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Tag Archives: Chinese wedding

Today = 2 Years in China!

28 Dec

Two years ago today, Brett and I (along with 700 pounds of my clothing) boarded a plane in Newark bound for Beijing.  To celebrate this exciting anniversary, I would like to share photos from our Chinese Wedding party from this past August.  I think you will see that I went all out to play the part of a Chinese bride (short of dying my hair of course!)

Brett and Morgan Hutchinson

Brett and I knew that we didn’t want to host our Beijing wedding celebration in a Western style (for those of you not living in Asia – that means that we didn’t want an American or European style venue…it does not mean that Brett and I were considering a Wild-West Hoedown).  When in China, right?   So when we stumbled upon Gui Gong Fu, a restaurant famous for its history, as well as its imperial cuisine, we were sold.  Housed in the former residence of the Empress Dowager’s little brother, Gui Gong Fu set the perfect backdrop to our Chinese wedding party.  Although we didn’t hold a actual ceremony (we saved that for just he two of us in South Africa – see Chitwa Chitwa: Part 3 for more details) we did host a traditional Chinese, family style dinner for 150 of our dear friends and colleagues here in Beijing.  It was quite a feast! Luckily, Brett and I went for a tasting before hand as I don’t remember us sitting down long enough to eat any of the meal on the actual night of the party.  Between visiting each table to drink a shot of Mou Tai (Chinese liquor) with our Chinese guests and being toasted with Champagne by our Western guests…there was little time to do anything but “Cheers!”  Thankfully, I do remember being giving a bowl of rice by the lovely Connolly sisters to coat my tummy with something.

Here is the evening in pictures.  It really was such a memorable night.

Cocktail Hour. Explaining this concept to a very traditional Chinese restaurant was no easy chore. Passed hors d'oeuvres is just not the local way of doing things at a Chinese Wedding. In the end - they got it! Brett and Morgan Hutchinson

Costume change! While it is actually a Chinese custom for the bride to change from her red dress into white...I didn't need an excuse for a second dress!

Notice the size of Brett's Mou Tai glass. We are no fools! The smaller the glass...the less you have to drink! By the way...I am holding my wine glass, NOT my Mao Tai glass.

These little Chinese women can drink! Look how she is showing off her empty glass. Bottoms up!

Thank you to all of our friends in China for celebrating such a special time with us.  Thank you to Michael and Natia Davitiashvili for joining us, two great friends from New York who just happened to be in town and gave their only Saturday night in Beijing to us!

While I am in “thank you” mode…Thank you Beijing for 2 very exciting years.  We have had our moments…and let’s be honest, I have certainly “hated” you from time to time – but overall it has been loads of fun.  You have brought me dozens of amazing new friends and countless once-in-a-lifetime moments.  Most importantly though, you have given Brett at I the opportunity to share a life-changing experience together, and for that I will be forever grateful.  Xie Xie!

All images courtesy of www.sweetvision.com.  The same amazing photographers who did our engagement photo shoot.  Click here to have a peek.

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Tying the Knot in the PRC

17 May

Celebrating the Chinese Nuptials with Champagne at Aria in the China World Hotel

We got hitched!  And, we did it Chinese style.  Honestly, it was a wonderful, hilarious, and completely crazy experience. While we absolutely feel like husband and wife – I must admit that at this point we sometimes refer to it as a hybrid.  I think you will see why after I explain the way I stopped being a “kept woman” (my sweet grandmother’s words…not mine) and we became legally bound here in the PRC.

It all started with an affidavit. Very Romantic.  We made an appointment at the US Embassy and before we knew it we were raising our right hands and swearing our eligibility for marriage under oath.  Surprisingly, US Citizens can not actually get married at the US Embassy – so we were off to an official, Chinese government approved translating office to translate the affidavit in order for the Chinese Marriage Office to recognize it.  Clearly, it would have been much too easy for the US Embassy to provide the four sentence document in a bilingual format, right?  Sarcasm intended.

