The Perfect Finnish-Chinese Wedding Part 2

After our Chinese wedding it was time to head to the Ascott to get the party started! As we weren’t sure if our old house would be ready before the wedding day, we had no other choice than look for other party venues. After a few stressful days of hunting the place, I remember that luxurious apartment hotel right next to Taikoohui shopping mall. In the end it was a great choice for the Finnish part of our wedding!

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So right when our Chinese wedding banquet ended, we rushed back home to gather the things and take off my beautiful, but movement-restricted qipao.Me, my family, my bridesmaids, the photographer and the make-up artist head to the Ascott first to get everything ready for the guests. We had about 140 guests at the banquet, but the evening party was for about 30 to 35 closest friends and family.

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Something borrowed. My bridesmaid Ellen was generous to lend me her beautiful set of pearl earrings and a necklace. I think it fit perfectly with my white wedding gown.

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After preparing the two bedroom and a living room apartment for the party, my make-up artist helped me to fix my make-up, create a new hairstyle that matched my veil and dressed me to my dream dress. Originally I had wanted to go with something super cheap, but when I started dress shopping I realized that dirt cheap doesn’t go hand in hand with “the wedding gown of my dreams”. Of course at 2100RMB is was still so much cheaper than would have been in Finland. And custom-made!

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I didn’t know if I wanted to wear the veil before the time actually came. Thought it would be a bit silly, but actually it was the dot on top of the i like we say in Finland, the final touch to my look.

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On that afternoon I was so grateful that I was having a Chinese-Finnish wedding, for a more superficial reason, I got to wear two outfits! I didn’t have to choose between to amazing options, but could have both instead! I loved the transformation from the traditional Chinese look to the modern but classy bride for the party.

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My husband hadn’t seen my wedding gown before, it was very important for me to surprise him two times in one day with both of the dresses. So he and the guests waited for me at the lobby…

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I have multiple photos and a video clip of this moment when Alan is eagerly waiting for me. My mom said that he was like a kid in the candy store!

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I was quite nervous my self too! Even though we had already been married few months and the Chinese wedding banquet was already over, I still felt butterflies in my stomach when I slowly walked towards my husband.

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I hope someone would have told me to fix the ribbon!

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After group photos we all went upstairs and started the party with toasting sparkling wine and non-alcohol pear drink from Ikea.

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Once again me and Alan drank our “first drink” together.

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Showing off the custom-made stickers I ordered from Taobao. I still have many left and don’t know what to do with them.

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Then it was time to eat! I ordered the food from Perry’s, which is the place where I met my husband and they gladly agreed to do it. I was so worried that guests would go hungry that I ended up ordering way too much food.

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In Finland it’s not a real wedding without some wedding games and activities! One of the classic ones is the shoe game where the couple will hear statements like “Cooks the best food” or “The smartest one” and will answer by holding up the right shoe. Alan’s shoe represents him and my shoe represents me.

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Here Alan is wondering what to answer to the statement “Who has the wackiest family”!

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In the end we agreed on most of the questions! Which according to my little sister, maid-in-honor, means a peaceful marriage.

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Cutting the wedding cake is an important tradition as well. The one who stomps the ground first while cutting the cake, is also the one who decides the “placement of the bookshelf” aka is the decision maker in the house. On the right you can see my sister holding my dress in order to allow me to get my foot ready. In the end my sweet hubby very clearly waited a second to let me stomp my foot first.

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Blueberry cheesecake continued the blue-Finnish theme.

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The first dance is an important part of the Finnish wedding even though many couples, including as, choose not to waltz it anymore. For our song I had chosen a popular Finnish first dance song to be played, the name of the song is I love you.

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Before the song was over something started to happen! Alan had no idea that the Finnish tradition includes stealing of the bride!

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In order to get his bride back, the groom has to complete tasks assigned by the robbers. The robbers said that they have four different tasks for Alan to solve before I could be returned.

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First of all, a man should be brave. Brave enough to eat a Finnish candy called the Tyrkisk Peber.

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Secondly, a man should be strong. What the robbers didn’t know is that Alan started going to the gym five months before our wedding.

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Thirdly, a man should be wise and intelligent. Smart enough to read a Finnish sentence: Minä rakastan sinua eniten koko maailmassa. (I love you the most in the whole wide world)

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And finally the most important quality of a man, he should be loving. In this task Alan had to share five different reasons for choosing and loving me. And I gotta tell you, those reasons came like from the pharmacy’s shelf (Finnish saying), he needed no time at all to consider his answers.  I got my final confirmation that I really married the best man possible!

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After all the tasks successfully the robbers asked me if I wanted to go back to Alan and of course I wanted!

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All the games had now ended and it was time to dance! Alan danced with my mom, his mom and his aunt. I asked Alan’s dad for a dance, but when he smilingly refused, I got to dance with his uncle instead. That was inter-cultural bonding at it’s best, seeing Alan’s family to enjoy our Finnish party so much that they stayed later they had planned!

We even had to change to the party songs to get the kids and the old folks to head home. My sister was in charge of the music and we heard some unforgettable classics from the 90’s, flavored with some Finnish songs as well. I have never seen my family or friends dancing so wildly before!

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YMCA is of course a must for every party as it’s easy dance moves get everybody on the dance floor!

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At midnight our 11-hour wedding spectacle had come to an end. But that was just the beginning of our story together.

