Post # 1
Hi bees! Are any Asian brides considering not wearing the traditional ao dai, qi pao, cheong sam, or hanbok during their weddings? I’m Chinese-American and while I’m having a Western wedding, I still want to have a few nods to my culture throughout the wedding. I am incorporating the double happiness symbol in some of the table decor and hiring lion dancers for a performance. One of my ideas is also to change into a red dress (traditional color for Chinese weddings) at some point during the reception – may or may not do this. I’ve already spent a fortune on my wedding dress so I don’t necessarily want to spend more money on a quality qi pao / cheong sam which can be quite expensive. I figured I can likely find a red evening gown at a reasonable price. Did anyone else do this? How did your family feel about it? I’m slightly worried that I’ll offend my family or part of my fiance’s family (he is half Chinese) as it may not be enough representation of our cultures.
Post # 2
FI and I are doing a tea ceremony prior to the actual ceremony for close family only. I worked with a dressmaker to create a qipao fusion, if you will. Traditional qipaos just don’t look good on my frame. My parents are Chinese; FI’s parents are Taiwanese and they both are fine with the plan. Both of our parents and relatives have already started purchasing jewelry to gift us (in addition to red envelopes) for the ceremony/wedding! I may do one ceremony reading in Canto/Mandarin (read by each of our fathers) and then translated to English.
Post # 3
The qi pao is beautiful, but FI and I are having a small Western style wedding, so I’ll be wearing white throughout. I was born in America, so my parents know my Asian-ness is not as present as it is in others. FI did ask for my dad’s blessing, which was nice.
Post # 4
nuggetsoflove: Wow, that’s beautiful!
bride2bebe: I’m not wearing a cheongsam etc, but am still looking to incorporate a few elements as well. I’m currently thinking of double happiness favor boxes & thank you cards or something. I’m not normally big on performances at weddings, but love the lion dancer idea! Is does seem like a waste to go for a trad dress if not doing a tea ceremony, but I love the idea of a nice red dress.
Post # 5
I’m Chinese-Canadian and we’re having a fully Anglican ceremony, which might confuse some FH’s family since they all come from China. Our programmes have our English and Chinese names as well as a small thank you written in both English and Chinese (MIL helped with the Chinese wording) and the double happiness symbol at the top. I’m also doing my speech in Chinese – slightly nervous about that since my Chinese isn’t really that good..
I’m keeping my wedding dress for the whole thing as well – I paid a lot of money for it so I’m going to get as much out of it as I can!
Post # 6
Have you talked to your family and your FI’s family? We just had a completely Western style wedding and nobody complained. Giving family members roles (like having a cousin MC, or an uncle give a short toast) seemed to make all the Aunties happy.
Post # 7
nuggetsoflove: what a beautiful dress!
thanks for everyone’s comments and sharing what you’re doing for your wedding. It’s great to know some bees are going a non-traditional or fusion route! I’m American born but that doesn’t keep family from commenting that I should hold onto the family culture.
canadajane: my mom is fine with whatever decision I make but the rest of The FIs family is what I’m more concerned about. FI himself is more American than Chinese in terms of culture. His mom (Chinese) would be too nice/polite to say anything even if it did bother her. However, his extended family is traditional. I’m not close enough that I would feel comfortable talking to them myself.
Post # 8
Me! I wanted to wear a pantsuit, but compromised on a sweater, mini skirt and tulle overskirt instead. And I settled on pink because its the color of the LGBT pride event locally and because I believe in marriage equality. Our parents don’t know what I’m doing so no one has kicked up a snit yet. We are having a traditional tea ceremony and a banquet that is causing me no end of angst next year but I’m trying to hijack the banquet and make it as un-chinese as I can.
Post # 9
bride2bebe: I’m Vietnamese and my FI is half Sri Lankan half Maylaysian and we’re just going to have a Western wedding. Doing a traditional ceremony in the morning before our civil ceremony was out of the question for me because it would mean getting up at 5am and rushing around all day. Also, if I did something traditionally Vietnamese I felt like I had to do something Sri Lankan and Malaysian to honour my FI’s culture too, and that would just get out of hand! I spent a lot on my wedding dress too and would like to wear it for more than 30 mins!
I thought about doing a traditional Vietnamese ceremony a week before the Western wedding but that was challenging too – worring about another dress, another set of caterers, photographer etc. I explained the logistics and costs of it to my parents and they understood that it’s a lot to take of, even though they were a little disappointed. I’ve been lucky because FI’s family is pretty Westernised and my parents know I’m Westernised myself and like to do things my own way.
I know a lot of Asian brides who’ve change into a red/traditional dress at some point during the reception (I’m already changing into a shorter dress for the first dance so I ruled this out for myself also). I think Adding the double happiness symbol into the decor is a nice idea, and I attended a wedding recently with lion dancers and they were fantastic! I think that’s a pretty good compromise, perhaps FI can talk to his parents about it too and help them understand? I’m considering doing a photo shoot after the wedding of me in wedding ao dai for my parents.
Post # 10
I just got married and had a completely American style wedding even though both my husband and I are Taiwanese. Our ceremony and reception were both in a warehouse / loft space with the ceremony outside on the rooftop and reception indoors. I didn’t wear a qi pao or incorporate red at all into the wedding. We didn’t do a tea ceremony. None of our family members said anything (and I have a big extended family). In fact, they all (even the ones who flew in from Taiwan) commented on how unique the wedding was and how much fun they had. I think at the end of the day, both families will realize that your wedding is your day and will be happy just to be there.
Post # 11
- Wedding: October 2014 - Brussels, Belgium
I think it should be up to what you and your fiance want, then maybe your parents. I’m half Japanese (born in the US) and my fiance is Jewish (and European) and we’re not doing anything Asian or Jewish. My family has always said to do what we want and it’s up to other to deal with it. I think his family (mostly the extended family) is a little disappointed that I don’t want a Jewish ceremony and have no plans to convert don’t understand why I don’t want anything traditionally Asian (even though I’m half white they only see me as Japanese). Ultimately I think they too just want their son to be happy and that’s what’s most important.
Post # 12
I’m Chinese Canadian and my fiance is American. We are getting married in Montreal and chose a hotel venue since many guests are out of town. Most of the activities will be western but there will be Chinese elements to recognize my Chinese heritage: Chinese tea ceremony the day before the wedding; and a lion dance performance at the reception. I’ll wear either a qipao or kwa for the tea ceremony and white gown at the western ceremony. I’ll most likely change into a red dress (maybe an evening gown from BCBG) at the end of the reception.