Post # 1
SO and I dream of eloping and don’t want to deal with all the factors that go into planning a huge wedding. We would rather gave something small and spend money that would have gone into wedding planning on a house and have a baby within the next year or two.
Background: SO comes from a very small Irish-American family. He has two aunts, one uncle, and one cousin. He is close only to his mom, sister, and brother. I come from a very big Asian family. My father is the oldest of nine, my mom is the oldest of seven and everyone has a bunch of kids…and so I have a bunch of relatives.
Long story short: my family history and culture basically dictates that weddings are a huge affair with a large guest list and elaborate setups. Our ceremonies usually span over three days, and last year we had the first wedding in our family that had a guest list less than 500 people. My cousin had what our family considers an “intimate” wedding of 280 guests. She originally invited 150. This year, two of my other cousins are also planning weddings and were discussing how hard they had to fight to get the guest list down to under 300 when ideally they only wanted 150-170 guests max. Along the same vein, SO and I would want to keep the guest list around the same figure if we were to invite only the people that we really really wanted to be there.But in our dream world, it would just be the two of us and an officiant somewhere beautiful and romantic.
It would devastate my family if we did this, and even that is a vast understatement of how they would really feel. My family may be huge but we are all very close-knit. I am my parent’s oldest child and the first grandchild on my father’s side- so I am the “family favorite” so to speak. We recently moved across the country to be closer to my grandparents while they are still active and in good health, so this would hurt them a great deal also. SO is also very close to his mom. Doing what we really want to do doesn’t seem like a viable option but we also don’t want to spend money on a reduced-guest list wedding when we’d rather buy a home and start a family. We have discussed having a blessing ceremony (which traditionally spans over just one of the three days) and then eloping with just our parents present as a “compromise,” but the rest of our relatives would have a cow.
What I am really seeking are words of wisdom from other southeast Asian and Indian brides, as there are many cultural expectations and familial honors that we seem to be bound to. Many of my friends are “All-Americans” who cannot relate to this situation. They don’t seem to understand the repercussions that would follow if we just did what whatever we want to do. If we could afford to have every single person we cared about there and have lavish ceremonies, we would. But a big wedding is not a priority to us when the money could go towards a home. I feel very lost and torn because my family and our traditions and customs are still very important to me.
Any advice, support, or experiences and feelings you ladies could share would be helpful. I want to know that someone went through the same thing and that their families ended up being OK with it, or that you were able to reach a compromise that pleased all parties. Just looking for a happy ending I suppose. 🙂
Post # 3
@lightsinsorrow: I can relate to the feeling of obligation and responsibility to family members and expectations. I’m SE Asian and in my family, it was extremely important for my dad that I did not move in with my SO (now husband) before marriage. We tried to compromise by moving in after our engagement, and he still flipped out. About a week or two before the wedding, he told us in a very dramatic fashion that he would “never be happy again” because of what he did. Well, after that speech, everything just went uphill from there. He was still happy for us on our wedding day, and has never brought it up again, and I know he still loves us.
I’m afraid I didn’t go through the exact same scenario you’re facing, but I just wanted to say that I can understand where you’re coming from. I also had friends who could not understand why I had to calculate my parents’ concerns and expectations into all parts of my life.
I like the idea of your compromise – perhaps just you and your SO at the blessing ceremony with parents, perhaps grandparents too. Is there anyone in your family – maybe a respected elder or someone like that – you could confide in and perhaps they could help speak for your case?
I guess in my family, my siblings and I have done some things that are definitely against tradition and disappointed our parents – but we knew that the ones we love (our parents) would still love us at the end of the day. I struggled with feelings of guilt, but I’m glad I made the decision I did. I hope the same will happen for you. Good luck!
Post # 4
Is there any way your parents would be willing to contribute to the blessing ceremony so that you could have all of your extended family present?
I am also SE Asian and the tea ceremony was very important to my parents. DH and I just wanted to go get married in Vegas with our closest family and friends present but my parents freaked out and insisted that we also have something back home where all our family and friends could attend. We talked it over with my parents and explained that we were on a budget and didn’t want to have to pay for a huge wedding and for guests that we had never even met! (my mom was insisting that she HAD to invite all of her coworkers as well or she would “lose face”… UGH with asian pride!)
Fortunately, my parents understood where we were coming from and said that they would cover all aspects of the tea ceremony because it was that important to them. I am sure that we were just really lucky that my parents were willing to do that for us… but it you think about it.. it’s more for them than us!
I also agree with @jduck84 about finding a close relative that understands how you’re feeling about the situtation and can speak for you. For me, it was my older cousin. She understood the cultural expectations my parents had but also knew what I wanted as an Asian-American bride. She was definitely the voice of reason throughout the whole wedding planning process and was able to get my mom off my back about certain things (she was actually the person who gave us the idea to get married in Vegas!).
Post # 5
Ladies, thank you both for your thoughtful replies.
I would like to have a Lao baci ceremony. The reason I’m afraid to even bring this up is because I do not want to even imply that I am asking for money (again- the Asian pride thing- LOL!). My parents would probably contribute monetarily to that, but again that is a slipperly slope…even inviting our closest family means that we will easily have 200 people there. I suppose that is the catch-22 of having a big family. We are trying to strike a balance between remaining practical and not hurting anyone’s feelings and that is definitely tough. I think only other people with crazy Asian parents understand this!
Post # 6
I had a DW to eliminate this problem. I have a large family too, but they’re all in SE Asia … I’m in the US, where all of DH’s family is. DW was really the only way for us to draw the line at immediate family only.
If it were truly up to me, I would have eloped .. everybody else’s feelings be damned. Only reason why we even had a ceremony with the immediate family members and select friends was because my DH knew his parents would be very upset if they couldn’t attend the ceremony and my side of the family would have been furious! (Asians XD). Again, if it really were truly up to me, I would have eloped.
Post # 7
Speaking as an Indian/American woman I can see the repercussions (but exciting( prospects of eloping, and even though my family and in laws are kind…my god all hell would have broken loose.