This time, it was my sister who was getting married. Unlike my brother’s wedding, which was a customary Chinese wedding ceremony followed by lunch reception, my sister was to be married in her home church and she would not be holding a wedding banquet. One would think that, without having to worry about a wedding banquet, the amount of ‘work’ needed would be less, right? Unfortunately, it was not to be so… The wedding planning was literally still on-going as we went through gate-crash and the mad dash to the church, to be in time for the ceremony. My little sister, who is as methodical as they come, an ace-planner, suffered from not being in control of her wedding ceremony (because she ain’t the coordinator) and we all had a good laugh at her expense. My brother-in-law was in a similar situation, for being a wedding photographer himself, he was always trying to find the best angle for the photographer and to pre-empt and prepare for the next shot. Oh well, occupational hazards! Haha!
Like I always said, things will definitely go awry, and there is only so much we can plan for, but the wedding will happen, and it would most definitely be a beautiful experience where everyone would have a good time. This turned out to be true for most part, and with good reasons. Weddings are beautiful not because they are a celebration of a couple’s love for each other, but it is also a celebration of kinship and friendship. Extended family members travelling to my place early in the morning to see my sister “出嫁,” which literally meant coming early just to watch the gate-crash and waiting aimlessly at my place for another couple of hours before the tea ceremony. Doesn’t sound too exciting? In fact, it sounded most tiring, considering that the church wedding reception ended slightly after 5. But, I am not surprised by their decision. We have always been a close knitted family and our aunties and uncles invested so much of their youth on us that we were also their children before they had their own.
As the Chinese saying goes, “在家靠父母，出外靠朋友,” the importance of friends cannot be forgotten in any wedding. For all who have been involved in weddings or whom have been married, you would know that it literally takes a village to make the wedding happen. I met less and less of my sister’s friends as we grew older and busier but I remembered most of them whom I met while we were in college. Some of them are now married with children, some have lost much of their hair (oops!)… but almost all whom I remembered to be her close friends showed up and helped out. And it is really comforting and really nice to know some of these young punks and young ladies have all grown up to be gentlemen and ladies, loving spouses and parents.
As with every wedding, the highlight really was the gatecrash and I must give special credits to the bridal party for ingenuity. Other than me, the sister by relation, all of them were pharmacists by training, which gave rise to the most original 酸甜苦辣 concoction I have ever had the pleasure to see and serve: (酸) Lemon marinated overnight in white vinegar, (甜) Canned syrup with 4 packets of sugar dissolved (trust the pharmacist to choose a safe option so as not to induce diabetes), (苦) Bitter gourd juice with TCM powder recommended by the Uncle at the medicinal hall, and (辣) Chilli padi. And the sister who prepared these concoctions tried every and every one of them herself before she served them to the groomsmen. And kudos to the groomsmen who consumed them all. Not that they didn’t put up a fight, they did so admirably and they were such good sport they downed everything almost as if they were a treat. And we know that, that cannot be true. Looking at the friends who gave their time and effort to this wedding, both on the bride and groom’s side, it is comforting for us as family to know that the couple is well supported by their community in this journey that they have now begun together.
That said, I think I am going to miss my pesky little sister as I am missing my cheeky little brother.
A side note: At the wedding rehearsal a couple of days before the ceremony, I was truly humbled and inspired by what I saw. Some of the helpers were pastors, busy professionals… in general, successful and talented people who have every right to be confident and be served in this world. Yet, they all came early or on time for the rehearsal, patiently sat through two runs of the ceremony, listened attentively to the instructions given and during that time, was observing the on-goings instead of checking their phones as most of us are fond to do. You would think that they must be playing some important ceremonial role, but that was not so. Some were there to help bring out pads for kneeling, others were there to help with setting up the candles. Each one’s role was less than a minute but they sat through a 2-hour rehearsal respectfully. It was not like they didn’t have anything better to do or that my sister was particularly important, loving, nice or sacrificial to merit such treatment. No doubt they are all good friends to my sister, but they also have to be exceptionally humble for them to not only do all that but to do it with so much grace and patience. For the first time, I think I have seen the fruit of the Spirit.