Post # 1
I have no idea what to do with my wedding reception. My fiance is Chinese and I’m third culture chinese (grew up, lived overseas, rejected the Chinese culture wholesale,yada yada). We live in a predominantly Chinese country where weddings are pretty much cookie cutter standard. With my budget, I’m kind of stuck with a Chinese banquet reception because the in-laws nixed the casual tea reception in a garden due to “needing to repay wedding invitations to friends whose children have invited then to weddings”. Also because “if [we] have a tea reception, we’ll ‘lose’ the money spent because [Chinese] people only give red packets if you have a Chinese banquet, they don’t give them for other types of reception”. Don’t ask me about the logic of that, I can’t even fanthom it. I really hate the Chinese restaurant we’ve put a deposit down on. Its tacky (disco lights, anyone?), the coordinator is unfriendly and rigid and my fiance is NOT backing me up on anything despite the fact that we are paying for the reception which is double our original budget but I don’t have a choice because every other hotel or restaurant is even more expensive than that place. I originally planned a casual reception for just friends but as usual, the in laws complained, my fiance complained about the money we will ‘lose’, my location got taken and nowhere else is affordable. The restaurant coordinator is driving me bats because she nixes everything I want to do my way, I’m effectively being pressured into a Chinese wedding I don’t want or like and cannot really afford despite keeping it to in law mandated relatives and their friends which means none of our friends will be there. We’ve pushed the reception to a year after the ceremony because of that so we cannot possibly have yet another celebration for friends and the fiance is absolutely against having a big ceremony, anyway, there’s only one month more to the ceremony so no one can come on such short notice. Its an absolute nightmare and I feel like throwing my hands up and scrounging up 2grand to buy out the deposit and going with the original tea reception, to hell with what everyone else thinks. I’m fine with other traditions like the tea ceremony but having a banquet simply because someone wants to ‘pay back’ invitations and on the logic of ‘earning back’ the money I can’t afford to spend is sheer madness to me.
Post # 2
Sorry you are stressing! Family and money can play big roles in decision making, but remember that you are the one in charge!
Just to clarify — the ceremony is in one month and the reception in a year and one month?
If so, here’s how I see your options?
1- Have the tea ceremony/party you want (and pay for it yourself). You have to deal with your family being pissed. Only you know: a) how pissed they will be, b) if they will eventually get over it, and c) how much you care about a and b.
2- Elope! Just do it now and have a party for friends and family however you want. Downsides are: see option #1. However possibly your family will be less upset since you did not have a traditional ceremony?
3- Keep status quo and start standing firm with the restaurant coordinator. If she doesn’t comply with what you want, tell her you want your deposit back. Unless what you are trying to do violates your contract with the restaurant or the restaurant’s/locality’s rules, you should be able to have the celebration you want. Stand firm.
4- Keep looking for a better venue and be ok with ponying up $2.
5- postpone your wedding until you can have a ceremony and reception you want to pay for.
Post # 3
Closertofine: the wedding ceremony is this October, the tea ceremony – serving tea to elders as a mark of respect/banquet reception is next October. We have to pay for the banquet reception ourselves as my fiance is too proud to ask our parents to pay for their friends’ tables. And our parents have demanded 60 friends, negotiated down from the previous 80. I wanted a separate reception for friends but his side complained that it made our banquet too small and by implication, they’ll lose ‘face’. How can 180 people be too small?! We’re paying for the entire thing and we’re already spending twice of what we’ve budgeted because of the banquet so I no longer have any money left to do another celebration but I was told that I could just suck it up and invite my friends to the banquet where they’ll effectively pay for their own places. I’m also not allowed to express displeasure about the whole thing and the expectation at the banquet is for me to entertain relatives and our parents friends, to spend time with my friends is insulting to them so I’m reluctant to invite my friends at all. The contract of the dinner states that I have to forfeit the 2 grand deposit and 10% of the cost of my predicted tables if I cancel. It seems like a common thing here, coordinators promise the sky and then once you’ve signed the contract they refuse to do anything apart from the norm. Disgusting.