Planning A Wedding Gatecrash
Wedding ceremonies are undoubtedly a big deal — most people even see them as the best day of their lives. This is why when you’re given the task of a bridesmaid, ensuring that everything goes smoothly for the bride should be your top priority.
And one of a bridesmaid’s main duties? Planning the wedding gatecrash, aka a traditional Chinese wedding game before the main ceremony. Generally, the groom and groomsmen have to do a series of tasks planned by the bridesmaids to test the groom’s determination to marry his wife.
While it may seem simple at first glance, the truth is, there’s a lot of planning involved in creating the perfect wedding gatecrash. Here’s a detailed guide to planning a gatecrash, including hosting games, collecting angbaos and helping out with the traditional tea ceremony.
Disclaimer: Not every wedding gatecrash is the same, and many factors also depend on the bride’s preferences.
1. Decide on the number of gatecrash games and the order
Before you go into any actual game planning, the very first step should be deciding on the number of games, as well as the order. The number of games may depend on the number of groomsmen, since you can’t have games that require a lot of manpower if there aren’t many of them.
Remember that your goal isn’t to let them win too easily either — you can even arrange the games according to an increasing difficulty for a tougher challenge. As quoted by Britney Spears, this is your chance to tell the groomsmen that if they want the groom to get to his wife ASAP, “you better work, b*tch.”
For reference, most bridesmaids tend to plan around four to five games.
2. Consider traditionally popular games
Suan Tian Ku La game, where the groomsmen have to consume food or drinks in four different flavours of sour, sweet, bitter and spicy
Here comes the fun part — deciding on what games to play. While you can pretty much go wild with your imagination, it can be fun to include traditionally popular games as well. Some examples include games related to the bride, such as identifying her childhood pictures, or 酸甜苦辣 (suan tian ku la), which translates to sour, sweet, bitter and spicy.
Feel free to create your own modern twist to these traditional games, or come up with completely new ideas to give the groomsmen a hard time. All in good fun, of course.
3. Check if the groomsmen are comfortable with the games
It’s understandable for the games to be kept a secret until the big day, but it’s still important to ensure that the groomsmen are comfortable with playing them. Especially if there are games that require consuming food, ensure that nobody has any allergies to the ingredients.
You also don’t want to go overboard and push boundaries too far. Each game should be safely tested out before the actual day.
Feel free to check in with the bride about how comfortable her parents and relatives are too, since they will be at the house to witness everything unfold.
4. Purchase and prepare game logistics in advance
Head’s up: chances are, you’ll be busy AF on the actual day. This means that you have to purchase and prepare all the game logistics at least a few days before. Plus, wedding gatecrashes usually start very early in the morning, as the wedding ceremony will take place later in the day.
Pro tip: Make sure each item can fit through the gate! The gate should stay closed during the games to keep the groomsmen out until they complete them.
5. Designate a role for each bridesmaid
Okay ladies, now let’s get in formation. Before the actual day, designate a specific role for each bridesmaid, such as who will host the games, prepare the next game, and collect the angbaos from the groomsmen.
This is to ensure that the games will run smoothly and everyone has a given task to focus on. Some may assign one bridesmaid to one game station too, but ultimately, it’s all up to you and your besties to decide.
On the big day
1. Welcome the groomsmen with excitement
Prepare your game face on, because right from the early hours of the morning, the groomsmen will come knocking on the door and demanding to be let in. It sounds kind of barbaric to be honest, but it’s also funny to watch and tease the men through the gate.
Match their energy by welcoming the groomsmen with just as much excitement. And of course, guard the gate with your life. We’re not letting these men in without a little suffering.
2. Give clear and concise instructions for each game
Sometimes, the games that you’ve planned out might be more complicated than it seems IRL. Wedding gatecrashes tend to be very noisy, so the proper game mechanics may be misinterpreted amidst the chaos.
To save time on relentlessly explaining, print out a set of instructions beforehand for the groomsmen to easily refer to. Set them as straightforward and easy to understand as possible. If it helps, you can even include pictures and diagrams.
3. Ensure that the games don’t take too long
Wedding gatecrash games shouldn’t take up too much time either, since there’s still the tea ceremony, photo taking and wedding ceremony to attend afterwards. Most bridesmaids stick to the games being around 30 minutes to an hour long.
Set a strict cut off timing beforehand and stick to it, so you can rush the games or even cut them short if necessary.
4. Set penalties for the games
One way to ensure that the games don’t run overtime is to set penalties for the groomsmen if they fail to complete the game. Penalties can range from doing push ups to giving the bridesmaids angbaos for every game lost.
There’s no point repeating the same game too many times, so might as well enjoy setting punishments however you want.
5. Demand for more angbaos
You may have heard your parents chastising that opening angbaos in front of the person who gave them to you is considered rude. Not to worry — in wedding gatecrashes, this rule doesn’t apply.
Go ahead and milk the groomsmen as much as you can — they should already be equipped with angbaos like battle ammos. You’re allowed to open the angbao on the spot and demand for more if you deem it too little. After all, “bribing” the bridesmaids is one common way for the groomsmen to gain entry into the bride’s home.
Groomsmen will often prepare angbaos that range from $8 to as big as $188 or more. If you ask me, I think every bridesmaid should treat themselves to at least an angbao each before the groomsmen are allowed to enter.
1. Watch the bride unveiling
Once the games are done and the groomsmen are allowed in, it’s time to bring them in and lead the groom to the bride. Here, he will lift up her veil and give her a sweet kiss. Both the bridesmaids and groomsmen will standby to help out with guiding the guests and taking photos together.
2. Help out with the tea ceremony
Next, it’s time for the tea ceremony. FYI, the tea ceremony is a Chinese tradition where the bride and groom will serve tea to their respective family members. In exchange, the couple will receive well wishes and angbaos.
Most of the time, there will be someone hired to prepare the traditional tea and recite the phrases of luck, wealth, fortune and more. But in some cases, a bridesmaid who is knowledgeable in this area will be tasked to do it instead.
3. Collect angbaos from relatives
Since the bride’s relatives will be giving her angbaos during the tea ceremony, bridesmaids can help to collect them. It’s also because chances are, the bride is too busy to keep track and store them in a safe place.
Collecting angbaos may seem like just a small task, but it goes a long way in keeping everything neat and organised for the couple.
4. Prepare to go to the next location
Alas, you’ve come to the end of the wedding gatecrash and tea ceremony. It’s now time to prepare to go to the next location, be it a wedding lunch or a dinner party. On the way to the bridal car, the bride will sometimes be sheltered by a red umbrella held by her father to ward off negative elements.
Bridesmaids will normally witness this event, and some traditional families will require the bride to throw a red foldable fan out of the window. A bridesmaid will then have to pick it up as the car leaves.
This Wedding Gatecrash Guide Is For Bridesmaids Planning A Memorable Wedding Day
Chaotic fun and free angbaos aside, there’s a lot of planning that goes into organising a successful wedding gatecrash. As bridesmaids, it’s your duty to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible, so that everyone can have a good laugh together before the wedding ceremony takes place.
For a more detailed guide on bridesmaids’ tasks, check out this guide to being a bridesmaid, from duties to planning hen parties.