Post # 1
I am a long time lurker.. and I’m posting because I am super confused/upset. The planning process is starting to freak me out even though my wedding is a year and a half away.
First off, when Fiance and I made our “prelim” guest lists we were certain that we would invite no more than 250 people. Well, when I ran this by my parents, they told me I was way off.. Apparently I left some “musts” off the list. Now our total invite list has come to well over 400.. We have a large extended family (that we see often), so that’s 200. Then my parent’s friends, grandparent’s friends and my friends are about 70. My parents agreed to pay for all 270 of our guests.
Now, here’s where the PROBLEMS come in. I am white and my Fiance is Chinese. With my circle of friends/family, you only invite your close friends to your wedding. Apparently in the Chinese culture, it is customary to invite all of your friends and acquaintances to your first born son’s wedding. Fiance told Future Father-In-Law that he can invite 40 of his closest friends (family not included) and his dad got very angry. He wants to invite 150.. Uhh.. Fiance parents are not well off and they cannot afford to contribute to the wedding (nor do I want them to), so basically he wants us to pay for it???
(1) That would boost our guest list to WAY above 500 and (2) We can’t afford another $15,000+ to pay for all of his friends.
Well, Fiance told him that and he suggested we either scale back our plans (so we can afford all of his guests) or do a separate Chinese banquet style reception for all of his friends. The banquet will be held at one of his friend’s Chinese restaurants and will probably be about $30 a head. I’m probably being culturally ignorant, but isn’t it really rude to invite someone to a “lesser” or “fake” wedding reception. Fiance insists that it’s a way for his father to “save face” if you will.. I don’t know.. I’m already starting to feel somewhat defeated. Thank you for reading this far.. I’d really appreciate any advise.
Post # 3
For certain cultures, a wedding is a big social affair and it IS a bit of a gaffe not to invite the “entire village” or equivalent in today’s modern world. So his parents may have decided that their social ties are more important than American wedding etiquette and want to host a second reception so that they can save face with their friends.
BUT cultural differences or not (and I am also Chinese, but my parents are paying so it’s not the same situation), you have to pay to play. So if you are both paying for the wedding and you cannot afford a 500-person wedding, then that’s that and someone (preferably FI) needs to explain this to mom and dad. The same goes for a separate banquet if they are looking to you to pay for it because obviously, that’s going to cost just as much.
But if they’re going to pay for the banquet and want to have it, then I don’t think that it’s so much of a problem. I don’t think it’ll do you any good to think of it as a “fake” reception–it’s just a different one. Perhaps you can wear red at the second banquet!
Post # 4
Where would you even find a venue for 500 people?
Post # 5
Also–I don’t quite understand. Didn’t you just post on another thread that your Fiance and his family had FEWER guests on their list than your parents?? What’s going on?
Post # 6
@JennyW1: Thanks for your responses to both of my threads! My primary problem right now is that Future Father-In-Law wants to invite everyone he knows to our wedding, but we just can’t afford to pay for everyone.
Fiance has a smaller family and he has “allotted” his father 40 guests. FI will pay for his family, his friends, and his dad’s friends. Well, when he told his dad this, his dad became very angry with him and told him that 40 was not enough, and that we were not being fair to him. As a compromise his dad has offered up the suggestion of a second banquet for all of his friends. FI estimated 150 people, but I have a feeling it may be much more. I have no clue who is paying for this second banquet, but I have a feeling it may be us..
@SoontobeMrsA: Yes.. that has been stressing me out as well. There are a handful (3 that I know of) in our area that can accommodate up to 500 guests, and a couple more which can accommodate up to 700 (F*** that!).
Post # 7
@JennyW1: “Also–I don’t quite understand. Didn’t you just post on another thread that your Fiance and his family had FEWER guests on their list than your parents?? What’s going on?“
I guess if his father invited 150 people (his friends) then Fi side would still have less @ 240 guests.. but having a reception of 500+ people, many of whom we do not know (or in FI’s case do not know well) would make my day unenjoyable.
I agree that our second reception would not be a “fake” reception, but wont it be weird when 40 of the 150 were invited to our wedding ceremony/reception and the others were not?
Post # 8
If his parents want to throw and pay for a second banquet for people they kinda sorta know let them. DO NOT let them force you into paying for it.
Post # 9
@SoontobeMrsA: Thanks! I think this is what we’ll end up proposing.. I know Fiance dad wants to pay for it, but whether he’ll be able to is another question. At the end of the day, it’s none of my business how he spends his money. As long as he knows we do not expect it.. I guess that’s all that matters.
Post # 10
We’re having two receptions – one western and another Chinese.
The Chinese one will be a banquet for my extended family and family friends, and all others, while the western one will be very small.
Generally, guests will give red envelopes or cash gifts for the banquet, which helps offset the cost of the banquet. Who gets the money is a good question – there have been a few very heated posts about this issue in the East Asian branch. Some actually make a profit from holding a banquet – but I wouldn’t hold my breath – the host does get some money back because all the Chinese guests will know to bring cash gifts.
I’d recommend discussing with your in-laws (either both you and Fiance together, or Fiance with parents if it’s a sensitive issue) on who is paying for the banquet, and who will keep the money afterwards.
I wasn’t too eager about having the banquet – but since we cannot invite all of my family to our small wedding – this was the best alternative. I’m actually quite excited because it can be a lot of fun – you can play door games (when the groom picks up the bride), and some other games during the banquet where guests can get very happily drunk.. LOL Best of all is the knowledge that I am carrying on the traditions of my ancestors (albeit modernised versions of it) which my family will appreciate – and I am sure your FI’s family will too.
Post # 11
considering the situation i think a separate chinese reception for FI’s side of the family would be fine – maybe you could incorporate something tradtional in it to reflect your vows (a tea drinking ceremony???)
as far as who pays for it though is another problem – i think its unfair of your Future Father-In-Law to set these demands on you when its someone elses money
Post # 12
I think 2 receptions sounds like the way to go. Then his father can invite whomever he wants and can really honor his Chinese culture.
Post # 13
I am having the same problem as you are. I come from a traditional Chinese background where 934859823948238 family members are invited to the wedding that I have never even knew existed!
I’m going to have 2 weddings, the first one being the American way, at a venue, walking down the isle, with people Fi and I know, etc. The weekend after will be the traditional chinese wedding at at a Chinese seafood restaurant where my dad can go buck wild with the guestlist.
From what I know, in the Chinese culture, Chinese guests give red envelopes (money inside of the red envelopes) as wedding gifts. So usually, if you don’t have cheap guests, it usually pays for itself, and even if you end up short, it wouldn’t be by that much.
Hope that helps!