Post # 1
My fiance and I don’t usually fight about anything but I have been feeling very stressed about wedding plans recently.
We’re both Chinese but were born in the UK. When we got engaged 10 months ago I just wanted a traditional “white wedding” (white dress, walking down the aisle etc) but his mother wanted to do a Chinese banquet. I told her I didn’t want to do it but she was very upset so I gave in and now we’re doing it.
I’m feeling upset that I have to pay £3k GBP for a day that we don’t even want. (My FMIL is paying for the food but she isn’t likely to pay very much since the banquet is usually funded by red packets given by guests). The traditional wedding and the banquet are on different days so we have to pay for a lot of things twice like hair & make up, cake, transport, photography, videography. It makes me sick that I have to pay for everything twice!
I feel bad asking his mum to pay towards our costs for the banquet day since his parents are both retired 🙁
We argued about it last night and my fiance said “Why do we even need to get married anyway?! What if I told you I didn’t want to do the white wedding day?”
I was upset after hearing that. I felt like saying to him “if you don’t want to get married then all you have to do is tell me and I will cancel EVERYTHING!” I didn’t say it…but I was thinking it.
We didn’t speak all last night. I even slept in another room. We haven’t spoken this morning before going to our respective work places.
I keep re-playing his words in my head. I don’t even know what to say to him now. It feels like the 10 months of planning I have done is for nothing 🙁
Post # 3
@teddybearbee1: *HUGS* Trust me, Chinese parents are just VERY demanding. They push for their own agenda a lot of time because they think that they “know better” and that you’ll appreciate what they’re doing when you get older. This isn’t about your FI not considering your wants/needs, it’s probably his parents and their “expectations” of their child. In addition, what if your FI would rather have a Chinese banquet? Afterall, it is his day too; and what if he feels like the white wedding is a waste the same way you feel the banquet is a waste? Marriage is about compromise and communication.
You also have to take into consideration that our parents’ generation view a wedding as a family event, not a day for the couple. So in a sense, they think it’s their wedding. The money you’re paying isn’t for the day, it’s to keep your parents and FILs happy.
Post # 4
There are some communication issues here, for sure – I can’t say if they’re specifically with you or with him. I can say that it’s easy in the planning process to forget what the other person wants – and he is bringing up a valid point when he asks, What if I don’t want a white wedding? The rest of his comments, of course, have no excuse.
I’d advise giving each of you time to cool down – you’re getting close to your wedding, but there’s still time to adjust some things. I’ll admit that I’ve been reading about the traditional Chinese wedding banquet, but aside from some cost, I don’t fully see why a white (church?) wedding and a Chinese banquet reception can’t work together. It would require flexibility on all ends, though, and a little bit more money, of course, to secure a church if indeed that’s where you want to get married.
But I see some possible concern here – maybe your fiance blew up because he’s not ready or willing to approach his mother about her interference. I don’t know if that’s cultural and something you’re willing to accept – or if that’s something that is bothersome to you.
You will become his wife, and I think that’s something that many men struggle to understand – you come first. His mother’s opinion about YOUR wedding should come second. Of course, maybe he really did want the Chinese banquet – or maybe he’s just caved to her demands too, and now you’re both left playing tug-of-war with one another.
In any case, talking this out is of the utmost importance. Maybe order some pizza and settle in for the night and say something like, “I’ve been thinking about what you said, and I want us to compromise and have a wedding we can both like. What’s important for you to have in our wedding?”
Make a list. And I think it’s fair to ask him if he feels pressured by his mom – does he feel like he can’t, or shouldn’t, disappoint her? The way you handle her with this wedding can set the stage for THE REST of your marriage – from having children to how you raise them to your retirement and beyond.
Post # 5
Aww, honey I’m really sorry you’re feeling stressed about this. Is there any way to combine “your” wedding with his parents idea for a wedding, to save money? I would also feel pretty bad about paying for everything twice, and especially if the financial burden is enough to cause fights between you and your FI, I would hope there’s some way to work it out.
