I’m 27 and I was born and raised in Europe but my fiancee is Shanghainese so we’re gonna have one of those Chinese super expensive weddings in a 5 stars hotel in Shanghai and I really dont know what to do. I really do not like the Chinese wedding style made up of performances, games and speech. Besides relatives, I invited around 20-30 friends to the wedding here and I’m gettin more and more nervous about what is going to happen during the feast. We have an MC that will entertain the guests and lead the night but both with him and the wedding planner I had a really hard time to plan everything and trying to make as nice and simple as possible but unfortunately there are some things such as exchange of vows and rings on the stage in front of everybody and organize some games for the guests, apparently Chinese people really appreciate and enjoy them. You went through this already so can you or anyone else who went through this and can give me some advises?
I remember many moons ago when I told my Chinese father-in-law about my vision for our wedding — something simple at their family home in the countryside. He told me, “Of course, it will be simple.”
By “simple” he meant a huge wedding banquet at the biggest hotel in the county seat with over 200 guests and a menu so lavish (and un-vegan) that every table came with a pair of turtles, steamed and standing in broth as if they were still alive. Let’s just say I didn’t get exactly what I had in mind.
But there’s a good reason why — the guests mattered more. When I once decried the fact I couldn’t have my dream all-vegan wedding banquet, my husband pointed out a simple reality. “The guests wouldn’t accept it,” he said. That matters a lot. After all, weddings are a public event, and if we had put on a wedding the guests didn’t like, my family in China would have lost major face. With face at stake, that also meant my family wanted to get the most possible mileage out of the event, which meant my “simple” idea just wouldn’t do.
So what about yours? The truth is, you might not get everything you want in your wedding for the same reasons I didn’t. You’ll have a hard time trying to get out of exchanging vows or even those naughty wedding games — I’ve yet to see a wedding in China without them.
But you don’t have to say “I do” to everything. For example, the exchange of rings you mentioned isn’t a Chinese tradition. Nowadays, a lot of Chinese wedding planners and wedding companies toss these Western traditions in — many Chinese still think “Western is better.” But I guarantee your guests won’t notice if you leave out that ring exchange (we didn’t have one). So talk to your fiancee’s family or even the wedding planner about leaving some of these “imports” out of the ceremony, if you think they’re not your style.
What if you still can’t get what you want? Well, who says you only have to have “one perfect day?” In fact, I’ve gotten married twice — if you count the on-the-spur ceremony we had at the government office where we registered — and so have most of the yangxifu I’ve met (such as Kelly and Shannon, to name a few). Consider planning the wedding of your dreams in Europe instead, or as a destination wedding with a few close friends. And then, when it’s all said and done, you can make all your friends back at home oh so jealous — because you got to walk down the aisle more than once.
What do you think?
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