Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Family Wedding

Wedding Photo, 1923
Originally uploaded by Taking5
My grandaunt's wedding, in 1923.  She was my grandfather's older sister.  My grandfather was the best man and is standing in the back row, on the left. The flower girls are their younger sister (on the right) and another young relative.  The older couple were the sponsors of the bride and groom.

Besides this group photo, there would be photos of just the couple. They would send a small copy of the photo to their friends and relatives. My grandaunt and her husband received quite a few of these photos, including one for a certain Mr and Mrs Lee Chin Koon...

It is difficult to find a description of Eurasian weddings of the 1920s.
But a more contemporary record can be found in "Singapore Eurasians- Memories and Hopes" (ed. Myrna Braga-Blake) :

"Weddings were Saturday morning affairs with the Mass followed by a cake and wine reception. Curry puffs, sausage rolls, cream puffs, sambal and ham sandwiches were also served. The wedding cake was specially ordered and it would, at one time, havecome from "Ah Teng" in Victoria Street and later from "Cona's" in Katong - bakeries famous for sugee cake...
According to my mother, the typical way to ask an engaged couple whether they had set a date: "When is your cake and wine?"
"A wedding gift had to be something useful for the couple. Though a couple often ended up with five irons, six toasters and lots of Pyrex dishes, they were all graciously accepted. It was not considered in good taste to give money, though tooday the more practical acccept monetary gifts... ... it was also expected that the bride wrote a personal note of thanks to everyone. Even today, a little thing like a personal handwritten note of thanks is a hallmark of Eurasian etiquette."
Indeed, our cupboard used to hold numerous tea sets which my mother received as wedding gifts.

"The wedding reception was a joyous occasion for speech making, toasting and good-natured teasing... ... The traditional song at weddings was "Jinggelly Nona" - a dance in which all, both old and young, would join in.
The reception ended with the bridal couple leaving amidst the clouds of confetti thrown at them."
My earliest recollection of a Eurasian wedding was my uncle's.  My cousin and I were the two flower girls walking in front of them into the church bearing our little bouquets proudly, just happy to be in all the photos.  I remember the confetti.  I think we helped to distribute it.  These days, most churches/ restaurants don't encourage confetti because of the mess it leaves behind. 

For more on Eurasian weddings, read here.


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