Guest Post: The Traditional Chinese Wedding That Changed Me & My Dating Preferences | Speaking of China

19 Responses

  1. maria
    maria July 15, 2016 at 7:03 am | | Reply

    oh wow… i’d love to read more of your blogs…thank you for sharing your experience.. have a great day.. thanks Jocelyn for sharing her post.

  2. Jonathan
    Jonathan July 15, 2016 at 1:24 pm | | Reply

    Thank you for sharing the story! I am glad you got to go to China and enjoyed the time there. Very interesting indeed. Well, I think you never know until you meet the one! I always dated Asian girls and never really thought of dating non-Asian. It’s not that I am not attracted to them, it’s timing most of the time. I went out with a few non-Asians and my wife was the only one I dated. Cultural differences is definitely something you need to think about. And enjoy and embrace your diverse background!

  3. Christine
    Christine July 16, 2016 at 12:32 pm | | Reply

    Interesting! From the teaser paragraph, the ending was the opposite of what I expected. Wonderful that you realized what you wanted out of life…at least, in that aspect. 🙂 Maybe you would like Singapore (where my husband is from). It’s more “Western” but definitely holds onto a lot of its people’s Chinese roots.

    Makes me think of T. S. Eliot, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” Sometimes we need to leave home in order to know it and see it and love it for what it really is.

    1. Joanna Scarpuzzi
      Joanna Scarpuzzi July 16, 2016 at 8:42 pm | | Reply

      Thanks, Christine! You are right, I LOVE Singapore! Actually, that is where my Asian side of the family is from. When I was living in China, I would go there every Christmas break, and it was my home away from home.

      1. David
        David July 20, 2016 at 4:50 am | | Reply

        Singaporean Chinese tend to be more open contrary to popular opinion, particularly the Singaporean Chinese women.

      2. Christine
        Christine August 3, 2016 at 8:10 am | | Reply

        Oh that’s so cool!! Haha! 😀 We haven’t been back since Christmas 2014 and I’m so ready for another visit! Glad you had family there to visit over the holidays. 🙂

  4. K.
    K. July 16, 2016 at 7:56 pm | | Reply

    I thought this article was going to talk about how cool traditional chinese weddings are. Whoops haha.

    I’m in the middle of planning a traditional Chinese wedding (though my future mother in law is handling most of it) and I’m going by the only Chinese wedding I attended a few years ago. I really liked a lot of the traditions. For example when the groom comes to get the bride from her home, we (her friends and family) locked the door and kept telling the groom and his party to give us money and THEN we would open the door and they would slip little hongbaos under the door. And we hid the bride’s shoes and they had to find that as well and they kept asking us for help and we were like, “Money first, please.” HA it was so much fun.

    My fiancé’s family is really open minded and accommodating so I think the wedding will be really fun and what we want it to be.

    They keep teasing that they’re inviting tons of people. We visited a hotel as a possibility to have a wedding and I when I said, “It’s really nice!” My future father in law said, “No, it’s too small.”
    When I asked how many people this space held, they said 300 people and I’m like…how many people are you inviting?! Future father in law laughed and said very seriously, “EVERYONE WE KNOW.”

    Pray for me, seriously.

  5. Nicki Chen
    Nicki Chen July 17, 2016 at 7:56 am | | Reply

    Joanna, I think you’re wise and honest to learn something about yourself after attending a traditional Chinese wedding. After having been an expat for twenty years, I understand how expats can go overboard in either direction. We can be wimps and critics, unable to adapt to a new environment. Or we can insist on being so tough and adaptable that we never stop to ask ourselves whether that’s the kind of change we want for ourselves and our lives.

    Second point: Chinese culture is varied. Although my Chinese husband was born in China and educated in Asia, by the time I met him, he was more like the international school variety of Chinese. In 1983, when he returned to his hometown, Xiamen, after a 44 year absence, both Xiamen and my husband had changed so much that he couldn’t imagine living there again. I wrote a post about that homecoming:

  6. Cat
    Cat July 17, 2016 at 6:27 pm | | Reply

    Interesting perspective thank you for sharing – love your beautiful outfit by the way!

  7. Lewis Perry
    Lewis Perry July 17, 2016 at 10:17 pm | | Reply

    I’ve never attended a Chinese wedding. But it seems interesting.

