I had dinner with an old friend last night, and a topic that came up was his upcoming wedding, and the chaos and turmoil that comes with the planning. My own wedding took place only a few years ago, so those experiences were still fresh in my mind, and we found that our wedding planning ordeals have a lot in common.
And at this point I realized something: If you’re Chinese, you can totally forget about your dream wedding because it will probably never happen.
You see, we now live in an age where most young girls that actually dream about their future weddings would base these dreams on the images they’ve seen in Hollywood movies. They want that beach front wedding that Katherine Heigl had in 27 Dresses, or a nice garden set up like the one in The Wedding Singer.
It doesn’t have to be anything over-the-top, you know? Our respective other halves just wanted a nice quiet and intimate affair, attended by close friends and relatives, where everyone has a good time.
But there’s one major obstacle that all Chinese couples face: their Chinese parents.
Chinese parents don’t like quiet weddings. They want a giant fucking banquet where they invite 400-700 people that you’ve probably never met before in your life.
That includes that cousin of an aunt that lives in China, your dad’s kindergarten friends that he hasn’t met up with since kindergarten, and that random guy that might be related to your family because there can’t possibly be that many people named “Lee” in the world, right?
They want noise, they want strangers, they want ecologically-unfriendly and inhumane soups to be served, and they want a spectacle. In movie terms, they want the kind of wedding like the one in Ang Lee’s The Wedding Banquet.
And in Chinese culture, the wedding is not for the bridal couple; it’s an event meant for their parents to show off. So when it comes to the wedding planning, parents get to overrule their kids.
Maybe there might be a compromise if the bride grew up dreaming of a wedding spent with gossipy old Chinese women, sleazy Chinese men with comb-overs that leer at the bridesmaids, and every dish served comes with a face. But these days, that’s just highly unlikely.
Honestly, the best thing to do is to completely forget about your dream wedding. Just let your parents do whatever the hell they want, and invite every random person they want.
After that, you plan a post-wedding wedding, just for you and your friends. You can have it on the beach, or you can have it at the Universal Tour when Jaws pops out of the water. You can even wear a dress like the one Stephanie Seymour wore in the November Rain music video.
But this time, don’t invite the parents.