Anecdote Five: We Chinese are Serious About "Chinese Sedan Chair"
The wedding ceremony would be held in a pavilion by the lake, whose scenery is heaven-like. The only problem was, it was 200 meters away from the Clubhouse and it would take me and my bridesmaids at least 3 minutes to walk there in heels. All the expectations and romance would be ruined if the guests bathing in the sun had seen us walk for so long. My fiancé and I were brainstorming, trying to figure a better solution. How about hiding behind a big tree near the pavilion? But the fallen leaves and dead branches of the tree might ruin my make-up. Maybe putting a screen near the pavilion to hide me and showing up after everyone had been seated? An indoor screen with such picturesque scenery, seemed definitely improper. How about renting a golf car to drive me there on a winding lane ? Well, we couldn't rent such a vehicle nearby and by the way, no carts were allowed there.
Finally, my fiancé came up with his original plan, to rent a Chinese sedan chair.
Although he could barely speak Chinese, he does know a lot about Chinese culture.
A Western wedding using a Chinese sedan chair? I refused without even giving a thought. But I knew why he was so into it. The first picture I saw him, was taken in the Suzhou Garden with the Chinese sedan chair as the background. I didn't know how much he knew about the Chinese sedan chair, but I was moved by his enthusiasm about Chinese culture.
Since there were no better options, I let him handle it. He was pretty serious about it. He searched from the east to the west online, and found out that only the Chinese wedding companies have such chairs. Sorry for his failure, I told him there is a simple version of such a Chinese sedan chair in the society of China-- a bamboo chair with two bamboo poles. So he began to search for a bamboo chair and bamboo poles. Unfortunately, American furniture is made of either wood or aluminum alloy. We couldn't even find a chair woven by bamboo strips, let alone bamboo poles when the wedding was approaching. And I began to become impatient, thinking of other solutions.
Three days before the wedding, he showed me the "sedan chair", a single sofa chair covered by red silk with two poles with gold paint bought from Home Depot, connected by nails. That's my sedan chair.
My fiancé proudly asked his two six feet tall sons to carry me to experiment whether this man made Chinese sedan would work.
Though I get along with the two sons, having them carry me with one in front and one in back was totally another story. After they carried me from the east of living room to the west, I asked them to stop. I was feeling uncomfortable about the idea of them carrying me so I gave an excuse of worrying that the poles would break.
But three of them told me simultaneously, “ With your weight, you couldn't break them even by jumping up and down. So there is nothing to worry about.”
I was moved by their sincerity. O.K. let's do it!
The day before the wedding, the friend who helped me rent the pavilion told me excitedly that an Indian couple held the wedding there two weeks ago and that the wedding was talked about by the neighbors for three days--because the bride got there on the back of a white horse.
Uniqueness always comes in pairs. The Indians couldn't find an elephant so they used the white horse instead. We couldn't find the authentic Chinese sedan chair so we would use a sofa chair instead. How unique! I told my friend to wait for tomorrow, a day when your neighbors would be astonished by our Chinese culture as well!
Actually, I don’t think that I would know how many neighbors of my friend could watch my wedding, but I knew the guests invited by my fiancé are pure Americans. Therefore, we printed the exquisite show lists with English explanations for the Chinese sedan chair. In order to save space, we didn’t say that in most weddings in China, the bride is not carried by the Chinese sedan chair, but by a car.
"We were astonished too when seeing you being carried by his two sons. In china, if the father wants to get re-married, it will be god-blessed if his sons won't disagree, let alone carry the Chinese sedan chair for you themselves."
"Yeah. I was afraid that you would be thrown out half way!"
When two of my close friends knew the story behind the sedan chair, both of them thought I was super lucky. So did I. During the two minutes in the chair, I felt people should be kind to each other. No wonder we Chinese always take the meaning of raising sedan chairs with deep feelings. God blessed us since the two poles didn’t break.