  8. Fred
    Fred July 18, 2016 at 2:29 am | | Reply

    Hi Joanna,

    It was a great post. When you lived in China, did you date a few Chinese local men? What was your experience with them? Were you able to navigate through the language and cultural barriers? Please advise.

  9. Joanna Scarpuzzi
    Joanna Scarpuzzi July 18, 2016 at 5:49 am | | Reply

    Hi Fred,

    Thanks for reading my post. When I was in China, I did not date any Chinese local men, so sorry, I don’t have any advise for you.

  10. Joanna Scarpuzzi
    Joanna Scarpuzzi July 18, 2016 at 5:53 am | | Reply

    Hi Nicki,

    Thanks for reading my post! You are right, Chinese culture is varied. I grew up having friends who were mostly second generation Chinese whose parents were from places like Taiwan and Hong Kong, so that is kind of what I was expecting to interact with when I moved to China. I was wrong, however. That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy my time there and learned alot!

  11. Joanna Scarpuzzi
    Joanna Scarpuzzi July 18, 2016 at 5:55 am | | Reply


    Thanks for reading my article and sharing about your own upcoming experience with a traditional Chinese wedding. Since I was not close family, I didn’t get to see all the fun, behind the scenes things that occur. Good luck with your wedding! Maybe when it is finished, you can write a blog post about it for us to enjoy reading!

  12. Fred
    Fred July 18, 2016 at 8:16 am | | Reply

    Hi Joanna,
    Thanks for answering my questions. Why did you not date any local Chinese men? Did any of them hit on you? What was your response? Or were you not interested?

  13. Alice
    Alice July 19, 2016 at 4:42 pm | | Reply

    Hi Joanna,

    I am always interested to read about mixed asian/western kids as the hubby’s Chinese and I’m English and planning on starting a family soon…hearing a bit about what it’s like to be mixed feels like some small preparation for having mixed kids 🙂 :-)!

    I just wanted to say that from my experience in China they do have a very ‘one-size fits all’ approach to the wedding celebration – it seems like everyone does exactly the same thing (and have been doing it like that for centuries!). However I can only say that from my experience it’s not a reflection of how men and women approach their own marriages, as my husband is very open-minded and progressive in his attitude to marriage. Also all of the Chinese couples we know have very different marital dynamics so the ‘one-size fits all’ attitude to ceremonies doesn’t seem to carry over into the marriage itself…

    I have no idea why they have this ‘wedding by numbers’ attitude – it might be about keeping the older generations happy and also for simple economic reasons and time-constraints? Our wedding party was arranged by a company that had limited options and neither of us had the time to organise things differently. I imagine that planning a unique ceremony must be quite time-consuming and costly.

    I wouldn’t be discouraged by these boring wedding parties if I was you, as there are plenty of interesting and open-minded Chinese men who would value your mixed culture background!

  14. BAP Blogger
    BAP Blogger July 23, 2016 at 9:20 am | | Reply

    Great post! Thanks for writing from a unique perspective – especially with the preference differences between you and your sister. I’ve found in my (limited) experience that women with both Asian and European-American heritage make really good partners! Really really good. =]

  15. Amy
    Amy July 29, 2016 at 11:04 am | | Reply

    Hi Joanna,
    I wanted to let you know that some people can do a unique wedding outside traditional Chinese wedding.
    My son, an American, got married this past May to a Chinese girl in Beijing. It was not a Chinese wedding. They planned it themselves. It took place at a resort vineyard an hour south of the city, close to her parents’ village farm. I bought her a white wedding gown in West Palm Beach, FL which she wore for the ceremony and later changed to a red dress. They wrote their own vows and had one best man and one best woman, and a master of the ceremony –all foreigners. Lots of tables, lots of food, lots of drinking. The bride and groom drank fake alcohol for the table toasts so as not to get drunk. They hired a deejay who played all American classic rock and pop, and all the international mixed crowd danced. The father of the bride did sing one traditional song. There was a slide show of the couple. Each table or group of friends came up on the dais to have a picture taken with the bride and groom. The village friends of the bride’s family went home after eating and delivering their red envelopes. I had a great time.

  16. Joanna Scarpuzzi
    Joanna Scarpuzzi July 30, 2016 at 9:31 pm | | Reply

    Hi Amy,

    That sounds like a beautiful wedding! Thanks for sharing!

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