So the big day has arrived!!!
The plan was to be ready for when the car picked us up to go to the wedding place that would do our hair and make up at 7am. A 6-6:30 wake up should have given us enough time to shower ( all four girls were praying ( unanswered) for hot water, but as I will learn after three days in the countryside a shower, even cold, is better than a bowl wash).
I was lucky enough to miss out on the last ten minutes of my planned sleep by a call from Leah and I then had to madly find some suitable clothing to head down and wake up Nikki for the first of many good wishes to come through during the day. (while my y front thermals are might attractive I didn't really want to be sen runnin around a hallway in them. Thank you to everyone who sent their wishes, all were passed on. NIkki and Tony were also touched by the gifts sent over so thanks for those always. She is very proud of the copper bowl (reminder of her birth town) wrapped in Grandys hanky from Nana. Grandys hanky was also her something old, tucked under her dress this morning.
After we overcame the language difficulty at the hair dressers, our faces were made up (spack filled, and a bit whiter than normal for us - while we think the chinese complexion is flawless they aspire for a much whiter skin, grass is always greener i guess) and hair was done, including the addition of a hair piece for me so I could have the same half up half down look as the other bridesmaids. It looked better than we had expected and was much better than when Nikki and I had tried to do it ourselves.
After the obligatory photos with the foreigners and peace signs and "chi e zu" (sound it out) we were back to the hotel for a quick change and to prepare for TOnys arrivals. The boys (the other two foreign teahcers) were ready to run interefernce if we weren't ready when Tony arrived and there was a dresser lady in Nikkis room which we hadn't expected but was definitely a godsend and is it took a bit longer to zip up my boots over the two layers of thermals and hiking socks than I had planned.
Once all the jewellry and finishing touches were done, one of NIkkis shoes was hidden for Tony to find when he arrived, and Nikki was positioned demurely (shoeless) on the bed to wait for her groom. As we started to feel the rush of time, we were startled by a cacaphony of fireworks going off at the front gates as Tony, his grooms men and some other people ( i think drivers, fireworks men and of course Tonys proud cousin) arrived.
We quickly gathered in the room and when the doorbell rang, Gemma tookk control of playing with Tony, shutting the door a few times before we started to ask some questions and comence the three types of tests we had been told to - Physical, Mental and Financial. He had to spell Nikkis middle name which we thought he may sturggle with but he got first go, had to name Mum and Dads name, and tried with Mr and Mrs Kropp to start with, eventually we got Fiona but he inststed on Mr Kropp, not sure if he was nervous or thats just what he calls Dad.
He also had to sing "I love you Baby" which he managed the main lines of and then everyone else on the floor joined in with to help the lines he couldn't manage. We then asked him to do pushup s for us and he (in true Chinese tradition) bribed us with red envelopes of cash so we let him in. From there he of course couldn;t take his wife as her shoe was missing and the grooms men then needed to help find it.
Once the fun was over we all headed downstairs and into the cars to head to the country side. There was supposed to be six cars, I only saw the four with birdal party in them but there may have been two empty ones as well I didn;t notice.
Once in the country side there was a big blow up arch with the dragon ad phoenix (symbols f happiness) and red carpet. Bridesmaid and groomsmens stood either side of the carpet (me clutching tightly onto the ring Nikki had to give Tony, which I of course told her I didn;t have and got the pleasure of one second of panic before I gave in and handed it over)
There were heaps of people come out to see the "lawai" wedding and sticky beak and the CHinese are not shy about pushing in and getting a good look (some were pushing us out of the way to get a better look). There was a man on a micrphone who of course I have no idea what he said. Tony parents were seated at the head of the carpet outside the door of their home and were involved in the ceremony with the bride and groom bowing to them, Nikki and Tony giving them drinks and them giving N and T money envelopes. Nikki also called them Mama and Papa, and then Tonys Mum said "I love you" (in english). Everyone clapped and cheered and it was all over.
After some photos and us keeping warm in "the wedding room" (the room nikki and tony stay in when they stay there), we headed to the restaurant for lunch.
as with other meals we've had, the food kept coming and coming and everyone wanted to propose a toast or share a drink with the bride and groom (and the other foreigners) There was a also a band moving from room to room and wherever any of us were there was an audience...
I'm tired for now, and will edit the details of the party later... but this should keep those of you looking for updates happy for now!!