Tuesday, December 15, 2009

[Diary of a Soon-to-be Bride] - countdown 16 days

Last Sunday was a special day. It was Guo Da Li day for me, otherwise translated as the day when formal betrothal takes place. It’s a tradition that’s still being observed in Singapore today albeit with some modifications.

In the old days, the bridegroom will be accompanied by the “matchmaker” to the bride’s family home. Gifts from his family will be presented. The bride’s family will receive the gifts as a sign of acceptance of the marriage and will in return present the dowry to the groom’s family. In modern day, the gifts offered often differ.

Traditionally, the brides receive a sewing kit from her family as part of the dowry. Whilst this is often done away now, I told my parents I still wanted it. Yipee, sewing threads in a myriad of colours, shiny new needles and a new scissor for my future sewing projects! These are contained in that red heart-shaped sewing box. The tea set on the right would be used for the tea ceremony on the actual wedding day morning.

T arrived at my place that day alone (without a matchmaker. Haha) and had to make multiple trips to and fro his car since he was carrying the gifts himself. Good work-out! Given my love for all things old-school, we had agreed that I would get traditional bridal cakes instead of the cakes/tarts that many couples have now. My bridal cakes (2 boxes displayed on extreme right) came packaged in red boxes (auspicious colour of course) and contained several kinds of sweet snacks—peanut with malted candy, seasame and peanuts, sweetened rice crackers etc. These boxes of bridal cakes would then be distributed to the bride’s extended family members. Yes, traditional betrothal gifts included fresh livestock meat. Don’t start throwing daggers at me *dodge*! I don’t eat meat myself! Anyway, my family returned some of it, kept some and distributed some.

Hand-cut double happiness character on the oranges and almost everything everything else.

Interestingly, I had a chat with a Mainland Chinese friend who’s residing here recently and was surprised to learn that many of these traditions are no longer practiced by them back home! He noted that Singapore despite all our modernity, is still quite rooted in the traditions of old in this respect! Having the Guo Da Li reinforced the notion that the big day’s approaching! Soon! The thought is kind of surreal. I had fun :).

What are the special/interesting traditions you observe in your culture for weddings? I’ll love to hear them! By the way, these wedding countdown posts are not boring you, I hope? I'll still intersperse them with our usual design-related posts :).


  1. 16 wonderful days away! I hope really hope my package arrive safe and in plenty of time!! Yes i also made a lovely purse for you to keep all your ang pows on that day...hehe hope you will like it. :)

    These photos reminds me of my sister's wedding hehe...we just have sooo many traditionals. :) Thanks for sharing this with us...i really enjoyed it. Have a lovely merry happy week and love to you!


  2. I love hearing about your traditions!

  3. Wow, so excited for you! In my culture, weddings are quite like a circus - big, loud and too many things happening at once!

  4. Pork! I had to do a double take to make sure it really is pork. It's cool that you and your family still insist on practicing traditions. My mom wouldn't even know where to start... so I wouldn't have a clue myself.

    Awesome to have met you y'day Sandy ;] I have to keep saying it cos it was really awesome.


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