SEGAMAT, Malaysia - In a scene harking back to a Chinese period drama, a Malaysian woman married her American husband in full traditional regalia.
The wedding ceremony began at around 10am yesterday with the groom, taekwondo centre owner Jonathan Hardwick, 32, walking some 200m to fetch the blushing bride from her house with a wooden sedan chair.
Seated on the sedan chair borne by four people, the bride, manager Chelsia Phang, 27, - dressed in red, ancient-style robes with glittering headgear - was carried to her husband.
As part of the ritual, the couple later performed a rice wine drinking ceremony for Phang's parents, who were also in traditional garb, and bowed before her ancestors' altar.
The wedding saw the tiny village of Kampung Baru Sungai Karas, some 3km away from Labis here, coming alive with the sounds of gong and merriment.
Curious villagers and relatives gathered to watch the ceremony, which ended with the newlyweds being paraded around the whole village in the sedan chair.
At one point, Hardwick was even seen carrying his bride on his back to symbolise her journey to her new home with her husband.
Phang, who was born in the United States after her parents moved there 33 years ago, said she had always dreamed of having an ancient Chinese style wedding.
"My family and I return to our village here once a year and I am absolutely in love with our traditional house here so I had the idea of conducting the wedding with this theme.
"When I told my mother about the idea, at first she thought I was joking but I was really serious about it," she said after the ceremony here.
The couple, who had held a Western style reception in the United States on Sept 12, insisted on having the ancient-style wedding in Segamat.
She said the RM2,000 (S$655) sedan chair was made by her uncles and aunts, adding that they spent around RM30,000 for the entire ceremony.
"I was very involved in the planning and my husband just learnt as we went along, but I am extremely excited and happy that my wish was fulfilled," said Phang.