“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.”
Aliday is like a family day held every year on May 10th. It all started in 2005 as a day to remember the Ali employees’ dedication and spirit to work from home and stop the company coming to a halt when they had to leave their office because of SARS epidemic. It is a celebration to thank our families for all the support and make them feel part of the company. This day provides an opportunity for our families to see our work environment and Alibaba from close.
The group wedding ceremony held at Ali Headquarter is a unique event where 102 newlywed couples from Alibaba take the vows to spend their lives together. This year it was special as it was the first time Ali invited international couples to marry once again in Chinese style.
It was an exciting and once in a lifetime experience for me and my wife. For us, it all started when we filled details to get a chance to be part of Ali wedding through lottery. As more than 1000 employees, who got married in last one year, applied, we were not sure whether we will get selected and eagerly waited for the lottery results. When I told my wife that we got lucky, she jumped in excitement. Everything from there till the conclusion of the event, everything was arranged by Alibaba.
Preparation up to the Day
My wife lives in Germany and as part of AGLA program, I work in Alibaba headquarters in Hangzhou. Alibaba arranged travel tickets for her and booked three night stay in Hangzhou. They did it for all international employees and spouses. Then they arranged for very lovely Chinese wedding attire for all of us. Even for all local employees, they booked a one night stay at the hotel and transportation to the campus after getting ready.
The Big Day
Then came the big day. For all 102 wedding couples, they also hired make-up professionals so that everyone can get ready in the morning of the event. This was the first time I got a makeup done in my life, I didn’t even get it in my first wedding.
Then after reaching the campus, what we saw was truly overwhelming. Video recording and live broadcast on online channels like YouKu, Taobao etc, More than 20 cameramen and various Chinese news channels covering the event. Walking on the red carpet, surrounded with a huge crowd of Ali Employees and their families, all trying to take our photos and security guards managing the crowds, it was a never before experience for us. It was the first time we were facing so many cameras and we felt like celebrities. From proposing to our beautiful spouses on our knees, attaching the love locks on Taobao bridge and throwing the keys in the lake, customary baiju drinking, cutting and keeping two locks of hairs of each other’s and tying together with red string, to signing the marriage contract, it was a real wedding experience. Hearing blessings from Jack Ma, CEO Daniel Zhang to CPO Judy Chen made our day. The best part we liked about the event was how Alibaba made each and every 102 employees stand up and thanked them for their contribution to their department and the company. I felt pride in being associated with such a great company.
To make us feel even more special, Alibaba co-founder Jane arranged an after-party for all international couples with AGLA members. Jane and the AGLA program Director blessed all the new couples. My wife and I danced on Bollywood songs, other couples sang a lovely song and it was an atmosphere filled with so much love and we never wanted to end this day. To conclude the party, we cut a very beautiful and tasty wedding cake.
It was like a dream day for both of us and we felt very lucky to be part of such a ceremony. I felt proud of being part of such an organization which treats its employees and their families in such respect. I can’t thank Alibaba enough for such a wonderful experience and opportunity.
How does it feel to travel halfway around the world, dress up in a Chinese wedding outfit, and stand with another 101 Ali couples to say “I do” together? She said I’d do it again and again.
Rohit Kumar is an engineer by education and has recently graduated from Said School of Business before joining Alibaba. He wants to create an impact for the greater good in long term. A vegetarian and fitness freak in equal measure, Rohit has found interesting ways to be fit and remain vegetarian at the same time.