia-based island where fashionably late means 2 hours later (Hock Peng, you got a mention! You’re famous on the Internet now!). Dressed in the same ma gua (complete with that big red ribbon rose hung on the chest area) and a $2 Sinatra-esque hat, I greeted the guests in one by one, then two by thre, then five by eight, then one too many. Our reception girls had a hard time keeping up, and our dads were no help either. I have personally never seen my dad such a nervous wreck (if you remembered, he should be quite the opposite, though with his health right now, it’s somewhat understandable).
And then came the grand entrance. I needed four of my best guys to keep everything safe as we turned the house upside down with me pulling my wife into the restaurant well into the entrance and right in front of our table of friends with a never-seen-the-streets-since-1830 rickshaw, beautifully wedding-fied by my wife’s second sister and her very-good-with-his-hands husband. Dancing to the tune of Shanghai Tan, we rounded the restaurant, through the bar, and finally landed up at the VIP table at the front of a restaurant, where we sat down to the first course of our feast to the music of the beautiful shanghai jazz band playing behind us.
Oh, perfection. Whoever said perfection was boring had no idea what the hell they were talking about. Eat those words, detractor; I hope they taste as good as the salted egg shrimp.
Our second march-in saw my wife in a beautiful light bronze evening gown which awed everyone so much they all had to step on it, and me with a tailcoat reminiscent of Sting’s beautiful Calvin Klein nuptial number sans jailbird inners, a white scarf and that same hat, keeping in tradition to the look of the decade. Marching in to the tune of Chachambo was more challenging than I thought, as I had to both guide my wife through the excited little patter of 100 pairs of high heel shoes whilst entertaining my brood of relatives with dance steps not conceived since the grand old days of William Hung. The 3 obligatory yam sengs were surprisingly lively, when my mum’s old neighbour whom we had not seen in years added to the spirit of the occasion by providing the longest toast possibly both sides of the family had ever heard.
The end was no less endearing, when bride and groom stood with our respective parents in the entrance bidding farewell to all our relatives, friends, uh-I-don’t-know-you-but-I’m-going-to-pretend-I-dos and other whozats (Thank you for coming! … whozat? Oh thank you! …whozat?). If I had any doubts that the night was going in an awkward direction, they were all erased with all the pats in the back and the “you win, nobody can beat that rickshaw” my wife and I received.
I ended the night with a wine glass filled with red wine mixed with remains of the last five courses and a raw egg, courtesy of the best friends a couple can ever have. And for the first time since we started wondering what vehicle we should use for our first march-in more than a year ago, a great big weight was lifted from my shoulders, and not a little relief washed over my wife’s very tired self (she braved a cough, running nose and possible fever found to be inconclusive due to a broken thermometer to make the night happen for the both of us).
If you’re wondering about where I lost my childhood in this, look out for Part 2, coming to a 1930’s themed Shanghai restaurant near you.