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Chris and Helena had a tea ceremony and pig roast the day before they got married. This is one of many ways they blended Chinese and American traditions into their ceremony.
In a tea ceremony, the bride and groom serve tea to their parents and relatives to give respect and thanks for raising them. The parents and relatives will take turn sitting in chairs, while the bride and groom kneel to serve the tea. Every step of the ceremony is significant and happens in a particular order. It was fun to see Chris's family take part in the tradition.
In return, the newlyweds receive lucky red envelopes (“lai see,” which means “lucky”) stuffed with money or jewelry. The helpers, who are usually women blessed with a happy marriage or wealth and chosen by the fortune teller or bride’s mother, also get lucky red envelopes stuffed with money from those being served. These envelopes are placed on the platter which holds the teacups.
In addition to this ceremony steeped in Chinese history, Helena's brother, who is a professional martial artist and stunt man who has appeared in movies like Blade, gave a nunchuck lesson to the bridal party! It was pretty amazing.