Monday, July 12, 2010

Wedding Chaperon @ Dai Kam Jie

Adapted from this website:

Most Chinese people would have been familiar with the title, and almost every traditional Chinese wedding, and a few contemporary ones, would need them to be there. Theirs is a profession that had its roots tracing back to the old days of ancient China. The ‘Dai Kam Jie’, known as ‘Xiniang’ in certain parts of China, or, in English, the wedding chaperone.

Traditionally, the ‘Dai Kam Jie’ is a female either hired by the bride’s family, or is a relative of the bride’s side, who is considered an ‘auspicious’ lady (with living spouse and children). Nowadays, the ‘Dai Kam Jie’, also known as wedding or chaperone, is a professional practice, where the practitioners have to achieve a certain level of competency in their skills and knowledge before they could qualify to handle an actual wedding ceremony. Knowledge of the trade is usually passed down from mentors to apprentices, though nowadays, interested individuals can find such courses offered and taught by professionals as well. While the role of the wedding chaperon had always been for women, there are now men working in the profession as well, with some who are as well-known and skilled as their female counterparts. They are commonly referred to as ‘Dai Kam Gong’ or ‘Dai Kam Kor’.

There are certain criteria that one needs to fulfill as a wedding chaperone:
  1. Pleasant appearance
  2. Quick thinking and observant
  3. Good with speech
  4. Well-versed in traditions, ceremonies and important customs

Their Roles and Tasks

In a contemporary wedding, the role of a wedding chaperone can extend to being the emcee, host, as well as entertainers of the event. It actually doesn’t stray far from the old traditional roles of the chaperone, which includes keeping up the merry atmosphere and interacting with guests.

However, the most important part of a wedding chaperone is to guide the couple through all the traditional customary ceremonies and rituals, particularly during the day of the wedding. Here are some parts of a wedding that requires the help of a wedding chaperon:

  • Betrothal Ceremony

- Where he or she will help prepare the items of significance for the exchange of gifts.

  • Dowry

- He or she will arrange for the time and date for the meeting and exchange, plus preparing the necessary items.

  • Installing the Bridal Bed
  • Initiating the Hair-Dressing Ritual for the Bride
  • Prepare all the necessary items for the wedding ritual

- The incense and candles for the prayers

- The tea for the Tea-Serving ceremony

- Other symbolic or necessary items important for the wedding ceremony

  • Assisting the bride during her journey to the groom’s house
  • Interacting with the guests, especially during the banquet

Aside from the above, the wedding chaperon’s gift of speech is also one of the important reasons to hire them. Throughout the ceremony, the wedding chaperon will be saying auspicious words and greetings, and if there is any uneventful happening, or a guest who came up with a less-auspicious word, it will be up to the chaperon to ‘save the day’ with another auspicious remark, while keeping the merry mood of the wedding intact.

Originally, we didn't have any plans to hire a Dai Kam Jie. Sigh I actually wanted it from the start but hubby sad it's very old fashioned and didn't wanna waste the money to hire some aunty to talk.

During the luncheon, both our parents kept asking for the reason for us not hiring the Dai Kam Jie. Hubby sneaked away and left me alone to handle them. After all the pressure, we told them that we will "look into the matter".

After discussion the next day with hubby, we both agreed to get one. Now, with the time constrained and lack of resources, I really have no lead on where to start.

So I drew up 2 course of action:
a) Get the contact of the Dai Kam Jie that my cousin brother hired for his wedding last year
b) Search online, especially the website

Plan A was the shortest but it didn't work. The Dai Kam Jie has already been booked for the date that I want. So I have only Plan B. Searched throught the website and I found many contacts which I called desperately, but they were all taken. Some of the Dai Kam Jie I've called were Xin Jie, Wendy, Fang Jie and many others. I even found this website that has a full list.

So, I seek for their help in recommending their friends who work in the same line. In less than 10 minutes, I received a call and she introduced herself as Yuk Kum. She told me that she is available and her service for the tea ceremony is RM390.00. So0 relief that I found a solution and an available Dai Kam Jie, I booked her immediately. The fee she charged was reasonable as I've seen some going for RM600++

If you ask me if her service is good and if it is recommended, I really have no idea. It is a gamble we have to take since this is so last minute.

*Fingers crossed* Everything will turn out just fine!


Anonymous said...

A friend of mine engaged a male wedding chaperon...who also appeared to be like a ladies' man. Aunties and tai-tais would love to hang out with him.

Michelle Y said...

@Mei Teng
Really?! My mum wanted a male chaperon, but dad wanted a female. I've only seen female chaperon haha! I hope this one I've engaged will be better than expected! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

hi.. may i ask. how was your dai kam jie?
good? not good? recommended? not recommended? funny or not?

Anonymous said...

HI ,
Can i have the contact number of the dai kam jie ? how was her performance ?

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