Post # 1
I need a little input and a little (well…probably alot of) help. I was borned in HK and moved to LA when I was 9. I considered myself more Americanized. My FI is ABC, but his parents are very traditional 1st generation Chinese. His parents instilled a lot of superstitions into their kids head while growing up. FMIL cared a lot about luck and good fortunes and we must do this or have this, otherwise luck and good fortunes won’t come our way. It is to a point that it looks like it is an OCD behavior. My FI tends to trip out about this kind of superstitions. Who wouldn’t want great happiness, great health, great everything when are married and it scares him because he values our relationship and wants greatness. My parents, on the other hand, are Christians. We don’t practiced and followed these superstitions.
That leaves to the big problem…. We are crashing 2 cultures! I don’t know what to do, and when I start thinking about it, it just makes me want to cry. I don’t want to disrespect my parents nor my future in laws.
I don’t see myself doing a Chinese banquet. I told my mom a while back that I want to do a seat down Western style dinner banquet. My parents did not mind and they accepted the idea. However, I know that my FILs will want to have a Chinese banquet and invite all their friends to be there, which may end up having a very big banquet in the end (which I can’t afford).
My mom wants me to get married in a church, I told her I want an outdoor wedding. She then requested to have a pastor to officiate the wedding and as well as making a prayer before dinner is served. I also don’t want to make my FILs uncomfortable either.
I thought about destination wedding, but I really like both our grandmothers to be there on our big day. Tranveling out may be a bit difficult because they are getting older now and one of them has a little bit trouble of walking. I don’t want to put a burden on them either.
We are trying to pay this wedding on our own. I feel that regardless of what we decide to do, we will make someone unhappy. If I do everything they wanted just to make them happy, then, I will be a very unhappy bride.
Is there anyone out there that are going through this kind of situation like me? We are starting to stress out, and we haven’t even really started planning the wedding.
Post # 3
@kellyandtommy: It seems that you need to talk this out further with your FI and truly decide what you can and are willing to pay for. If the only reason you would have a banquet is because of his parents, then you should sit them down and explain how it’s not financially possible. The financial angle tends to be easier to swallow for parents, unless they are willing put in some money. You haven’t mentioned much about your FI’s thoughts, what does he think?
When we first started planning our wedding, we were just planning on a DW with sit down reception. However, my parents wouldn’t hear of not having a wedding banquet so they offered to pay for the whole thing (extremely generous). They understood our financial predicament so this was their compromise. I’m not saying you should expect FI’s parents to pay (especially since he is the male, sadly) but it seems like you need to open communication to both sides. The better you understand their expectations and communicate your own expectations, hopefully the less complications.
Post # 4
agree with above comment. have a talk with your FI and FMIL. better talk it now than later down the road because weddings can bring out the crazies in people. (isn’t that why we Bees are here for?)
if you can financially afford it, throw a Chinese banquet for the family and have a separate small party with just your friends. That’s what one of my friends did. Personally, I think if your FMIL wants you to have a Chinese banquet, they should chip in. It’s really just for ‘show’ for their own family and friends.
Post # 5
@kellyandtommy: A couple of thoughts
1. Finances – you need to establish this with all parties. Look at your finances and research prices. Say you have $X available for the wedding and realistically this is what you can achieve. Everything else would be irresponsible and would set you and your FI on a life of financial ruin – I’m sure that would wake up your superstitious FIs
2. Religion – this one is more tricky. My FI is American and I’m Chinese-American but at least we were the same religion. How important is your religion to you and is your FI on board with having a priest preside over the wedding? Are your FILs aware of this? Their reaction could be unhappiness or simply not understanding, but I expect you to get some pushback from this. You and your FI need to be on the same page with this – this is not going to be the first time you’ll have to navigate differences with religion, it’ll only continue for the rest of your life. What’s important is that you and your FI are on the same page
3. A lot of very traditional parents don’t believe in the happiness of their children in a wedding. The wedding is meant to honor the parents and make them look good. In turn you get to have your “dream wedding” when your kid gets married. Messed up, I know, but that’s how they think. Obviously you’re stuck in between generations so you’ll have to figure out whether you will accept this or not. It’s a lot easier when you both pay for the weddings because ultimately if you control the money, you truly have the right to control your decisions.
Post # 6
I was in a similar situation as you except DH is not ABC (but still of Eastern descent with very traditional 1st gen parents).
Overall, to be the least stressed out, you can just put your foot down and be like, “He who pays, gets a say.” However, this kind of attitude generally doesn’t go over well in Eastern cultures. Luckily, we had such a long engagement (2 years) that both sides sort of ran out of steam and DH and I got exactly what we wanted, including a pared down guest list.
