Traditionally, Chinese weddings had to follow complicated etiquette said to bring good luck to the couple. The customs were so complicated that they required a professional tai-kum to help with the ceremony. Tai-kums are women who guide a couple through every stage of their wedding. Centuries ago, part of their job would be to inform a couple about the basics of sex. The first written record of a tai-kum dates back to 1100. Many couples in Hong Kong still follow Chinese traditions and the profession of the tai-kum survives, albeit modified to fit modern customs. Sharon Au Wai-fong is one of the city's most famous tai-kums. She calls herself a modern tai-kum and takes on additional roles such as wedding planner, counsellor and MC. 'People don't want complications but they still believe that traditional customs bring luck,' Ms Au says. According to tradition, the first stage of the wedding is the Chinese engagement. The groom presents the bride with gift boxes filled with dried seafood, wine, cakes, fruit, cash and other lucky symbols of affluence. Accepting the gifts means that the bride accepts the marriage. 'Instead of the boxes, we now prepare two red packets,' says Ms Au. The packets are filled with an amount of cash already agreed on by both families. The day before the wedding, two ceremonies are led by the tai-kum. The first is a bed ceremony, in which a 'lucky' woman - a family member, friend or even a stranger but someone who has a healthy husband, son(s) and daughter(s) - makes the bridal bed and places lucky objects on it. A boy and a girl jump on the bed so that, according to myth, the couple will soon have babies. The bed will be left untouched until the wedding day. This is followed by a hair-combing ceremony. First, the bride and the groom bathe and put on new clothes. Then the lucky woman combs their hair four times while reciting a poem of good wishes. The two ceremonies symbolise the adulthood of the couple. On the wedding day, the groom collects the bride at her home. The tai-kum shields the bride with a red umbrella to protect her from evil spirits. The tai-kum also throws rice into the air so that the 'chicken ghost', who according to Chinese folklore is jealous of brides, will eat the rice instead of pecking the bride. On arrival at the groom's home, the couple bow to the heavens and Earth, ancestors, the groom's parents and to each other. They then serve tea to the groom's elders. In the past, the bride had to return to her family three days after the wedding with her husband. They brought along gifts and most importantly a roast pig. The offering of a roast pig by the groom's family proved that the bride was still a virgin before the wedding. 'But now many couples return on the same day, before theoretically spending the first night together,' Ms Au says. 'People no longer care about virginity as many couples are already living together before the wedding. 'Some couples still think that the wedding is only complete by going through the Chinese customs, while many others do it simply because it is fun,' she says.