Friday, June 18, 2010

Taiwan Wedding Reception

So here is the story of the wedding reception a la Taiwan straight from the horses mouth!!
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Me and my new side of the family!!

The day of our reception started out very slow. Originally I thought I had to be ready to go out the door by 10 AM, but I had misheard what exactly the plans were. Our trip to the hotel where the reception was to be held wasn’t going to leave until 3 PM – even then Fritz and I were up early. By 6 AM I had gotten up, taken a shower, and packed my backpack with anything I might need minus my hair and makeup items since I planned on doing both at the house.

Holly, Monica, and Jessica came over while I was curling my hair. Which, by the way did not turn out the way I wanted it to at all. The hairspray I was using was heavy as well as the humidity in the air. The large curling iron I was using always does well in the states, without the humidity my hair holds the curl well. I needed my smaller curling iron, which I did not bring, since the curls fell from the weight and I would have had the curl I was looking for. I tried not to worry about it too much, though Holly kept telling Fritz and Anna that my hair was not fancy enough since it was just down. Apparently a lot of the brides wear their hair up in fancy updo’s something I’m not very good at doing. It’s very expensive to get it done here though so that’s why I did everything myself. I wasn’t happy about my curls in the first place, so hearing that someone thought my hair wouldn’t pass as very good made me pretty upset. Anna and Fritz could tell, I think, because they kept reassuring me that it’s fine and that Holly is just pushy.

Eventually I got over it and just focused on letting time pass. I ended up curling Holly and Monica’s hair the best I could (Asian hair does not hold curl well without tons of product) and then did my makeup. The dress shop where we rented the dresses screwed up on not giving us the tablecloth which guests sign as they go inside. So we had to stop by there and pick it up.

When we finally got to the hotel, we had to go up to the fifth floor and it is divided into 4 large rooms. There is a small dressing room right by the elevators, two rooms away from the reception hall with my name on the door. This is where I would be spending a large amount of my time. The bride is supposed to hide away, even though people are free to come by and take pictures with me if they want.

I got a chance to see the hall before the arrive before and after I changed in my dress. We did a practice run about how we would walk down the aisle and what would be expected of us when we got on stage. I got the most limited version of the translation – it’s a common thing over here that people forget I don’t know the customs or what is expected of me.

One of Fritz’s cousin’s came by and stayed with Anna, Monica, Jessica, and I while we waited for the guests to be seated. He wanted to talk to me to practice his English. He told me he wanted to go the United States for high school like Fritz did. A few people came by to see me, not many got pictures with me. Very few people could speak much English, though they were able to compliment and congratulate me. I did a lot of smiling and thanking during that time.

One of the servers brought in some food, which I discovered was because you do so much during the reception - - often the bride doesn’t get a chance to eat. I managed to eat a few things. The dress I had, while very pretty, had a wire-like corset that kept digging into my stomach and ribs. It wasn’t very comfortable and it was hot.

They finally came to get me and gave us a little pep talk before we walked down the aisle. One of the girls kept messing with my hair, flipping curls over my shoulder and the like. Fritz and I had discovered that if we walk on the same foot together, it’s not so awkward for me to move in the dress. So at some points during that walk I’m muttering “left, right, slow down!” since it’s very easy to speed up. The spotlights were shining right in our faces, so we really had no idea what was in front of us. I wasn’t nervous, I was just slightly overwhelmed by it all. Though Fritz told me that everyone was saying how pretty I was and very excited for me to be there – which is fine.

Climbing on the stage wasn’t an ordeal, but standing up there while Papa Ho made a speech felt like a little much. Luckily, my mouth hadn’t started hurting yet from smiling so often. Plus, we were supposed to bow at certain points, but I wasn’t sure when, and the lady we were supposed to watch kept making hand gestures that looked like “take a bow,” to me. Fritz I think might have been nervous because he kept talking to me on the stage trying to be silly. That or he was trying to make me feel better – because I was the only person who couldn’t understand Chinese – which Fritz’s dad made a point of saying in his speech. He mentioned it because he didn’t want me to have to explain to everyone that I didn’t know any Chinese and only spoke English.

The rest of the speech, I have no idea what he said. I’m guessing it was nice because no one came up to me later and said, “Can you believe he said that?!” Papa and Momma Ho went to get off stage, but Momma Ho wanted to pull me down with her – which according to rehearsal (the 5 minute one we had) wasn’t supposed to happen. So we had to tell her no and then Fritz walked me down off the stage, holding my hand. Then we sat at the table and a light show began.

The light show was set to some classic Latin sounding music and was pretty impressive. During one point the waiters came down the aisle walking to the beat carrying trays of our first course with candles on it. That was pretty cool, I wish we had a video camera to capture that. They had everything coordinated with the music, one more person walked down the aisle to the head table where we sat at with a tray of the food, set it down on our table with a flourish, turned and raised and arm to signal the others could do the same and the music ended.

