This shot was taken last December, when I attended a very traditional Chinese wedding and took photos of the event after being asked by the couple. I posted one photo after the event, and refrained from posting more without the couple’s permission. I actually was OK to post a few shots all along, but am just now getting around to it months later.
The shot below became my favorite of the event in terms of a sort of “documentary” style. Since I’m no wedding photographer, I was simply trying to capture cultural concepts I didn’t understand – OH, and get pictures for the couple :) What is happening below is the leading of the bride by a “good luck woman,” a woman who must have certain roles and usually comes from a family with many children, a living husband, etc. The bride is walking over a fire on her way into the groom’s house, which offers a sort of purification before she enters.
The day itself was spent running back and forth between the houses of each family as dowries were paid and ceremonies were followed. Many firecrackers went off, and the entire event was a bit fascinating to see first-hand.
Chinese weddings consist of a ceremony and reception much like their Western counterparts, but most people do not visit the earlier ceremonies. Instead, most guests show up at the reception for a lunchtime meal, give an envelope to a main table, and eat food for a few hours. The couple can expect to “get rid” of their guests by 3:00pm and the entire process is very straight-forward.
Last weekend, I had a chance to photograph a more traditional style Chinese wedding from beginning to end. The couple is related to my wife and while I was not an official “wedding photographer” by any means, I used the experience to realize how exhausting the whole process is – and I gained much respect for real professionals. I saw the day as a chance to document another culture’s traditions – something I do in Taiwan regularly anyway.
This shot involves the throwing of a fan out of the car carrying the couple away from the bride’s parents’ house. The bride, in Chinese culture, drops a Chinese fan out the window to symbolize that she will leave her bad temper and faults behind. Simultaneously, her family dropped a bucket of water into the street to symbolize that she, like the water, will not come back.
I would post more photos from this event, but will hold back from now until I get permission from the couple. It was a full day that left my still jet-lagged self pretty exhausted.