It was such an honour to be invited to Vanessa and Tristan’s door games and tea ceremony the day before their wedding. The door games and tea ceremony are Chinese traditions, but they are just so much fun that I’d recommend them to anyone who is getting married! When the guests arrived at Karen and Mark’s house, Vanessa hid in a locked bedroom, while Tristan was nowhere to be seen. He was getting ready with his groomsmen (or his ‘troop of brothers’ as they are called in Chinese). When they arrived at the house, Vanessa’s bridesmaids (the sisters) would not let Tristan enter the house until he had passed a series of challenges to win his prize (the bride!).

The games symbolise a test of the groom’s sincerity and love for the bride, and involved the brothers drinking mystery concoctions, dancing to Kelis’ Milkshake with nappies on, bribing the sisters with red packets, and finally the groom was made to serenade the bride through the power of song. This was such an energetic moment as the whole entire house broke out into song to help the poor groom, whose singing was just a little off key!

The tea ceremony was a traditional ritual that pays respect and shows thanks to the elders in the family. The bride’s sister Jess served the tea to the bride and groom, who kneeled on the ground before their parents and grandparents. We guests looked on, and were moved tears when the bride’s mother Karen took a sip from the tea offered by the groom, embraced him in a big hug and whispered ‘welcome to the house’. Needless to say, I could not stop crying (happy tears as Vanessa and Tristan’s beautiful daughter Olivia calls them).

The feast that followed was a Spanish inspired banquet of seafood paella and freshly made churros. All us Asian girls were the first to go back for seconds and even thirds!