On the day of the Chinese wedding we were originally told we’d be collected at 6.30am. After insisting we’d like to make our own way to hair and make up, the time changed to a much more appealing 8.00am, although by 7.30am Mr. Pompous Tourist Man was squealing on the other end of the blower about how everyone else’s hair and make-up was already finished.
So of course, despite being on time, when we finally arrived just before 8am, we looked like the ignorant foreigners, strolling in last. Still, the reaction was one of shock and delight to see our white faces. We tried to shake off our morning heads as we were pulled from all directions for photos before being sat down for hair and make up with an audience.
Of course our intentions of being changed and scrubbed up before being photographed were shot to shite and while it was one of the many photos of us that surfaced on the online write up, it was definitely not the most flattering:
While we had our hair and make up done, several cameras were on us- some belonging to workers at the event, others random participants who liked the look of us.
As the lady doing my make up (who could not have been further from an “artist”) picked up every grimy sponge available to her to put against my face, she made comments about how she liked our white white skin and our big big noses. I tried to shake the facts from my mind about the uncleanliness of double dipping make-up, as she took the tub of liquid eyeliner that had been used on every other wedding goer and swept it across my eyelid.
She may have been no make up artist, but this woman’s ability to get the job done in minimal time was impressive. I was pointed behind a curtain that was still attached on one end to change. I shuffled into the coffin sized closet, which had loo rolls and bin liners stashed in the nooks and crannies and just fifteen minutes after reluctantly entering this place for hair and makeup, I was ready for action, complete with Amy Winehouse eyebrows and an elderly woman’s updo.
After arriving at the park, as can often happen in China, things nosedived into the territory of terribly peculiar. It was as if we’d stepped into a crowded Disney Land, but we were Mickey and Minnie Mouse. People were grabbing us at every chance for photos.
It ranged from being asked with a giggle if we’d get in a photo, to people just posing in front of us, as if we were decorations. After being gestured toward a wall designed to look like a doorway, we fell further into the rabbit hole, and found ourselves being surrounded by four large SLR cameramen, who we can only hope were working for the event, and eight to ten random bystanders, who had their phones pointed in our direction.
“Look here-look at me-put your head on his shoulder- put your hand on her hand-look at the ground-look into her eyes–KISS!!!!”
The interest and excitement at our presence was on another level to the attention people give us as we walk down the street, and as we had almost fifteen people with cameras yelling at in us Chinese, we exchanged laughs and whispers, which I’m sure onlookers interpreted as romantic moments, but were in fact exchanges of
“WHAT the f*ck is happening?”
But the worst was not behind us. Despite having practised the previous day in rehearsal- we had missed something key:
Today I would be blindfolded. In Ancient times, the woman would cover her head entirely with an opaque red veil, trusting the man to lead her on on the tail end of a ribbon “down the aisle”. Our aisle, however, included several steps down and back up, and required delicacy to weave around the trays placed on the floor for the ceremony.
The beginning of my walk was about 30 yards. 30 yards in a straight line… No problem. But the pace we were walking, paired with the fact I was on a lead behind my counterpart, and could only see a tiny patch of the floor beneath me meant these 30 yards in a straight line were somewhat challenging. A couple of times I hissed at my groom from under my red kerchief to check I was still on course.
After reaching the stage, I remembered how we’d worried about our timings: turning to face the other way at this time and completing our bow at that time. “Ah sure we’ll just copy everyone else”… we’d said.
As I stood on the stage completely blind to my surrounds, I realised that that plan had some holes in it and perhaps I should have paid more close attention at rehearsal. “TURRN!” My groom’s voice squawked from somewhere to my left.
After completing our bow (I think successfully), it was time for the red kerchief to be removed.
Good grief. I could see.
“Did I do ok?” I muttered tentatively to Craig.
He made no effort to conceal the fact he was laughing at me.