in what appears to be my third and last wedding of the year, i got a good night's sleep and woke up to find my dress clothes piled underneath a load of laundry. they were somewhat wrinkled, so i borrowed andrew's ironing board and ironed my shirt and pants in the living room. my father came to pick me up at noon, we went back to belmont to get my mother, before driving to the church in lexington for the 1pm wedding. my sister was going as well but she drove her own car because she had to leave right after the ceremony.

the first people i saw when i came into the church was yung-hsin and his wife jillian, the guestbook attendants, which meant they'd have to miss the wedding while everyone else was inside the altar room. we had to wear these pink silk flowers since we're members of the bride's family. it was the wedding of liwen, who is my grand uncle's daughter (which makes her my aunt), to tyrone, whom she met in church. this was also my first protestant service, having already been to catholic and jewish weddings. the thing i found about this particular service (not sure if it's the same for all protestant weddings) was how fast it was. there wasn't any of the "peace be with you" handshakes and numerous chanted replies over what the priest says as there is in catholic service, a lot less ceremony, a little more "let's get to the point of why we're here." they had an aisle runner as well, and after they exchanged vows and rings, they lit a unity candle. my family sat in the third row, very good seats. i started to get worried, not over the wedding, but over the fact that i didn't unplug the iron (i did turn it off though). i was also the only guy not wearing a suit jacket. it was in the car, but i didn't wear it because it was 90 degrees outside (however, inside the church itself there was good air conditioning). the priest surprised me when he talked about "super relationships" and said marriage isn't just about "great sex." (yung-hsin, who i talked to later, even though he didn't actually see the ceremony, heard the part where the part priest spoke about sex). one of yung-hsin's younger brother had a moustache (i called him "señor moustachio"), which could possibly inspire me to forgo my own goatee and go with a moustache look. from the corner of my eye i noticed that my mother was crying during the ceremony.


live music,

unity candle

"money shot"


wedding photos

after the ceremony, there was a reception with chinese pastries (not to be confused with the actual reception dinner later in the evening). i had a small custard pie, my first food of the day. there was also some entertainment in the form of a barbershop quartet (in which the groom tyrone is a member), but my family decided to leave before any of that craziness could ensue. my sister took off for her child care gig while my parents came over to my place in cambridge to wait out the day before the actual reception started.

we went to go pick up my 2nd aunt at the cafe before arriving in chinatown at 6pm. i've been to china pearl many times (longtime readers will know this to be an understatement), but i've never been there for a function, and i didn't even realized they served anything else other than dim sum. the wedding party rented out the entire 3rd floor. on the 2nd floor, a different party was having their wedding. i sat at a different table than my parents: apparently i got assigned to the young christian singles table. i didn't know anyone there, but my first friend was a guy named calvin who after a few minutes of conversation gave himself away when he asked, "what church do you go to?" calvin apparently knew everyone else at the table (through church): jeff, who was balding and didn't seem happy to be at the wedding, howard, the funny (grrr, competition) center-of-attention av geek who wasn't at our table most of the night because he was busy trying to setup the end-of-the-evening laptop-based slideshow, california joanne who'll soon go back to the west coast, smiling steve, who laughed at all the jokes, hannah, a GI (that's doctor talk for someone who specializes in gastro-intestinal), hepa (yung-hsin's younger brother, "hepa" is his nickname, short for "hepatitis"), and hepa's girlfriend sou. there were two empty seats next to me which i was very happy to find out were reserved for yung-hsin and jillian. the seats that we had were obstructed view seats, right behind a pillar, so as the evening progressed and there was activity in the center of the dining hall, we could only hear what was going on.


two brothers

me, yung-hsin,

the food was okay (although bear in mind i set the bar pretty high when it comes to food), though not enough of it to go around because the table i sat at was at full capacity (i pretty much had to sit with my elbows nearly touching). two dishes were really good though: the crunchy fried spareribs and the twin lobsters. yung-hsin and i both had two ribs, and eyed neighboring tables to see if we could get some more. as for the lobster, though normally i'm not a big lobster fan, when it's prepared with a special sauce and cut into pieces, i can eat a lot of it.

fortunately the dining hall was small enough so that no dancing could take place. nothing makes me, a non-dancer, feel more awkward, than when i see others cutting the rug while i sulk in the corner cursing myself for never learning how to get footloose. they had a game though, a take-off on the newlywed game. besides liwen and tyrone, they got two other newlyweds to play in the game. i took the opportunity to use the bathroom and wander around the dining hall taking photos. they also did this thing where the newlywed would visit each table to get photos taken, afterwards a few select tables gave out some marriage advice or told a funny anecdote about the couple. our table, lucky 13, was spared the spotlight.

the highlight of the evening had to be towards the end, when the computer slideshow was finally projected onto two pull down screens on either side of the room. the first section was just photos of liwen and tyrone together with "how sweet it is to be loved by you" playing in the background. the second section was just photos of families and friends, with "circle of friends" as the background music. though i sort of openly mocked the slideshow, after seeing it, it's actually a very good idea, sort of encapsulate their whole relationship. i envied their large extended network of friends and families, yet at the same time i was happy to see how important photos are in capturing memories, and reaffirmed by pledge to taking amazingly embarassing photos of my own friends and families. the third and final part of the slideshow was the "in memory" section, no music, of the people who've died in recent years. parents, grandparents, friends, with the final photo being that of MY OWN FAMILY, an old snapshot from 1992 (which meant i was unrecognizeable). i saw it and laughed, only to realize that everyone else was dead serious. obviously a mix-up which only i could see the humor in. hannah, who sat next to me, said with great concern, "you mean that whole family died? that's so sad." "HANNAH, THAT'S MY FAMILY! I'M STILL HERE!" i told her, "TOUCH ME! I'M NOT A GHOST!"

after the slideshow (10:30), everyone started to head out. the restaurant was starting to close anyway, and apparently they had turned off the air conditioning to quickly usher the remaining guests out so they can clean up. we said good bye to liwen and tyrone one last time before leaving. yung-hsin said to me, "good bye my dead friend," and i laughed and left. driving home, we bumped into yung-hsin's family one more time as they walked to their car. i waved the complimentary porcelain wedding chopsticks we received as gifts before disappearing into the night.

frank sinatra - love and marriage

because i need to go to sleep, here's a preview:

at the wedding ceremony in lexington:

the reception later at china pearl in chinatown:

frank sinatra - love and marriage