We went to a wedding where the bride wore a lovely white gown for the ceremony and pics, then changed into the traditional red gown (at her parents’ request) for the reception. Is there some way you can do this, rather than essentially paying for two weddings?
Post # 6
Thanks for the advice everyone. I feel much better now 🙂
We can’t combine the 2 events on 1 day because of the distance between the 2 families and guests.
I think the cost is only one thing that annoys me. The other thing is that I dread being the centre of attention in front of 200 people who I have never met before! I know they are our parents’ friends but it’s not very personal to me.
My fiance wants me to be excited about the banquet day. I’ll go through with it to please his parents. I’ll smile for the camera on the day but I probably won’t like it.
I just want the wedding to be about us rather than people we don’t know. My fiance just wants to see his mum happy which I can understand. He’s the oldest son and the first to get married. In Chinese culture, that’s a big thing.
Guess I just need to suck it up and go with it 🙁
Maybe I will change my mind closer to the day? I hope so!
Post # 7
@teddybearbee1: I cannot imagine how hard this is! My family has no culture, there was very little interest in my wedding, so I have no idea how this feels. I have seen it many times on the boards though, culture and tradition runs so deep.
We have some friends who decided to elope to BoraBora. Later the found out their marriage was not recognzied in the US. Her family found out and said, “That’s OK we’ll do a real wedding anyway!” So she had to go through the big to-do twice (one as the formal Chinese wedding and another with the white dress). So big she had wedding planners and the whole point of eloping was to not do this. She just couldn’t get by it any way you looked at it. So I have an inkling of the power parents can have over these events. Especially if they are paying!
But to these friends, theire wedding day is the BoraBora event where it was just the two of them (and a whole team of BoraBora dancers LOL).
What if, and a big IF, you two went on your honeymoon and just the two of you did a private little vow renewal and you got yourself a white dress, bouquet and walked down the aisle? Get some photos and let that be just for the two of you? Have a fabulously fancy dinner afterwards?
Before you get miffed at what your FI said, I’d ask him to calmly explain exactly what he was feeling when those words came out of his mouth. I would need to talk about it more before I jumped to the conclusion of “he doesn’t want to marry me.”
Post # 8
I don’t really have any tips, but my SO’s cousin (who is Chinese and married to my cousin, that’s how we met) had THREE weddings. She had the Chinese banquet and the main white wedding, but neither of those could be scheduled on an auspicious date, so they also had a third (actual) wedding before those two with just their parents to make sure their anniversary would be on an auspicious date. However, I’m positive that my cousin’s family paid for the bulk of things because they have a lot of money, so it doesn’t help you much. Just wanted to share!
I think that like @CookieCreamCakes and other pp said, it’s really important for you guys to talk and see whether he really wants the Chinese banquet or whether he doesn’t want to disappoint his mom. If he wants the Chinese banquet and you want the white wedding, then you’re at an equal compromise. But if he just knows that his mom wants the banquet, then you two should figure out a compromise (like maybe asking her to pay for some more of it since it’s not as important to either of you) and approach her as a united front.
Post # 9
@sienna76: Oh dear…sorry to hear about your friends Bora Bora wedding. Must have been a shock when they found out their marriage wasn’t legal in the US! My fiance apologised for what he said. We both said things we didn’t mean. But since then he’s not been his usual bubbly self 🙁 on the other hand I feel much better after letting it all out! I don’t like seeing him sad though 🙁
Post # 10
@kgirl91: Thanks for the advice kgirl91 🙂 I can’t imagine having 3 weddings but I know that some Chinese parents are superstitious and the wedding needs to be on an auspicious date. Luckily our Chinese banquet IS on an auspicious date! I’m miffed about having to pay for 2 of everything…I can’t imagine having to pay for 3 of everything! That’s ridiculous!
Did they invite the same people to all 3 events?!!
Post # 11
@teddybearbee1: No- the banquet was just chinese family (so not me), and the first ceremony was just parents and maybe a couple friends (it was a destination wedding in Hawaii too haha, so you know they weren’t hurting for cash). And then the main wedding was probably 250 or so people in a ritzy hotel in California. That’s lucky that your banquet is on an auspicious date!