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Couple's museum wedding celebrates ancient styles

By Lia Zhu in San Francisco | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2016-12-19 13:51

Couple's museum wedding celebrates ancient styles

Chris and Claudia Chuang celebrate Chinese culture and history by holding a Tang Dynasty-style wedding at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRIS CHUANG

Claudia and Chris Chuang entered their wedding ceremony at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco in bright-red, flowing robes. They were followed by similarly attired groomsmen hoisting banners bearing the couple's family names written in Chinese seal script style.

Some guests felt as if they were being transported to ancient China.

The theme of the wedding was meng-hui-han-tang in Chinese, or "dreams back to Han and Tang Dynasties"— a period when the arts were cultivated, cities boomed and when the country was particularly open-minded toward other peoples and cultures of the world.

The Chuangs, born in the US with ties to Hong Kong and Taiwan, consider themselves "the epitome of cosmopolitanism". The recently married couple said that is why they decided on the dynastic wedding.

"Why don't we just go all out and go for the theme?" Chris, a sales professional at a high-tech company in San Francisco said to himself when he started planning the wedding months ago.

They later chose the museum not only for its "majestic halls and regal décor" but really because of "what it represents – the past and the future".

"Surrounded by over 5,000 years of the arts, traditions and culture of our Chinese heritage, we cannot help but be reminded of who we are and where we both come from," Chris said.

The moment they knew the museum was confirmed as the venue, they started thinking how cool and unique it would be to pay homage to their heritage and to incorporate some of the most beautiful elements of Chinese history and culture into their wedding.

First came the outfits.

"We've been to many weddings, like Japanese or Korean weddings, people wear kimonos or hanboks," said Chris. "Many Chinese people wear qipao at weddings, but since we had the wedding at the Asian Art Museum, we should go a little further back in history and wear something special like hanfu."

Hanfu was the historical dress of the Han Chinese for thousands of years until the Qing Dynasty. The clothes are symbolic of cultural and ethical values, such as the expansive cut with board sleeves representing a moral, concordant relationship between nature and human creative power.

But Claudia was hesitant at first. "We'd never done it before. We didn't even know where to get the outfits," she said.

Chris found a supplier in China. The outfits were custom made – the robe for the bride had a phoenix pattern and the one for the groom bore a dragon pattern.

"It's pretty impressive and very unique," said Claudia. "I'm glad we did this."

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