One of the many things to be done in preparation for a Chinese wedding is the hanging of decorations in the 婚房/apartment occupied by the bride and groom. For our wedding it’s a little complicated, because, of course, the ceremony will happen in Yanqing County Town, and we’ll spend the night of the wedding in a hotel there, while our apartment is here in southern Chaoyang. Naturally, one can not just arbitrarily decide that a hotel room will serve as the 婚房, because that would entail far too much trouble for newlyweds and management alike, so our apartment gets the 婚房 treatment even though it’s already well lived in. No big deal, you always adapt tradition to the situation you find yourself in, especially when your situation involves a cross-cultural marriage.

So this evening we hung the decorations. Yeah, one size fits all 个屁. The decorations are long streamers of shiny, coloured paper cut into pretty shapes, too short for the long walls of the lounge room, too long for the short walls. Exactly one size fits nothing.

Well, we’ve done what we can with what we have. The too long too short streamers we’ve hung the length/shortth of the lounge room walls as best we can, the big flowery bit that hangs down the middle of it all we’ve hung as close to the centre of the bedroom as possible, framework of the bedroom lights, chopstick, and 98.5698325% forgotten Scout knot-tying permitting.

Some time before the wedding ceremony we’ll have to change the bedding over to wedding red. That won’t be difficult, we already have the bedding prepared and it’s damn near impossible to bugger that up. So long as red sheets are on the bed, red pillow cases on the pillows, and a red cover on the duvet, who can complain? Oh, wait, I’m sure I’ll find out….  But no, I don’t see that as being anywhere near as much hassle as the decorations we just did.

And the decorations weren’t much hassle. Just a lot of shifting a chair around so I could get up close and personal with the ceiling and pinning and unpinning of the decorations.

So it’s done, for now. I happen to think this way is the best, with the streamers strung along the lounge room walls instead of meeting in the centre. Our lounge room is just too awkward a shape, and the framework of the lights just a little inconveniently worked to make meeting in the centre work properly. We tried that and the results were pretty accurate definitions of 乱七八糟 (messy). The way we’ve arranged things may not be perfect, but I strongly suspect it’s the best we can do with what we have.

One step closer… And only eleven more days till my parents arrive… And therefore only thirteen more days until the ceremony… When am I supposed to start getting nervous?

6 Responses to “string ’em up and throw away the key”

  1. China and I Says:

    Hi again Chris,

    My French friend will marry very soon with an unoffensive Shanghai girl (Is it possible?), so he asked me about the paperworks. I did them almost 7 years ago, so… things have changed. Do you have a reminder?

  2. Nick Says:

    Wow! Congratulations man. You must be buzzing with your parents on the way and the wedding.
    That was funny, “个屁” means “each to their own.”

  3. Nick Says:

    Oops I mean “One size fits all” :P

  4. wangbo Says:

    China and I: Your friend will need his passport and a certificate of no impediment to marriage from France. I’m not sure how French people get such a certificate, he may be able to get it issued from the nearest French embassy or consulate, or it may have to be issued in France. He will also need a notarised translation of the certificate. His fiancee will need her ID card and hukou. They will also need to take photos of them together, kind of passport style- any Kodak shop will be able to do that. Health checks are no longer necessary. Assuming her hukou is still for Shanghai, they’ll need to go there to get married, in which case they’ll have to contact the Shanghai Minzheng Ju to find out exactly which office deals with Sino-Foreign marriages.

    Nick: Somebody’s giving you a funny translation of 个屁. “one size fits all 个屁” should be read as “one size fits all, my arse”.

  5. Nick Says:

    I didn’t know the expression. Could see it had an “arse” in it. Chinese is such a beautifully expressive language ;)

  6. wangbo Says:

    That it is.