Joni Koro and Camille Co will be tying the knot soon. But before they say their "I dos," Camille's Chinese heritage dictated that they be engaged in the traditional way. Hence, the couple had a tinghun or a Chinese engagement here in Manila. Joni, being Finnish, is new to the said tradition. We got the chance to catch up with him where he shared what his tinghun experience was like. Read on!
How did Camille and her family prepare you for your tinghun?
"I think Camille was almost as clueless as me regarding tinghun. Camille hired a coordinator who did a great job in briefing us on the necessities and what to expect. Also, Camille’s sister was familiar with the necessities and was helping a lot to make sure everything went smoothly."
What was the preparation like for you as a couple? Why did you decide to have a Chinese engagement?
"Tinghun was a wish of Camille’s parents as it plays an important role for them. Also, as we will be having a destination wedding, tinghun was a good way to celebrate in Manila.
"Preparation-wise we relied a lot on the coordinator, but Camille and her sister were also using a lot of time scouting for suppliers and making sure everything looks pretty. My role in making tinghun happen was to be there on time, and make sure my parents will fly in as well."
How did you prepare your parents for the ceremony?
"They were asking a lot of questions, but I wasn’t so helpful as I was clueless myself. It was pretty straightforward in the end, the coordinator briefed them on what to do and when before the ceremony started, and was also helping throughout the program. I’m sure they would’ve appreciated a bit more insightful approach from my side but if blind leads blind it will not end well [laughs]."
What about the event itself, what was it like for you? Could you walk us through the entire event?
"It was interesting. I’ve never attended a tinghun before so it was all new to me. Definitely a cultural experience. As far as I know this was a bit trimmed down tinghun compared to the very traditional one. It felt like a wedding day though, as I was forbidden to see Camille before the ceremony.
"We had to coordinate the arrival to the venue so we don’t arrive at the same time, and we had to stay in separate holding rooms. When the ceremony started, we followed the traditional order how to proceed to the venue—first my parents, then me and the boys. After that Camille soon walked backwards and did the three turns to shoo away the bad luck before we were able to see each other. Then the gift exchange and parent intros, afterwhich we should officially be calling in-laws mom and dad. To be followed by lots of eating and even more pictures."
What was the best part of the Tinghun for you?
"The cultural experience, and of course my pretty wife-to-be. It was also fun to see the parents together as they’ve never met in person before."