I think maybe it could be a nice compromise to do a Western-style banquet with Chinese elements, e.g. Chinese dishes incorporated into it. I agree that to do both is cost-prohibitive although I’ve been told that overall, a Chinese banquet tends to cost less than the Western version. If your FILs really want a Chinese banquet that much and you and FI simply cannot afford this, you must tell them that and let them foot the bill. It’s also not very traditional to have your children cover the whole wedding. In my experience, when the parents are that traditional, they also cover the cost of the wedding as well.
I think you can still have a Western-style wedding ceremony in a church/outdoors/etc. and still maintain some Asian traditions, e.g. a tea ceremony. A lot of people I know do both and also do the bridal teasing thing at the beginning of the day.
Post # 7
@kellyandtommy: First of all, if you and your FI are footing the bill, you do not need to make anyone happy. You need only satisfy yourselves. Past then, throw in things that could work to be respectful of your parents. If something’s unreasonable, don’t worry about not incorporating it.
East meets West weddings are popular these days! I have a friend who did the full shebang – tea ceremony in the morning, followed by church service, followed by bringing a roasted pig to the bride’s parent’s house, followed by photos, followed by the night time reception. You can too!
RE: Chinese banquet vs. Western sit down dinner – I have to deal with this too. My mom’s started pushing for a Chinese banquet even before I had a boyfriend because the food is better, LOL. My SO is white, so…I haven’t exactly decided yet. Normally Chinese banquets are cheaper but if it’s something you really don’t want, just put your foot down on this. Offer to have a Chinese banquet the next evening or at another date – IF your in-laws want to pay for it. Or maybe have a red-themed western sit down dinner with some Chinese cuisine-inspired food in the menu? Otherwise, just politely tell them this is all you can afford and you already put down a deposit/made a reservation OR this is what you two have always envisioned. No arguments. Forget about pleasing people. Having said that, it’d be much easier for you if your FI will stand up to his own parents, and inform them about what your plans are as opposed to asking for their permission. If he will stick by you and what you guys decide together, he can stand up to his own parents while you protect him from yours.
RE: Church wedding, I think having a religious leader officiate is fair. North America is pretty Christianity-centric so I don’t think anyone would be scandalized, offended, or uncomfortable. And starting the meal off with a prayer is okay too – those who don’t want to pray do not have to bow their heads and close their eyes.
Just make sure you do the tea ceremony. 😉
Post # 8
Thanks for all the advice, ideas, encouragements. We asked FBIL if his parents (my FILs) help paid the bill few years ago when they got married to get an idea. They told us that they promised to pay in the beginning (over 50+ tables) and then dramas began, and later on, FILs decided to not pay the banquet bill in the end. Craziest thing was that we kept hearing the same debt story, in many different versions from different family members and can’t seem to figure out what really went down. (FI knew the least of the wedding drama, I have no idea how he managed to not know what was going on with the constant yelling and fighting all happened at his house! I love how he doesn’t care for drama, but gosh, I really wished he was just a bit nosy so he knew what really happen so we have an idea what to say or expect for our wedding planning!)
FI and I want a smaller, simpler wedding, only our family and friends to be there on our special day. He expressed to me he wants to save some money for a house instead of blowing it all on a wedding. I agree with him. I panic easily and I am just so scared that my FILs insist to do things their way and later backed out on footing the bill and leave us in debt.
We will soon have to sit our parents down to meet with each other. I am crossing my fingers that there will not be crazy drama at the first meeting. :/
Post # 9
@kellyandtommy: Thanks for the additional info! Given that your FILs have had that history with the FBIL’s wedding, I would NOT plan on getting any monry from them. You and your FI are right and very practical – you should have money left over for the house. Don’t go into debt planning this wedding! Plan the wedding you can afford, and if your FILs throw a fit that it’s not big enough, tell them that it would be more irresponsible to put the two of you into debt and ignore them. At least when you pay for your own wedding you have more control.
Post # 10
You have to do what is right for the two of you. If they are not giving any money than they shouldn’t have much say.
FWIW I’m CBC (and our dinner was Western style) but I’ve been to many Chinese banquets. The one thing I don’t love about them is that usually they have to be in Chinese restaurants and go for a REALLY long time because they’re usually at least 10 courses. So it’s not ideal for dancing or mingling.
Post # 11
@canuckandakiwi: I don’t think it’s true at all that it’s not ideal for dancing. Every banquet I have been to has had ample time for dancing after dinner. I think if you’re conscious about which menu you’re choosing and your start time, there is plenty of time for dancing/mingling.
Post # 12
@sharkchomp: I really think it does depend on the # of courses. Most of the ones I have gone to or been in have been 10-12 courses and by the time you add in speeches and the traditional toast where the bride and groom walk around and drink cognac at each table so by the time the last course finished it was after 11 pm with the restaurant closing at midnight.
Hopefully most aren’t like that but it was the main reason that a few of my CBC friends decided not to do them.
It also depends on the size of the wedding.