I got to go to my first Taiwanese Wedding this weekend! I worked with Ivy (the bride) for a year in the same classroom so it was even more special for me. Weddings are totally different from those in America so let me walk you through it! :)
First of all, you can call every wedding a "wedding banquet" because it's all about eating. They typically take place in a restaurant that specializes in weddings. In the one I attended there were a whole bunch of round tables set up in a large banquet hall with a red carpet leading up to a stage. I sat down with friends from work and we chatted and looked at the engagement pictures together. Five minutes before the ceremony started a slideshow came on of the bride and groom as they were growing up.
There was a lot of hired photographers at the wedding too! Plus everyone else taking pictures, it kinda felt like the paparazzi!
After the slideshow the groom came out holding the bouquet. He walked halfway up the red carpet, turned around and waited for the bride to make an appearance.
The bubble machine came on and then our bride entered on her father's arm. She was so gorgeous! Everyone was snapping pictures!
The groom presented her with the bouquet and the host of the wedding asked him to say a few words. I wish I knew what he said but my Chinese still needs improvement! It must have been very romantic and moving because he started crying and so did everyone else.
Then the bride and groom went up to the stage together. They're families joined them and there were a few speeches. Then everyone disappeared to change clothes (the bride gets to change dresses multiple times) and the food started being served!
I wasn't sure what everything was on this plate but I saw squid and jellyfish legs! Normally I wouldn't touch them but they were not that bad! (I'm not a big seafood fan, btw) Supposedly there are special foods served at weddings and they all have a symbolic meaning but I haven't found any definitive information about that yet.
Next came crab! Yummy!
Then the bride and groom came out with a new outfit and had some goodies to hand to their special friends. However, everyone mobbed them before they could give the candy out themselves!
Here's the next beautiful dress!
Now was the time to give out the bouquet. The bride called out some names of people (guys and girls) to come up and hold onto a ribbon that was attached to the bouquet. On the count of three they all pulled and two peoples' ribbons didn't fall away from the bouquet. One boy and one girl. I don't think it means the same thing in Taiwan as it does in the US- it doesn't decide who's going to get married next. It was just a silly, entertaining game to play.
Then we got served fish and the bride and groom came around to each table to give a toast.
After that the last courses were served and people started to leave. As you walked out the door you got to take a picture with the bride and groom and wish them well.
It was a very interesting cultural experience. I had a lot of fun and it was great to see one of my friends get married! This was my impression of my first wedding in Taiwan. I meant for it to be objective and open-minded account in order to understand some traditions on the other side of the world. If I misrepesented anything or gave some false information, please let me know so I can fix it!
PS- Congratulations, Ivy! I had a lot of fun at your wedding! :)