To be continued…

p.s. If you have enjoyed the Studying Chinese posts in my blog, you can vote for me at the Top 100 Language Learning Blogs 2014 competition. Thank you! (Find me by my name Sara Jaaksola)

  • Anna Zech

    Amazing how you managed to combine chinese and finish wedding tradition :) The dress is beautiful!

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    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    I really love my dress :) Not sure what to do with it now though. Have thought about selling it, but on the other hand it’s hard to let go of it.

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  • chinaelevatorstories

    We do have the same traditions you mentioned above in Austria (the bride stealing, the cutting of the wedding cake, the waltz). My husband can’t dance waltz and was a bit too shy to put himself out there, so we only did the wedding cake cutting. We had a few other games, but nothing that would have been too embarrassing for my husband (since our wedding was in Austria, he hardly knew anyone).

    The dress is really affordable compared to what you’d often pay in Europe (even borrowing a dress can be much more expensive than that).

    Kudos to planning the wedding so well, you look really happy!

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    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    In Finland those games are already seen by everyone and considered bit boring already, but for our international guests it was something fresh.

    And my husband actually loves the spotlight much more than be, being an extrovert and all.

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  • T

    You guys look so happy! Again, congratulations! (And I like your shoes!)

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    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Thank you :)

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  • Ville

    Very interesting to read and see the photos! Thanks for sharing, Sara! You guys look really good! :)

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    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Thank you Ville :)

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  • My wife bought also her dress from China as it is so much cheaper with nearly the same quality!

    Btw, we had many of those games also at our wedding in Finland (such as the shoe raising)

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    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Dresses in Finland are just so expensive. I saw some bridesmaid dresses there in January and the prices were about 150eur, with made in China tags! Those would be like 150 rmb here.

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  • T

    The dress really is amazing, and it’s hard to believe it cost only RMB 2100. The wedding boutique should think about catering to customers in developed markets, if it isn’t doing that already.

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    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    I think this style would sell very well in Finland and perhaps in other Western countries as well. Lace and mermaid style are very popular at the moment. For a moment I even thought about getting to the business my self! :)

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  • Alva

    We also have things in common with Finnish and Austrian weddings. We danced the waltz (even though we didn’t want to), we did wedding cake cutting also in Spain. In Spain is a tradition to wear something new, something blue and something borrowed so you nailed it with the pearls and the blue ribbon ;)
    We didn’t buy a white wedding gown, just a red qipao for our Chinese wedding.
    In Spain we organized a 20 something people small dinner. It included snacks under a traditional house from my province, with celtic music and cider plus snacks (tortilla, croquetas…). Afterwards we head to a nice dinner with complex but nice dishes and lots of dancing till the morning.
    It was something very informal and I only wore a A shaped white short dress and all very normal.

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    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Your wedding sounds very sweet and intimate :)

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  • ordinary malaysian

    What a happy wedding party! You guys look so good for each other. And your wedding gown with the veil seem just so right too. Didn’t know about stealing the bride part! Must be scary! haha. Congrats!

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    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    It really was a surprise for Alan and the Chinese guests, a funny surprise luckily.

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  • www.theloveblender.com

    What a lovely wedding! It can be tricky to find the right balance between the two culture when dealing with a intercultural wedding, but it seems like you guys did a great job. I may also take some cues from you guys when my time comes! And what a pretty dress!

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    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Thank you, it really was worth all the time and effort.

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    Ellen Reply:

    To be honest, I admire, how well Sara managed preparations and the double wedding. Her ideas of combining the traditions were awesome. I’m not sure, what the Chinese thought of your party, but Westerners certainly loved it! :D
    Me as a rather traditional person, I thought it is good to strictly stick to the traditions of the man, because after all, I am marrying into his family and his culture. But then when I saw Sara’s wedding, I understood that cultures and nations can always exist together… in peace and harmony ^_^

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    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Me as a feminist would never ever only stick to the traditions of the man ;) Alan’s parents were planning on just “stopping by”, but in the end they stayed for four hours and much later than anyone thought! I’ll take that as a success :)

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  • Hurjasti onnea teille, häät, uusi koti, maisterin opinnot..Olette varmaan olleet aika kiireisiä :) Näytät kaikissa kuvissa todella kauniilta, ja tuo häämekko on upea! Minullakin oli
    kriteerinä pitsimekko, ja etsiessämme Suzhoun mooonista
    häämekkokaupoista löysimme vain 2 kelpoa pitsimekkoa sieltä satojen
    joukosta :D Selvästikin kiiltävät kankaat ja runsaat
    Disneyprinsessamekot ovat enemmän muodissa..
    Hyi, en ole koskaan suostunut syömään turkinpippureita, selvästikin mies uhrautui puolestasi :D

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    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Kiitos kiitos :) Joo nuo kimaltavat prinsessa mekot ovat enemman paikallisten tyttojen mieleen. Mita enemman saihketta niin sita parempi nayttaa olevan muoti.

    Itseasiassa en itsekaan syo turkin pippureita tai edes salmiakkia, niin enpa tieda miten olisin selviytynyt tehtavasta :D

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  • bfiles

    I stumbled across your blog 2 years ago as I prepared to move to GZ, and now came back to see you are married! How wonderful! Wishing you all the happiness in the world.

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    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Thank you so much!

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  • Anabel Bulgarin Meza

    You look so lovely and beautiful in your white gown Sara and your husband does too. CONGRRATULATIONS ONCE AGAIN

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    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Thank you so much :)

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  • PrincessRune

    Aw, this was so touching :)

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