Bee prepares her traditional headpiece for her wedding day festivities.
The day began with a flurry of activity. The bride, Liang Jiamin, known as Bee by all her friends and family, was in her bedroom in her family’s home in the village of Doumen getting ready for the all-day event which lay before her. She was preparing to marry, Jonathan Michael Castillo, an American photographer whom she met while working in the nearby city of Zhuhai.
Members of Bee’s family prepare for the wedding festivities.
As members of Bee’s family scurried about and prepare the day’s activities her father took a moment to escape the chaos and smoke some tobacco which he liked to draw through his bamboo water pipe.
Bee’s relatives enjoy a laugh as they prepare to take a group shot prior to the groom’s arrival.
While all the preparations were taking place in the bride’s home the groom, Jonathan, was busy getting himself ready as well as organizing the transportation for all his out of town guests. Several of which came all the way from the United States and one even from Russia, for this momentous event. It was probably the first time such an event ever took place in the village of Doumen and for many of the locals it was most likely the first time they had ever seen foreigners in person.
Jonathan, left, arrives with his posse of groomsmen and immediately forced to put on silly attire and dance.
Upon the arrival of the groom and all his out of town guests he and his groomsmen were guided to the bride’s home where he is expected to collect his bride and take her to the ceremony. However, before he is even allowed to even see his bride, he must first complete a series of challenges which the bridesmaids have planned for him. The challenges are meant to be silly and fun which Jon and his support team all took part with great enthusiasm.
Prior to entering the bride’s room he was met with another challenge which was to consume a bowl of cooked vegetables. Jon is a meat guy and the bridesmaids knew would not be an easy task for him to complete.
Another challenge given to Jon and his groomsmen was to consume a chicken foot. Local delicacies such as this are not among Jon’s favorite foods in China.
Finally after performing a series of tasks as well as bribing the bridesmaids Jon was allowed into the house where he met his bride and her parents.
After fulfilling all his duties and showing proper respect to Bee’s parents he was allowed carry his bride out of her home and off to the ceremony.
Jon and Bee relax after the day’s earlier festivities. The two will now need to prepare for the actual wedding ceremony.
With over 300 people attending the ceremony for Jon and Bee’s wedding a tent was set up over the village’s basketball court.
With so many people in attendance a massive amount of food had to be prepare on site to feed the hungry guests.
Cooks prepared a variety of Chinese foods which included noodles, shrimp and bowls of spicy eel.
Jon and Bee are welcomed and congratulated as they make their way to the stage for the official ceremony. For the festivities earlier in the day both Jon and Bee wore traditional Chinese garments but for the ceremony they switched to western fashion.
After a brief ceremony Jon and Bee could officially call themselves husband and wife.
The hardest work for the bride and groom at any Chinese wedding is the toasting. The couple must make their way from table to table and knock back shots of the Chinese spirit called Baijiu. Fortunately for Jon and Bee their support team swapped out the alcohol for something less toxic and the two survived the evening.
With most of the food consumed and the final Gan Beis (Cheers) performed the party began to wrap up.
The final task of the night was to pay caterers. Since the largest bill in China is a 100RMB note, around USD15.00, it took several counts to make sure the amount was accurate.
Bee’s mother rests as her daughter and new son-in-law pay for the day’s events.
With the party over the cleanup begins.
Newlyweds Jonathan Michael Castillo and Bee Liang Jiamin.