Monthly archives: February 2015

A Chinese Village Wedding

I have been lucky enough to travel and do some amazing destination and international weddings. Over the next few weeks, I would like to share a few of them with you. I lived in China for 4 years and spent lots of time documenting China and her beautiful people. The wedding I want to share today is a Chinese village wedding I photographed.

I was honored when I was invited to shoot a traditional Yi wedding by a friend. This wedding took place in Yunnan province about 4 hour bus ride from Kunming (Yunnan’s capital) and a 2hr very uncomfortable bumpy bus ride and then truck ride into the village. In Yunnan there are 26 different minority groups that have their own language, traditions and culture. The Yi people are know for their beautiful bead work which you will see in the photographs. A mother will start hand beading her daughter’s future wedding headdress when the girl is only a few years old.

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This first images of the bride is one of my favorites because her excitement and beauty shine through. I also love it because the large image in the background is the Chinese symbol for “double happiness” and is only used for weddings. Her headdress and outfit are all hand beaded and sewn by her mother. That is why mothers start beading their daughter’s wedding outfits many years in advance.

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In China, the highlight of a Chinese wedding is the banquet. The whole village will be invited and most of the dishes that are served will be meat dishes. Meat is expensive and typically reserved for big celebrations such as weddings and Chinese New Years. The wedding party spends most of the day greeting and toasting guests. Before guests are allowed into the family’s home (this is the family’s courtyard outside their house), they have to take a shot of rice alcohol. It is very strong and potent.

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In this image the wedding party is greeting guests by toasting them with rice alcohol and giving them cigarettes as party gifts.

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The happy bride and groom.

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The handsome groom.

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The village enjoying the banquet meal.

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A bridesmaid.

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A guest  preparing to leave for the wedding.

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A popular trend in China is to switch from their traditional wedding clothes and wear a western wedding dress for photographs. The Bride and groom are pictured here with some of the groom’s villagers. I love the juxtaposition.

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The newlyweds.