The perks of sitting at the head table is that everything is plated and served to you, whereas if you sat at a guest table its set in the middle where you have to put it on your plate yourself. The food was great, and as most cuisine is in Taiwan, very simple in flavor. Not to put it in a negative light, but it’s pretty bland and basic in taste. Though the presentation is always amazing. I wasn’t very hungry but I ate anyway since it looked expensive and people were watching me. At one point I inhaled something that got caught in the back of my throat – so I needed to hack and cough in an unladly-like, embarrassing way. Of course, I tried my best to not completely hock up a lung which caused huge crocodile tears to well out of my eyes – so then everyone thought I was crying. But I think everyone thought I was crying out of happiness so that’s okay.

After so many courses, Fritz takes me back to my changing room to change into my other dress. I was under the impression that I wouldn’t have to change into this dress much later, so I realized too late that perhaps this dress wasn’t the best choice for the job it was about to do. Too late for that though, we got a chance to relax and sit in my room – Fritz was very hot in his suit and very tired at this point. I still had a little of an adrenaline rush going, but I was ready for bed.

Now, we get a bunch of roses which we’re suppose to hand out to people. When it was explained to me, I was given the impression that I would visit each table and hand a flower to a couple people and then move on. It would be very orderly and calm. Not the case.

Fritz and I were given an armful of flowers and then we make another entrance to a pitch black reception hall with flashing lights and loud, dance-like music. We’re suppose to walk down the aisle and pretty much throw the flowers at whoever is holding out their hand. And you get mobbed. Like dozens of hands are shoved in your face and I was told “Four flowers per table!” But I couldn’t tell who was from what table or where they came from. I even had people come back for another flower, which I didn’t give them cause that was breaking the rules… right? I felt bad later, but oh well, I gave all of them away except one which I gave Papa Ho –who gave it to Momma Ho. Fritz had one left too which he gave to me and we sat down for a couple more courses and dessert.

Before we could do that though, Papa Ho, Momma Ho, Fritz and I had to go to each table and toast and thank everyone for coming – they in turn would wish us a happy marriage and congratulations. We did this with a sparkling juice, but normally it’s done with wine. However, neither Fritz nor I wanted to get wasted on wine because we’d spend the rest of the reception being sick in the restroom from it. So we went to all fifteen tables and did that. Did I mention the dress was not good for any of these events? Trying to walk in crowds with a dress that trails is stressful and distracting. People kept stepping on the hem and I think I ripped that fluffy white thing you wear underneath to make the skirt poof out. Meanwhile I had to smile, drink, and thank people and yank on my skirt – not hold it too high otherwise someone would correct me – and move quickly.

When we sat down again, people then came up to personally toast Fritz and I or Papa Ho as a congratulations. Fritz’s school friends came up and he got really excited to talk with them. So they jibber jabbered in Chinese and I stood there kind of awkwardly. Fritz didn’t really introduce me, he was too absorbed with talking to them that I was sort of standing to the side while they stood in a circle and chatted. Fritz told me later that they were too shy to speak to me in English since they aren’t very good at it.

Not long, they had us walk out to do the farewell line where Momma Ho stands next to me, Fritz on the other side of me, and Papa Ho next to Fritz. Fritz and I had to hold this large basket of candy and people came once again said congratulations, took a candy, and left. Some stayed for pictures. This took the longest I think because of the amount of people who wanted pictures.

On a funny note, someone from the reception hall next to us got really sick off of wine and puked all over the bathroom floor then spent a good half hour crying and making a scene about how embarrassed she was. Poor girl. After the pictures I changed back into my regular clothes and we went home where I promptly fell right to sleep!

 Momma and Poppa Ho with their proud son and his new wife!

And my favorite pic of my hubbie from that night =)

 If you want to see more of our pictures from the reception we have them available on our facebooks. We will be working on putting up a public photo album for all pictures from Taiwan including the reception, professional photos, and our touristy shots!!

I'll update appropriately when those are available. Thanks for reading!


  1. you should have cut my g-ma out and put my dad in in the first pic :D

  2. Ahh I didn't see he's not in that pic, I can put up a better one once I find it with your Poppa in it =)

  3. Ahh I looked at it, he was in the picture, just I formatted it too big for my current layout. I fixed it!

  4. shouldn't this be titled your big fat Taiwanese wedding?

  5. This wasn't a wedding, it was a reception in Taiwan. And seeing as I had an American wedding, it eventually makes sense. But had we had an actual Taiwanese wedding ceremony with all its pomp and flair, I would have chosen that name.