THESE days, most couples would opt for a modern wedding ceremony with luxury approaches, but not for Lim Teng Wai and his bride Low Say Ling.
They chose to stick to a Chinese wedding that was steeped in tradition.
As the wedding planner and elder sister to the groom, Lim Shi Yan preserved the traditional Chinese culture and heritage to the delight of the newlyweds.
“The Cantonese style idea came from my mother, who hails from Canton, the southern part of China.
“Most people these days lack the knowledge and interest on the cultural and heritage value of a traditional marriage, so we want to preserve this tradition through this wedding.
“We simplified some elements in the traditional ceremony to fit with the times but were careful to keep significant details,” said Shi Yan, adding that she started planning the traditional wedding about a year ago.
On the wedding day, the groom’s house was filled with fine traditional tunes played on a Chinese harp called gu zheng.
Instead of a luxury car, the bride arrived at the bridegroom’s house in a qiao, a traditional Chinese bridal carriage used in ancient times carried by eight people.
They were accompanied for a short distance to the groom’s house by a wedding procession comprising a traditional Chinese band.
On arrival at the groom’s house, firecrackers exploded and the groom lightly kicked the carriage door followed by the bride getting off the carriage and walking to the house under a red umbrella.
The couple was greeted by a lion dance to bless them followed by a tea ceremony, a ritual involving the groom’s parents, siblings and relatives.
The bride was dressed in an elegant red traditional Chinese dress called the choong wu fu while the groom wore ma kua chang pao with a peacock-feathered headgear.
“A traditional dress can cost up to RM30,000 such as the kua wong, worn by the bride after changing from the choong wu fu,” said Shi Yan, adding that her mother’s attire cost about RM20,000 and was sewn by a professional tailor in China.
“The traditional Chinese wedding ceremony is more costly compared to the modern approach as it takes tedious planning and more time, which is one of the reasons why many couples opt to get hitched the modern way,” said Shi Yan, adding that every detail had a meaning and was not just for decoration.
Every little detail has meaning, like the cypress leaf on the pair of dragon which represent everlasting happiness while the phoenix candles represent ample food and clothing for both the couple and their families.
The celebration also balanced out with a modern hotel wedding dinner after the ceremony.
Shi Yan manages her family business Liang Yuan Trading and Services, a one-stop centre that provides products and services for a traditional Chinese wedding.
“We shipped a door that was taken from our heritage house in Canton and fixed it at our home here,” she said.