Claude & Jade’s Chinese wedding. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 2007

Back in October last year, my wife and I went to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to attend the Chinese wedding of our friends Claude and Jade.

As part of the Chinese pre-wedding ceremony tradition, Claude had to bargain his way into Jade’s family home. This involved arriving at Jade’s house with his groomsmen to haggle with her bridesmaids for entry through the front gate. The bargaining began with Claude, saying that he wanted to marry Jade, to which the bridesmaids began their demands.

Claude is a very quiet and thoughtful person who doesn’t have an extroverted bone in his body. The bridesmaids knew this about him and required that Claude declare his love for Jade at the top of his voice in five different languages. Claude was fairly easily able to comply with the language component of their demand but the bridesmaids like sharks sensing blood in the water kept calling on him to declare his love louder and louder. Whoever said that Asians are inscrutable and quiet doesn’t know Asians.  Jade’s Chinese bridesmaids were howling with laughter, with each attempt by Claude to satisfy their wishes and they raucously cajoled him into greater heights of embarrassment. The bridesmaids were merciless.

Finally, the bridesmaids relented and let Claude and his grooms through the front gate only to stop him at the front door. Jade was behind the closed front door and the bridesmaids told Claude that he would have to answers questions asked by Jade, and that if he didn’t get them correct, his best man had to apply make-up to him. Needless to say Jade asked so many questions that Claude was eventually covered in very badly applied makeup, accompanied by the very delighted shrieks of the bridesmaids.

Claude gets made up

The girls were loving it! Claude looked like he was going through a trial by ordeal.  It was very hot and humid and Claude was being dragged way out of his comfort zone.

The next step in Claude’s trials was to cross the living room to the bottom of the stairs, where he was once again stopped by the bridesmaids with their new demands.  I could see that Claude was starting to flag, and his spirits really dropped when he was told that he would have to sing a love song in French at the top of his voice to get up the stairs.

Claude gets gets told he has to sing

Luckily, Claude is a Francophone (which the bridesmaids knew) so he knew the words of a French song. The bridesmaids really enjoyed themselves as poor old Claude embarrassed himself once again at their pleasure.

After the song Claude and his entourage were allowed to the top of the stairs to the door and outside of Jade’s bedroom. The next demand by the bridesmaids was for money.  Basically they didn’t stop until they had everything in his wallet and only then did they let him through to see Jade.

The actual Chinese wedding ceremony was a surprisingly simple and brief affair.  The father and mother of the house, lit joss sticks and made offerings to their ancestors after which Jade and Claude did the same thing.

Offerings were made

Tea was then made and Jade and Claude offered it to each other and then to Jade’s grandmother.  After tea, Jade’s grandmother then presented Jade with some gold, and that was it, they were now married.

Jade and Claude

The wedding reception was another thing altogether. It was held in a very grand hotel, and there were about 300 guests.

In February this year Claude and Jade had a lovely western civil wedding here in Sydney

7 thoughts on “Claude & Jade’s Chinese wedding. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 2007”

  1. I can sympathies with Claude. No because I had to go through this trial-by-bridesmaids or because I’m easily embarrassed (I’m not) but for some reason, seeing someone else forced into an uncomfortable situation always makes me very uneasy. If it was me, they could have stripped me naked and painted me with a roller. I would have just been laughing. Watching Claude go through his ordeal though, would have made me want to dive out a window.

    Congrats to the happy couple!

    -Turkish Prawn

  2. In Slovenia they would make the groom demonstrate a number of traditional “practical” skills, like sawing wood etc. or some more contemporary variations like changing the diaper on baby doll with plenty of Nutella on it. Than he would be led to the door of the house where they would try to sell him some fake brides and only after all that he would be allowed to go “through the Western “church” route”.

  3. Turkish

    Yes I can understand how you feel. It was painful to watch Claude squirm but it was also fascinating to watch all the other people as well, seeing their faces react to what was happening.

    Planet

    It certainly was fun for the bridesmaids. They had a blast. Claude got himself a very nice bride and I’m sure he feels it was all worth it. Jade is a delight with a brain the size of a planet and she has a very sweet and thoughtful personality, plus she always has something surprising and interesting to say.

    Grass

    The more I hear and see (thanks to your blog)about Slovenia, the more intrigued I become. Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll visit your country and I hope I get to see a groom saw some wood in his best clothes! I love that sort of thing.

    I hate to think of what would happen if some of the animals I call friends, were given a doll covered in Nutella and asked to clean it up. I think I’d mix in some very hot chilli powder to punish them if they try and lick it off. It would make for one heck of a photo though!

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