What is it about weddings that bring out the drunkenness in people? Is it the free booze mentality? Or is it that people are so happy for the bride and groom that they overindulge? Whatever the reason, drunk people are hilarious to watch and makes any event that little bit more interesting.
We had my brother’s Vietnamese tea ceremony last Sunday. It was basically a Vietnamese engagement party and formed part one of my brother’s two-part wedding celebrations. Next week will be the civil ceremony and reception.
How was the tea ceremony? It went off like a rocket. Let me give you a rundown of the day.
At 6 am that morning, I had a makeup and hair lady come to my home to turn me from an ugly duckling to a Swan Princess. Unfortunately, she missed the brief and instead of making me look like Elle McPherson on runway day, I resembled a drag queen. Not that there’s anything wrong with drag makeup! It’s just the dramatic look didn’t quite fit with the daytime event.
Anyhow, my husband and daughter took great pleasure in teasing me, comparing my look to that of a clown. Not nice, right?
“Oh you know I’m just teasing you. You look beautiful!” said my backpedalling husband when he saw my angry face. Or at least what looked like anger under the cake of foundation on my face.
“Mummy, you really do look terrible. You look like a panda or a clown.” My eight-year-old daughter’s bluntness was not refreshing in the least.
It didn’t matter what anyone thought as there was little that could have been done about the makeup. At least the Ao Dai fitted and that was already half my battle won.
The tea ceremony started at the bride-to-be’s family home at 10:30 am. While introductions were being performed, my four-year-old son decided it was a good time to complain about being hungry, not just once but repeatedly. Luckily he wasn’t the only child being disruptive. To their credit, it was hard to stand in one spot for 30 minutes while oldies rambled in a nonsensical language.
My dad reluctantly gave up the role of cameraman to his brother but was unhappy with his camera abilities and made a fuss about angles and shots. My dad had to be reminded several times like a child to behave and to keep his focus on the role of father-of-the-groom and not a cameraman. Let me tell you, it wasn’t an easy task for those around him.
After our obligatory feast at the bride-to-be’s family home, the party of people travelled to my parent’s home for the second part of the tea ceremony.
It was at my parent’s house that I had to do a small speech. Part of the tradition involves the bride-to-be and groom-to-be offering tea to their elders and receiving well wishes and a gift in return. As public speaking isn’t my forte, I was worried about giving a good speech that would encompass how I felt. My brother is eight years younger than me and growing up, I was more of a mother figure than sister to him. And so, the moment meant a lot to me. Thankfully, I was able to get the words out in a coherent manner despite heckling from someone to speak louder and the billions of cameras and phones shoved my way.
With the official part of the tea offerings done, people let loose. My husband, children and I went upstairs, away from the noise and crowd, and the alcohol-fuelled ruckus. Being a part of the immediate family meant that we couldn’t leave early. We spent time upstairs with other families until it was socially acceptable to leave.
The only downside of leaving was missing the part where my aunty chucked her guts after challenging my brother to a vodka slamming contest. Apparently, she was out after six shots. And by out, I mean she passed out on a couch where she laid for several hours after the party ended. She wasn’t the only aunt passed out on a couch either.
There were lots of boozy, half-drunk people everywhere but we left before any of any real fun started. It’s a shame because I’d have captured those moments for your viewing pleasure. Anyhow, this post was just an update on how the tea ceremony went.
Part two of the wedding celebrations will be next week. How long do you reckon a hangover lasts when you’re in your sixties?
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