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Chinese-impaired? Here are 14 well-wishers for you to impress the newly-engaged or newly-wed couple

January 16, 2017

"Are you Malay/Indonesian/Vietnamese/Thai/Cambodian etc?"
 
Travelling overseas, I have had many people trying to guess my nationality, and I've gotten every single ASEAN country except for my actual home town, Singapore. 
 
It's alright, because based on appearances alone, it can be hard to guess where people are from especially those whose ancestors have constantly been crossing the borders in search of a better life. 
 
BUT, I get those same questions in Singapore. Maybe it's my dark skin thanks to marching under the unforgiving 3pm sun, but I think my lack of Mandarin fluency played a huge role. Thankfully I am much better now as I pick up phrases and terms we have to use all the time to guide the elderly along in weddings, but kids if you are reading this, having no one to practice with at home is not as excuse. Study hard now or regret having to pick up the pieces later. 
 
Anyway, for those of you who are already in the same shoes as me and need a cheatsheet for your friend's or relative's wedding, here are a few phrases for you to impress others with: 
 
1) Firstly, start off with a Chinese congratulations! Wish them  恭喜 (Gongxi)...
 
你们订婚 (Nǐ men dìng hūn) for getting engaged

OR
 
喜结连理 (Xǐ jié lián lǐ) for tying the knot 
 
2) Next, start your phrase with "I wish you" 祝你们 (Zhù nǐ men)....
  1. 早生贵子 (zǎo shēng guì zǐ): May you soon give birth to a son. Nowadays I would just use it to wish the couple would have a child, regardless of gender, soon.

  2. 永结同心 (yǒng jié tóng xīn): May you forever be of one mind and heart

  3. 百年好合 (bǎi nián hǎo hé): May you have a harmonious union that lasts one hundred years. Hey that's longer than most of our lives.

  4. 互敬互爱 (hù jìng hù ài): May you have mutual love and respect.

  5. 白头偕老 (bái tóu xié lǎo): May you live together until your hair turns white with old age. 

  6. 举案齐眉 (jǔ àn qí méi): May you have harmonious marital relations

  7. 鹣蝶情深 (Jiān dié qíng shēn): May you always be deeply in love forever 

  8. 永结连理 (Yǒng jié lián lǐ): May you always be together and unseperable 

  9. 琴瑟合鸣 (Qín sè hé míng): May you always live in harmony 

  10. 如鼓琴瑟 (Rú gǔ qínsè): May you always live in harmony (I guess this is a challenge for everyone...hence the two phrases)

  11. 老偕头白(lǎo xié tóu bái): May you live a long, happy, and harmonious life. (Here's a third version)

3) Too hard for you? Here's are simpler keywords for the foreign speakers and young children:

  1. 快乐幸福 (Kuài lè xìng fú): Happiness

  2. 甜蜜幸福 (Tián mì xìng fú): Happiness

  3. 一切顺利 (Yī qiè shùn lì): Smooth Journey

 

BONUS: Chinese terms you will definitely need for the wedding

新郎 (xīn láng) is the groom

新娘 (xīn niáng) is the bride

姐妹

兄弟

 

I'll be adding more terms here in the future especially dialects if I come across them. Feel free to comment or send me an email if you have a list you think I should share with others :) If you need a cheatsheet for other occasions, here is an <a href="http://en.bab.la/phrases/personal/best-wishes/english-chinese/">awesome site</a>.

 

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