When we say that we are and have been blessed along these years of exercising our wedding photography craft, we really mean the true sense of the word : blessed. Not only do we get to travel to the most amazing of places to photograph other couples, but also during our travels, we get to meet the most amazing of people, get to know their customs first hand, and things like climatic conditions somehow work out best for us on the day of the photo-shoot or wedding.
Today we´re back on our blog thrilled to share with you Siying and Jiachang´s wedding in the heart of Beijing. And just as mentioned before, this beautiful event brought us so many blessings we would never have thought we´d be fortunate to experience.
One of the most outstanding one , along with meeting Siying and Jiachang, was meeting their closest family and friends, and witnessing the enticing ritual of Chinese tea making. We knew that it was China that had introduced this beverage to the world, and that tea has a crucial part reserved on a wedding ceremony, but little did we know that almost each household has a room dedicated purely for tea savouring. Served in a gorgeous porcelain, infusing the most exotic yet delicate of aromas, never the experience of drinking tea was more precious for Fábio and I.
As numbers and numerology is quite ingrained in the Chinese culture, Siying and Jiachang´s exchange of vows was set for 11:18am, which meant that that the wedding preparations had to start pretty early. While beautiful Siying was getting ready we learned that as many as 3 dresses were reserved for the occasion of the wedding. Contrary to the Chinese custom, Siying decided that her Chinese silk dress was not red, but green and blue, and we found them so stunning, with the delicacy of the fabric and the flowery design. However a specific red banners symbolising happiness, where placed around the families´ house, and these “happiness benners” are essential parts of the wedding decorations
Now, China has a similar wedding custom to that of Poland, in the sense that the groom actually picks up his bride from her family home. In Poland the custom is still preserved in where upon the groom´s arrival, the couple receives blessings from their respective parents right before they part for their wedding ceremony. In China it is similar, but it is enriched with more traditional Chinese rituals. Upon Jiachang´s arrival, Siying´s female family members had blocked a way to the bride´s room and they will played a door game in which the groom had to “pay his way” to the bride. Despite being unable to understand a word of Mandarin, Fábio and I still had so much fun just watching Jiachang negotiating through his way amongst laughs and happy protest of his attendants.
After finally managing to get through to his beautiful bride, an informal tea ceremony was performed with the exchange of gifts between the respective parents and grandparents.
After the beautiful ritual Siyins was carried by Jiachang to their car and rushed to the wedding reception to be on time for their 11:18am wedding ceremony.
The reception was held at a central Beijing hotel where family and closest friends gathered to watch the two lovebirds pronouncing their love vows. By the time that we arrived Sying was already changing to her white wedding dress. Now by this time, the couple and us have grown so fond of each other, that seeing the bride preparing for wedding ceremony was like seeing my own sibling. She was beaming with beauty and incredible calmness, and when Jiachang saw her walking up the aisle with her dad, he couldn´t contain his emotions. Neither could we 🙂
The exchange of vows was followed by speeches given by their respective fathers and then the couple alone. During these they exchanged gifts, and these included a beautiful kite made by Siying herself, which she offered her parents. Now for us the experience was indescribable, but equally was the frustration of not being able to understand a word of what shared. The beautiful exchange of vows, speeches, personal blessings given by the family felt so rich, deep and loving, that we would give a lot to be able to understand at least a part. But loving gestures and looks often speak for themselves, and so it was clear to us just how filled with love, tenderness, respect and cherishing the marriage ceremony was. The ceremony followed a dinner and toasts, and the party continued in more informal setting at one of the couples´ family home up till late afternoon.
We have no words to describe how deeply grateful we are to have experienced this beautiful event, to have met these amazingly precious people, and to have been enriched by this travel and cultural experience. As it is said commonly, there is no way to happiness, but happiness it´s the way, and our live is testimony of that thanks to amazing couples whose lives we are fortunate to be a part of.
Dearest Siying and Jiachang, thank you once again from the bottom of our hearts for being in our lives. As our friends for life now, you know we wish you an overflow of blessings in your live together. We cannot wait to see you back next year! Much love from us!