by Eunice Chan
“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood,
but of respect and joy in each other’s life.”
– Richard Bach
As the team hustled and fussed about the delicate yellow dancing ladies and sprigs of blush Chinese peonies in the midst of a nostalgic display of childhood photos, we were drawn to an adorable A Brief History Of booklet that told the story of Jacqueline and Par and everything in between.
Before love blossomed in the picturesque capital of Sweden, home to rustic cobblestone streets and iconic, ochre-coloured buildings; the pair who grew up and lived in different countries 5750 miles apart from each other phased through their seasons each, exploring and honing their individual gifts, unknowingly preparing to be the best version of themselves for each other that shaped these lovebirds to be a dynamic duo.
The demure Malaysian of multiple talents was once an ice-skating coach who pursued her passion in digital media in Stockholm, where she met tall and charming Par in 2015, who founded Worldfavor, a tech startup servicing amongst Sweden’s biggest companies up to date. Sparks kicked off as they discovered many things they had in common, the biggest being music (Fun fact that Jacqueline works for Spotify, which is a Sweden-founded company!). Fast forward four years later in 2018, at a beach in Sandhamn; Par proposed as the beautiful sun set, to which Jackie said yes!
Ti-Chen’s space was transformed into an exquisite oriental atmosphere, injected with Peranakan elements that fused the vibrant tones of the Kebaya tops the women donned on and bright hues that stood out from the red and yellow floral blooms all around. We were blessed to have the most amazing natural light that elevated the entire space, casting a radiant and somewhat magical glow to the already-existing heartwarming ambience where Jacqueline and Par carried out their tea ceremony.
Having family and friends crossing the seas to grace their union, the tea ceremony was definitely a unique and enriching experience for Par, a journey he witnessed and embraced; of honour and of respect.
The Chinese tea ceremony (敬茶) bears a deeper significance than just offering petite teacups of quarter filled tea to the elderly. Though modern times have seen through many weddings cutting back on cultural traditions, nonetheless the quintessential Chinese wedding tea ceremony still remains the most significant tradition for every Chinese couple till present day. The symbolic act of humbling oneself and offering to the elders actually connotes the bride and groom paying their respects and showing a devout expression of gratitude towards their parents and families for all the years of nurturing and love they have received.
Embarking on a new chapter of their own, this tradition also reflects the couple thanking the parents for everything they have sacrificed to raise them up and are ready to begin on a new season themselves. The tea ceremony also symbolizes the bride and groom that officially belong to a new, extended family as they address relatives with titles while serving them tea. In return, parents and relatives offer their blessings by granting favour to the couple in forms of red packets filled with moolah or even precious jewelry as a sign of abundance and prosperity in the new days to come.
We go through tea ceremonies alongside our couples so often, so much so it becomes a task at hand that we seek to coordinate to the smoothest and ensure it is meaningful and memorable for those present. However at times, having it pen down here is a timely reminder for us to take a step back to pause, reflect and give thanks for family.
To be grateful for our pillars of strength, the fortress of our foundations and to smile, laugh and cry together with our amazing couples as they journey through a wonderful time of creating memories with their families and friends, upholding beautiful age-old traditions and truly embracing every ounce of emotion, spirit and purpose behind it all.
To Jacqueline and Par,
Cheers to a blessed new adventure, vi önskar er båda all lycka i världen! :)