Inside each one of us, we are dreamers. We want to write and live our own fairytale. We yearn for the other half that makes us complete, two halves of a whole that creates a perfect symbiosis. A person that makes the world a less lonely place to be in, as though conquering the world in pair makes it seems less daunting. Then comes the dream about a romantic proposal, a beautiful wedding and the happily ever after. For some of the lucky ones, dreams become reality.
On Jan 24, I attended my first church wedding at Mei Ann Methodist Church Miri. My maternal cousin, KV, had finally tied the knot with his sweetheart, SY, after a 6-year relationship. Weddings are beautiful, symbolic and poetic. I had watched so many church weddings on television and often wondered to what degree it translated to reality.
I took a seat with my family at the pew. as I watched my very excited cousin waiting at the end of the aisle. Despite being discharged from the hospital less than 12 hours before, he was grinning from ear to ear, full of anticipation. As the wedding song chimed throughout the church, the flower girls and boys as well as the bridesmaids walked down the aisle followed by the grand entrance of the bride, accompanied by her father.
I took this beautiful moment in; the sparkles in the groom’s eyes, his wide goofy grin, her huge huge smile, the pure joy on both their faces was undeniable. These raw emotions, unlike the ones on television, were so real at honest that it was almost tangible.
As the groom took his bride-to-be hands from her father, they took their seats at the pew. My cousin JV whispered to me “Aren’t they supposed to exchange rings now?” Apparently that was not what happened in real weddings. It was fortunate too, as the pastor started a lengthy sermon about love. I did not think it was possible but he rambled on for a good twenty minutes before the choir.
Finally, the part I had waited for – the exchange of rings. As the pastor held the ring out, the exquisite diamond cut reflected and refracted the surrounding light into a vibrant sparkle. Splendid! He lifted up her veil, and I saw a glimpse of the “oh-my-gosh-we-are-really-doing-this” excited look.
After the case of “I do”s, he leaned forward for a short sweet kiss. During the photo taking session, my mother and aunts were as mischievous as they could be. “How much would you pay me for me not to push you off the stairs” One joked. “How much would you pay me to hold you?” The other countered. There was no wonder where I got my wit from.
After the bouquet throwing and buffet, we took a short break at my grandmother’s place before the tea ceremony. Apparently there was a Chinese tradition I did not understand – we, unmarried women, were not allowed to see the bride entering the house.
We arrived at my cousin’s place, two doors away from where I lived, for the tea ceremony, a little later than expected. As my maternal grandmother was the oldest, she had the honour of being the first one to be served tea. The groom had an unfortunate case of appendicitis rupture several days before the wedding and could not bow down to the elders during tea ceremony as per Chinese tradition. The young unmarried one gets ang pows or red packets – lucky us! I have yet to open mine; it was never about the cash value of these red packets.
As the newly wedded couple ascended the stairs to their bedroom, we left shortly after we browsed through the beautiful wedding photos.
That night, the wedding reception was held at JW Marriott, one of the very few hotels in Miri. The ambience was classy yet cosy and I absolutely loved the stage decorations! After lingering at the front desk where we watched friends and family poured in and drop the red packet into the huge jar.
We took our respective seats; lucky for me, our table was close to the stage front so I didn’t had to stand up to take pictures. There were two professional photographers, thus, my camera stayed in my purse most of the nights.
As the newlyweds made their grand entrance into the ballroom accompanied by the melodious tune from the violinist, the audience stood and clapped ecstatically. The couple took stage centre and cut the five-tier wedding cake. I only realised this as I was recalling the event – we did not have a slice of the cake at all.
The dishes came, the groom could only eat porridge. He seemed to be pacing himself to ensure that he would not be too overtired. I took a glance at the head table; only solemn looks – there seemed to be a weird vibe between the parents. You would think that they would be overjoyed as their respective child embarked on a new chapter of their lives. The only time I saw the bride’s parents smile non-obligatorily was during the short video clip of the morning events where the groom picked up the bride from the hotel.
After a while, the newly weds headed out of the ballroom for the bride’s change of clothes. Meanwhile, we were entertained by a band. It was harmonious at first, until the music became too loud to a point that we could not hear each other from over the table. I felt that the music was supposed to act as a background – soothing and relaxing and not a scene stealer. It would be a lot more appropriate if there was a dancing floor.
When the couple returned, the music thankfully subsided as the couple took centre stage. They popped the champagne on each side of the stage. As the champagne popped, the cork almost hit my head but my awesome ninja skills avoided it! My table joked that whoever got the cork will be the next to marry (thankfully it’s not me!) The couple then poured the champagne into the glass fountain as a symbol of eternal flowing happiness (I think!).
As the night ended, the groom gave a touching speech about his past few days in the hospital and how appreciative and touched he was for his father’s unconditional love and support throughout his surgery and hospitalisation. My very proud uncle could barely wipe his grin off his face as he threw his fist up in the air as a sign of victory. We, as kids, sometimes gave too little credit and appreciation to our parents.
Once again, congratulations to KV and SY and many happy returns!