After finishing the first stage of the day by completing the “suit procession”, it was then time to fetch the bride from her residence. Different to the procession in a western wedding where the bride and groom meet at church, in some Asian cultures, including Chinese, the bride needs to be fetched by the groom. Only after that stage is completed, then the couple are able to go to church together. In Yani’s case, her parents preferred to rent a house nearby so she could be fetched there rather from their actual residence. This was done for practical reasons so they did not need to clean up the house to accommodate guests and relatives.
So Vito (my bestman) and I were then driven from the apartment to the bride’s “house” – my eldest sister and her husband came along on the journey to formally ‘release’ me into the bride’s family. We were greeted by Yani’s aunt and uncle and then I was allowed to come into the house. I was guided to walk into the living room after which I was asked to turn around and walk backward into her bedroom. The room was already decorated with some Chinese ‘double happiness’ symbols as well as with some floral arrangements. Because I walked backward, I couldn’t see Yani just yet. It was only until my backside touched hers that I knew that she was there. Hahaha. Talking about unusual custom! 🙂 I don’t know what this symbolises or why we were asked to do such a procession. If there are any of you who know the background of the procession, please do share the knowledge! 🙂
I was then asked to uncover the veil and then Yani removed my right glove and put it in my suit pocket. We were then asked to sit on the bed where we were presented with two bowls of rice noodle, complete with boiled eggs and some meat and mushroom. We had to eat some of the noodle, and then we had to feed the egg to one another. Yani was asked to bite the egg and eat one half of it whereas I was asked to eat it in one go. As for the reason? Who knows! 🙂
Then we had to pay respect to Yani’s parents who entered the room – then began another procession, the tea ceremony or also known as teh pai or chen chiu. In this ceremony, the bride and groom have to serve tea (or in our case, Fanta … hehehe) or rice wine to esteemed relatives. They are served in couples, after which each of them has to ‘pay’ for the service by giving the bride and groom jewelleries or money envelopes. Such an expensive price to pay for two gulps of Fanta! 😀 The jewelleries and money are meant as the initial capital for the couple to establish their life together. Because Yani ‘stepped over’ her older brother for marriage, we also had to give him a present to ‘appease’ him – he was and is totally alright with it, but it’s customary for the bride and groom to bring a gift to older sibling(s) who are stepped over for marriage. We gave Yani’s older brother some material for a shirt and a pair of trousers, as suggested by her family. Otherwise, money or other valuable items are also acceptable. So all in all, if you come from a large family or if you have close extended families, then you will have larger amount of capital – that’s for sure! 🙂
After we finished the tea ceremony with the Yani’s relatives, we made our way back to the apartment to do the tea ceremony with my sisters and brothers-in-law, as well as with my older brother and my sister in law. Had my aunts and uncles come to Surabaya as well, it would’ve been an extra long tea ceremony! We still had some spare time before we were expected at church, so my brother, the photographer, suggested that we went downstairs and had our pictures taken by the poolside. He took some great shots of us – little did we know that those would be the only outdoor pictures that we had on the day! 🙂
We then went back to the wedding car (since it’s not a limousine) which then took us to the church on the western side of Surabaya – we also have a very interesting story on how we end up getting married in a church that had no connections with us whatsoever. Stay tuned!