Two October Weddings (twice father-of-the-groom)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

If I seem to be on a jag about weddings, credit my children. Three have gotten married since last Christmas and a fourth is planning nuptials in April. In October alone, we held two CA weddings, seven thousand miles apart. If raising five children has taught me that no two siblings are alike, this year has taught me the same about weddings. For Timothy and Danielle’s wedding, CA stood for zip codes: 92870, 93907, and 93291, one for the wedding and one each for home town receptions for the bride and groom. Three weeks later, for Lucien and Angie’s wedding, CA stood for flights: Air China 984 and 1509, thirteen hours from Los Angeles to Beijing and another two hours from Beijing to Hangzhou. Then we drove most of two hours to Jinhua.

 

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For Timothy and Danielle, the wedding rehearsal began about an hour late because the principals were stuck in Angels/Red Sox playoff traffic. (I never did hear who won.) After practicing the ceremony through once (and some parts twice), the party moved a few blocks for an Italian dinner. Rehearsals are not part of modern weddings in China, where ceremony is minimal and planning takes a back seat to spontaneity. But we did gather for lunch with the same participants who would have been invited to an American-style wedding-rehearsal dinner. We ate Chinese. (Well, that’s where we were!)

Invitations to Timothy and Danielle’s wedding suggested that guests (and perhaps especially the father-of-the-groom) not bring cameras, trusting that official photographer Shannon Leith would provide all the pictures anyone could desire. A nice selection of engagement and wedding photos are available at Shannon’s site. Invitations to Lucien and Angie’s wedding circulated via Facebook. There was no official photographer, and most of the pictures were snapped by the father-of-the-groom.

Even though Timothy (a very talented tailor) designed and made Danielle’s dress, they still followed the American tradition in which the groom does not see the bride on the wedding day until she walks down the isle.
 

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Photo by Shannon Leith

Lucien and Angie broke a Chinese tradition that the wedding couple should be the first to arrive at the location where they would together greet the guests. This wedding couple arrived alongside the early guests and organized the decorating committee. Then they slipped away to dress.
 

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Later, your photographer and the groom’s mother just happened to be present when Lucien appeared to escort his bride back to their shindig.
 

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At Timothy and Danielle’s Episcopal wedding, Father David of Blessed Sacrament officiated, while Timothy’s good friend Rabi Kevin canted a call-to-worship and blessings in Hebrew.
 

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Photo by Shannon Leith

Most Chinese weddings have no officiate, only a master-of-ceremonies. Lucien and Angie went one better. Angie served as her own MC. The languages were Chinese and English.
 

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For Lucien and Angie, the primary expression of the bride’s ethnicity was the Korean groom’s trousseau, a gift from the bride’s grandparents. For Timothy and Danielle, it was Kransekake.
 

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Photo by Shannon Leith

This Norwegian wedding cake is made from finely ground almonds, formed into a series of ever-smaller rings. The new couple (and some older couples) take one ring in their mouths, biting from opposite sides in a maneuver that requires proximity and coordination.
 

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Photos by Shannon Leith

Then there was dancing, elegant and fun to watch.
 

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Lucien and Angie also had a cake cutting followed by dancing. In this video, see if you can spot any differences. (For elegant dancing, watch for Angie’s 80-year-old grandparents.) Lucien may have started a new wedding tradition for the Chinese, bonfire jumping to his Uncle Forrest’s mandolin picking.


In the end, both weddings provided wonderful parties and great memories. We also come out of October with two delightful new daughters-in-law and . . . (just what is the correct English term for ones children’s’ in-laws? . . . in-laws-once-removed?) . . . friends-with-children-in-common.

 
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Photo by Shannon Leith



 
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Photographer yet to be identified



I think I have this straight:
Most expensive single item for Timothy and Danielle’s wedding: The Photographer
Most expensive single item for Lucien and Angie’s wedding: The Fireworks

 
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2 comments:

You must be exciting about both weddings. I don't when I can held my own wedding. Bring my best regards to the brides and grooms.

Carter

Carter said...
January 14, 2009 at 6:30 PM  

Hi Brian,
Congratuations!
So many joyful things happended.
Really pleasant to read your blog!

Sarah Wang said...
February 9, 2009 at 9:07 PM  

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