Cut The Crap: Let’s Stick With Covid-19 Chinese Wedding Practices Even After The Pandemic
Let Weddings Be What They Really Are: A Union Between Two People, Not A DisplayTo Be Shown Off.
On 21 May 2021, I attended my cousin’s wedding. Due to the Covid-19 resurgence in Singapore, strict measures were put in place to quickly curb the spread of the virus. Only 50 guests were allowed and any wedding reception was strictly off-limits. It was a beautifully simple affair — a cozy group gathered in the Church (with safe-distancing measures) to witness the transformation of two people becoming one family, vowing to love each other till death do them part. Unlike many Chinese weddings in Singapore, the affair was stripped to its simplest form. There was no ridiculous need to wake up at 4-5 am for makeup, no gatecrashing, no lavish reception after the solemnization, no costly dinner banquet. It is the wedding that many Singaporean Chinese couples dreamed of.
For those who are unfamiliar with Chinese wedding practices in Singapore, let me bring you through what usually happened before the pandemic arrived. Singaporean Chinese weddings are a rather complex and sensitive phenomenon. I learned very quickly in my own experience that Chinese weddings are not for the couple. It was an event for the parents and the community but paid for entirely by the couple desiring to be married.
Most traditional Chinese parents would want the following in a Chinese wedding:
A large wedding banquet
It needs to be big and flashy. Your guest list will be filled with not just your relatives, but your parents’ cousins and distant cousins. Aunties and uncles you have never met are essential guests (so, please kick out that friend of yours who has been by your side for the last 5 years). You will also need to ensure that there are enough seats for the parents’ colleagues (again, who you do not even know), the parents’ neighbours, their friends (this is fine if they really are good friends), their children’s friends, etc. If you are not too well-off and/or do not believe in spending obscene amounts of money on one night (read more about Singaporeans who have spent 100k on their wedding, essentially entering their marriage…