1. If the card says 8.00pm, it will start at 9.15pm earliest. In fact people will only start coming at 8.30pm. To be safe, arrive one hour after the wedding (despite how the word ‘Sharp’ is sometimes emphasized in bold in the wedding card)
2. You will hardly be able to recognize the bridegroom in a K-pop jacket and super funky hairstyle and even less so the bride under the all that makeup. Until you hear them speak.
3. The rush for food operates in a reverse fashion. Due to the time lapse, the greatest rush for food would be the multicourse appetizer and the soup. After this, the rush slows down. By the time you reach the nasi goreng/pulut rice you can have several helpings. Desert is often half untouched.
4. Unlike Indian and Christian and Malay weddings, there will not be a shortage of areas for you to drop off your angpows. In fact most weddings will have a counter, even separated by Bride/Bridegroom. This also serves as a convenient seat locator for you.
5. You will not recognize 50% of the invitees because they are distant relatives. In fact, 50% of the invitees do not recognize the bride and groom and the other 45% vaguely look familiar, like that extra character from a 90s TVB serial.You sometimes feel like you’re in a mix and match party, only with more Batik shirts. It is perfectly acceptable if after knocking back a few, you get disorientated and think you’re in Genting Highlands by the sheer number of old Chinese men in batik shirts.
6. Chinese wedding aren’t big on speeches like the Serani weddings that make you sit through seventy five speeches by the groom, groom’s best friend. groom’s best friend’s cousin. groom’s best friend’s cousin’s dog…no. Usually just three speeches tops. Bride punya bapak, bridegroom punya uncle. And usually they themselves will be too stoned to give a proper speech.Other than yelling yaaaaam seeeng till their red faces go blue. Common speech will be like “Ta cia wanshang hao.Jintian wo (bla bla bla bla gibberish lame sex joke bla bla bla) Yaaaaaammmmm Seeennggggg! “
7. Only Malaysian type of wedding you will find with product placement. Usually in this order- You have Carlsberg/GAB ladies (usually they will send the aunties only la),Vino wine shop staff, and kids who look like high school part timers pouring out select bottles of brandy or whiskey. These girls usually either pour like they are pouring a sacred liquid (too slow/little) or pouring bleach into a clogged toilet (overflowing). Most Chinese weddings never bother giving you three types of glasses- the same ubiquitous, universal Chinese tea glass will be used for wine, water, soft drink (usually in 2 bottles on the table), alcohol, beer, and of course, Chinese tea.
8. After the third course, the tables will be half empty. Girls head to toilet. Guys head to….
a) Grab alcohol and start yam-seng-ing
b) Go outside to smoke. As if on cue,this will be the slowest dishes,and usually the least popular ones,like vegetables or tofu.
9. Exception to no 8 is the halal/vegetarian table. Because of the course-fashion of dinner, by the 30th minute, they will usually be done and sit around awkwardly as the waiters clear their table and people carry roasted baby piglets complete with heads around them. Usually invited so the bride/bridegroom’s parents can show they are not racist.The proportion of these tables increases if either or both party
a) Works for government
b) Works as IT tech support
c) Is a local political figure who needs to invite his/her other race allies.
10. Volume control is something severely lacking in Chinese weddings. All the way from the hellos, the songs, the discussions at the tables and the bye byes, the volume knob broke just after “Extremely Loud” and just before “Bloody Hell People Around Me Are Deaf’ and will remain that decibel until you enter your car and realize you’re in Malaysia once more!
Written by the one and only Emmanuel Joseph