Wedding is serious matter in China. Couples often spent huge sum for their wedding.
An up scale restaurant near Michael’s apartment called “Royal Kitchen” everyday around 11 am would host one of those spectacular wedding celebration. On a busy day, there would be one right after others. No mater how many times I had seen these I could never resist to watch this colorful celebration and capture it with my camera.
It usually starts with a coach bus pull up; unload dozens of middle age women all dressed in traditional Chinese costumes in red with gold. Without saying a word each would set up their musical instrument and quietly forming two half circles in front of the restaurant. Behind them are numbers of golden canons. The lion dancers would swiftly change into their lion costumes. An inflatable rainbow has already set up at the entrance of the door with both bride and groom’s name on it.
This team are lead by an older man; he would beat the huge drum and lead the cheering. Although he looked like in his seventies but the way he beats the drum with such power and precisions men many decades younger are no match for his energy. The group would perform this drum and gong show like they had performed for hundreds of times
Sometimes a women would acting as conductor/cheerleader for this group, she would perform it as a well rehearsed dance.
At exactly at noon, the newlywed couple and the wedding party arrived in a limo. With the sound of the fire crackers and fire works would signal the beginning of the wedding celebration. As they step out from the limo a shower of colorful confetti from the golden cannons would rain on them. As always the bride dress in a white wedding dress and the groom in black suit but that was the only western element in the whole celebration. (Later on, during the banquet the bride would change into a red and gold Chinese wedding dress.) A pair of Chinese lions performs the lion dance to greet the couple. Sometime with a more deluxe celebration there would be three or even four lions, one red, gold and sliver. They perform the dance with more acrobat skills than the two lion team. One of the lion dancers would host the second dancer his shoulder, the third dancer would hold on to the second dancer and all three would spin around. After they perform this spectacular dance, they would knee in front of the newlywed as to offer their blessings.
The whole wedding party would stand at the entrance under the inflatable rainbow which with the lions on both side then the lions would unroll two red banners from their mouths; the words on the banners are to wish the couple’s marriage to last a hundred years, their hearts to join as one”.
Before they enter into the restaurant, the groom would carry the bride onto his arms and turn her there times, both left and right. Sometime, the best man would do the same to the bridesmaid. After that was done, they would enter the restaurant and enjoy a delicious banquet with friends and families.
As soon as the couple enter the restaurant, out came a team of cleaners quietly sweep up the confetti’s and fire crackers on the ground. The drum and gong team would pack up their instruments and head back to the bus. The lion dancers changed into their street cloth. Within minute they are gone, likely going to their next gig somewhere else.. .