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David and Xiaoqian's Wedding

It was the week in which Canadians celebrated the 50th anniversary of our flag and David Stewart and his bride Xiaoqian Liu, celebrated their love by getting married on Valentine's Day. It almost felt as though a Divine event planner had been at work in bringing all these things together.

From different cultural backgrounds, their wedding bore testimony to the power of love to overcome obstacles, and the importance of young couples being surrounded by family, community and prayer.

David and Xiaoqian's wedding was both cross cultural, blending Chinese and Canadian traditions; and counter cultural in that the focus was on getting married, not "the wedding," although that was lovely. 

The reception hall in the church basement was decorated with Chinese lanterns, fans, lovely floral table centrepieces and origami birds.


The bride wore red; the traditional bridal colour in China; symbolizing good luck, happiness, vitality, joy and long life. Xiaoqian had ordered her red lace wedding dress and veil on-line; but the Chinese dress with stand up collar; in white delicate floral patterned satin; that she wore to the reception, was made to measure in a tailor's shop in Shanghai that has existed for 1000 years! Xiaoqian had four fittings for the exquisite dress, and at each one adjustments were made to create the perfect fit.

During the ceremony, the bride and groom looked into each other's eyes and seemed to see no one else as they vowed to love and value one another. Later they showed honour to their parents by kneeling and serving tea to them.

In China a daughter leaves the family upon marriage and becomes part of her bridegroom's family, and it is sons who care for their parents in old age. Lily and Xiaoqian have a close emotional bond and Lily's joy in her daughter's wedding was tinged with sorrow at letting her go. But David, in his speech, assured her that he had now become her son, she was not losing her daughter but gaining him. As his words were translated to her, Lily raised her hand in the air with a cry of joy, and then went to the podium and spontaneously made a speech in Chinese, translated by Xiaoqian, in which she expressed her gratitude and happiness. Their small family of two, had been enfolded by the large Stewart clan of 9 siblings, with spouses and many nieces and nephews.

We had the honour of hosting Pastor Daniel Fong and his wife Judy, who traveled from Montreal to officiate at the wedding. We did not know them before they arrived on Friday afternoon, but there were not enough hours during their stay to hear all that we wanted to of the story of their life to this point, in which Pastor Daniel left a career as an engineer in the aerospace industry, to become a pastor. We are now looking forward to another visit in May and to hearing the rest of their story.

After David and Xiaoqian left for  a few days at Niagara Falls, Lily stayed with David's parents, Susan and Ron, until Thursday, when she was leaving for China. On Wednesday, Chinese Lunar New Year's Eve, Lily went shopping with Susan for the ingredients for a New Year's feast of all sorts of special delicacies, which she prepared for the family. David and Xiaoqian came back for the celebration and so that they could take her to the airport the next day. They literally rang in the New Year by ringing a bell high on the roof of the Stewart house.

Friday came and the many celebrations were over at last. But our memories remain, along with new friendships, to be cherished.


Susan said…
This is so wonderful to have, B'a. Thank you so much for your perspective - both from behind the pen and behind the camera. (And for the pies, too. :) )
Susan said…
...And for EVERYTHING else! My goodness, for all of the support you have been (and always are) leading up to this wedding, and coming down after it, you should have been served tea at the ceremony too. :) A thousand thank yous wouldn't begin to do it...
Belinda Burston said…
Thank you Susan! There was so much that you could have told much better, but it makes me happy to know that you treasure this perspective. :) And as for the pies--that was a pleasure too.

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