Right ok, on the actual wedding day, the bride will bathe in a bath infused with some sort of citrus fruit, pumelos, grape fruits oranges etc. It varies from area to area and this is supposed to cleanse her of evil spirits. She then puts on her make up and her draws which must never have been worn on before. This is supposed to be in the presence of joss sticks and candles
TCG says: I have never seen this, as a man you are not suppose to see this, but this goes on in a modern context i.e. a wash and make up as well as fancy pants in preparation for the wedding. The copious amounts of smoke I've seen from houses of people getting married implies this too.
You will get a bridesmaid the head bridesmaid to complement the bride to be and me her feel good, TGH says this is to probably keep them from running away. Her hair is also styled neatly
Then this cheif brides maid carries the bride so she doesn't touch the floor to the location where she is dressed and gets dressed with a red dress, and a red veil over her face.
TCG says this does still happen even in the UK, I've witnessed it before, in Hong Kong some do some don't same in Mainland China.
Once she is dressed she will bow to her parents and also the small altar you find in many Chinese homes, this still does happen, less so in the UK due to the lack of family altars in homes (TCG does not have one nor do his contemporaries).
For the groom something identical happens, without all the fancy pants and make up, he kneels and gives thanks to the family altar and a cap with leaves is placed on his head. He then again gives thanks to the family altar and he goes off on a sedan chair.
TCG says yup this still happens, sometimes red silk sashes and balls are added to this, procession, however again many homes do not have altars in the UK (my dad's house in the UK doesn't) though you find it strange high rise flats DO have altars in HK.
The groom is supposed to make a procession he leads it with people carrying gongs and drums and firecrackers are let off, a child is supposed to lead them as a precursor to his own son in the future and they would go to the bride's home with the bridal sedan. This isn't a chair on wooden rods it is completely sealed like a portaloo but in red. He would leave the sedan chair at the bride's house then go back home in his own chair which was painted blue.
The bride would stay locked in doors while the bridesmaids would demand tribute (read red packets of money) and there would be much haggling for money and tributes before the bride was let out. Incredibly rarely sometimes the groom would go in and eat dinner with the bride's parents but I've never seen this.
TCG says: This no longer happens due to the advent of cars, there are no sedan chairs anymore and thus the tribute demands in such a manner no longer happen.
The head bridesmaid would then escort the bride again carrying her on her back to the chair and close the door of the sedan chair, depending on the style (they could be open sometimes) while people tossed rice and flowers. Heh this chair had rails sometimes to chain the bride to the chair.
TCG's historical note Chinese women of past times had absolutely no choice in the men they were assigned to marry, it was arranged by their parents. This is alluded to in TVB's love is beautiful also Here
A mirror would be attached to the sedan chair to keep out evil and protect her from evil influences (like this has ever fucking worked... hold on I have to try this) and she will wear a mirror under her outer dress again to achieve the same effect.
Firecrackers etc are used once the chair sets off to scare off evil sprits (still happens with the bridal car these days)
Attendants are supposed to scatter seeds (symbolism of life) in front of the chair while they make their way there. Once they arrive at the home of the groom more firecrackers for the same purpose and a red carpet to prevent the bride from touching the ground as she dismounted, the whole family would wait for her and greet her.
TCG says : this still does happen albeit with cars.
A few rituals occur, a flame across the threashold of the doorway the flame again to cast out evil sprits. After these rituals took place, the groom could finally raise the red scarf and view the bride’s face.
Still happens though TCG is never invited to watch these things occur
The wedding is a bit of an anticlimax to all of this, simply they stand in front of the family Altar of the groom (it is his house hold after all), where blessings are given to heaven and earth family ancestors and various gods and or spirits people worship. Tea is offered to the parents either lotus seed or dates to the grooms parents by the bride as an act of serving the parents sort of humility. Then the bride and groom bowed to each other. This completed the marriage ceremony, except in some regions, where both also drank wine from the same goblet, ate sugar molded in the form of a rooster, and partook of the wedding dinner together.
Immediately after the ceremony, the couple were led to the bridal chamber, where both sat on the bed. In some areas, honey and wine were poured into two goblets linked by a red thread. The bride and groom took a few sips and then exchanged cups and drank it down. On the day of the wedding (and sometimes for the next three days), the bed chamber was open to visitors, who were given to teasing the young couple with ribald remarks.
The Wedding Banquets
Generally, separate wedding feasts were given by the parents of the bride and the groom for their respective friends and families. Even at the feast, men and women sat separately. There could be a single feast for each or a series of feasts over several days. However, the most important feast was that given the groom’s family on the day of the wedding. It was generally considered as public recognition of the union.
Much of this still occurs but varies from family to family, however, quite simply in the modern day in the UK and HK, they marry but they arrange to meet at a restaurant but are asked to bring a lee see, of X amount of money they sign a red cloth hand over the money eat, drink play mah-jong and then bugger off home.