The bride’s head was covered with a red cloth. The groom helped her down to the bridal carriage, where two young children had been riding in the carriage from the hotel. Just before she got into the carriage, the groom helped her put on a pair of new red shoes (symbolizing stepping into a brand new future and leaving everything else behind). The bride’s family set off firecrackers to send her off.
11:00 — Accompanied by the lion dancers, the band, and firecrackers, the carriage left for the hotel. The groom walked in front of the carriage, and the children who had been in the carriage now walked alongside it. The carriage took a different route to the hotel from the route it had taken earlier that morning. Upon arriving at the hotel, the lion dancers and band performed at the hotel entrance, while firecrackers continued to go off in the background.
11:30 — The groom led the bride into the hotel, pulling her by a piece of red cloth that had a large flower in the middle. The bride, wearing a red veil, walked up the stairs with her groom to the second floor ballroom, where more than 200 guests were seated for this special occasion.
11:38 to 12:10 (A very lucky time) — The wedding ceremony. The lion dancers entered the ballroom and performed on stage. After their performance, the fathers of the bride and groom gave them a red envelope with money for their services.
The host announced the entry of the bride and groom. First came the children, bearing candy and peanuts. (The Chinese word for “peanut” is similar to a term for having children, so peanuts symbolize the next generation. Candy means “sweet life.”) The children were followed by the bride and groom.
After walking down the aisle, the bride and groom stepped on a bag (“bag” has the same pronunciation as “generation,” so a bag symbolizes receiving and being accompanied by past generations). Then the couple stepped on and broke a roof shingle (this symbolizes conquering all of life’s difficulties together). After that they crossed over a kettle with hot coals (symbolizing that our lives will be full of warmth. Like a phoenix, the new couple will be purified and reborn by the flames, allowing them to leave all of the bad things behind).
The bride and groom dropped to their knees three times — once to the sky for the light and rain, once to the earth for its food, and one to their parents for their lives. Then the groom removed the bride’s veil.
Next was a tea ceremony, which was a ritual greeting of the bride and groom for each parent. For the first time, Eric called Julia’s parents “Mother” and “Father.” For the first time, Julia called Eric’s parents “Mother” and “Father.” This ritual establishes a ceremonial bond between the two families.