FASHION: Red Silk Birdie Bass Bustier with a High Waisted Fuchsia D&G Skirt

Unfortunately, we realized upon arrival at the translation office, that the process takes a few days…so even though I had dressed for the occasion in a very special red ensemble (the Chinese color for a happy marriage) it was not going to be our Chinese Wedding Day just yet….

While waiting for the document, we did our research and gathered all other necessary documents for our meeting with the Chinese Marriage Office.  Passports…visas…birth certificates…Brett’s work visa…a copy of our lease…my temporary registration with the police…and 3 photos.  I bundled everything together in a cute pink folder, and we (Brett, his assistant Fancy Nancy – our wonderful witness, and I) retrieved the translated affidavit and went directly to get ourselves hitched!

Our super cute Chinese Marriage Certificates that I annoyingly showed every stranger at the restaurant!

Lucky for us (well maybe…keep your fingers crossed) the Chinese believe it is lucky to get married at the beginning of the week…not the end like we were doing.  But since we are not Chinese, and we don’t believe this, we were absolutely thrilled to walk in and be helped right away.  I don’t think we have ever been anywhere in this country without 50 people waiting in some semblance of a line.  (The straight line has not really caught on here just yet.)

Other than Hello! – no one spoke a lick of English at the Marriage Office. Fortunately, Nancy could translate whatever was above a second grader’s vocabulary to us (that is as far as I have made it so far).  They asked for each document one at a time and eventually requested the 3 photos. Silly me assumed that this was to prove our true love and commitment to one another and avoid questions of a permanent resident visa scam – so I didn’t just bring 3, I brought 7.  Some from our travels, some hugging, and others which might show the length of our time together.  The representative gladly took them from me, and began to thoroughly review them – even showing them to her colleagues.  After about 5 minutes of flipping through the photos, she handed them back to us, giggled, and told us that the 3 photos required should be official marriage portraits taken at a studio with a red background – measuring exactly 4cmX6cm.  Clearly, she could tell instantly that our photos were not correct, but I just love that she thumbed through them for her own enjoyment – secretly laughing at the stupid Blonde in Beijing.

As it was getting a bit late in the afternoon, we rushed to a portrait studio to take our “official” photos.  I was wearing a red silk bustier (for good luck) which basically made me look like a floating head against the backdrop – so we thought it was best for me to wear my jacket (which by the way is the same jacket I was wearing the night that Brett and I shared our first kiss on the streets of New York!)  The nice photographer quickly photoshopped out the shiny sweat on our foreheads (due to our quick jog to the studio) and we made it back to the Marriage Office before closing.

This is where is gets particularly funny…I assumed that we were in for a treat with a Chinese ceremony or some form of oath in the native tongue – but no.  It was nothing like that.  After we turned in the correct photos – the clerk typed our information into the computer and ask us to pay the 9 RMB fee for our certificates (that is the equivalent of $1.50…Dad, I will send you the bill shortly).  Money exchanged hands, and we were given 2 red folders (like little red passports) – one with Brett’s name stating his marriage to me, and the other with my name stating my marriage to him.  And just like that…I became Mrs. Brett Hutchinson! (Of course, there were many other hoops to jump through to make my name change official – but on March 25, 2011 – Brett Hutchinson and I were married in the People’s Republic of China.  For all of those who didn’t think Brett would ever even get married…I imagine that you never thought that if he did – it would be in China of all places!

Receipt for our 9RMB ($1.50) Wedding

I hope that you can see why we are referring to it as a bit of a hybrid – we still haven’t actually said our vows.  Those will take place in September in South Africa (just the two of us).  But before that – we will have a Stateside celebration in August with our beloved friends and family, and a party with our friends here in Beijing.

We would like to send a special thank you to our friends in Dalian who surprised us with a traditional style celebration.  See the pictures of us below in full Chinese Marriage Garb.  BTW – Brett might be the only bearded man to have ever worn this.

On stage in Dalian in traditional Chinese wedding attire. That headpiece weighed about 20 lbs! Also, check out the big screen behind us!

A look of doubt?? Of course not!!

With our gift of 99 red roses for a happy life!

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