(Closed) Another invite etiquette question – Chinese culture advice needed

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
Member
1697 posts
Bumble bee

@ticatica:  I am neither Chinese nor British, but I noticed that no-one else was giving you a hand here, so perhaps I can touch off some broader discussion.

An exchange colleague can be expected to realize that cultural differences exist between her own experience and her new environment.This lady (hereinafter referred to as colleague #1) has a responsibility as an exchange colleague, to be open to feedback about those differences. Your colleague (hereinafter referred to as colleague #2) who tipped you off about this lady’s expectations, is the most appropriate person to provide that feedback. Since he/she didn’t do so at first, you may ask them to take this step.

What you explain to colleague #2:

We are having an extremely small, private wedding. General friends and colleagues are not being invited. Colleague #1 may not know that there are different styles of British weddings. Since she has already broached the subject with you, will you please explain some of those differences to her, so that she doesn’t embarrass herself by turning up at any closed invitation-only social events. I would do it myself, but that would definately embarrass her. I know it is a little awkward, but you are in the right position to handle it tactfully.

What colleague #2 explains to colleague #1:

Ask her how Chinese weddings are different from British weddings — preferably when SHE brings up the matter of your wedding. Find out what she knows about British weddings. Explain that they range broadly in style and that some of them are very private. Mention that the invitation indicates the style of any social event, including weddings. A formal invitation indicates a large formal event; and informal invitation indicates a small intimate event; no invitation indicates, “of course”, that you should not be thinking of attending. Then relieve the tension by asking whether Chinese weddings also have different styles, how those styles are indicated to the guests, and how people know whether they are invited to a Chinese wedding.

Later, you buy colleague #2 a bottle of scotch to thank them for fielding the awkwardness for you.

Post # 5
Member
1361 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@ticatica:  Yes, Chinese weddings are typically huge affairs.  In Chinese culture, weddings are about the family as much, if not more, than they are about the couple, and a bigger, fancier wedding means the family is bigger and better!

Is there any way you can invite her to the reception?  I guess if you’re inviting no one from work that might not work, but I was just thinking it might be less embarassing for her if she at least gets to go to part of it. 

Post # 7
Member
385 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

I’ve only recently learned this, but in China, you legally get married right after saying yes to your engagement. Then, you plan for a huge banquet where you invite everybody you know and you all eat until you can’t eat anymore. ^_^; My dad explains things in a weird way, so I don’t know how accurate this is, lol.

Post # 8
Member
1361 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@ticatica:  Maybe you can talk to her sometime about Chinese wedding traditions…Then you could ask her questions about how big they are, what they do at the weddings, etc.  That would open the door for you to explain how your wedding will be so different because it’s much smaller and much more intimate and only family and VERY close friends you’ve known FOR YEARS are invited πŸ™‚

You could also offer to bring in all the pics and the video (if there is a video) after the fact, because maybe she just wants to see it.  I wouldn’t feel too bad, though… honestly, I don’t think this is about you and wanting to see YOU get married, just about getting to learn about another culture.

Post # 9
Member
254 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Its not automatically expected that everyone gets invited…depends on the budget too.

Each table especially at high end hotels can cost alot of money ..she’s just being one of those clueless people that assume they get invited to stuff. If you’re having a chinese banquet at the mandarine oriental and st regis in an Asian country you’re not about to just invite an acquaintance.

Though Chinese weddings can be pretty large..depending, its not a given your colleagues should go. You can just explain to her its a small wedding.

If she is from some kind of rural village maybe the rules are different…but if she’s from a city not the case.

Post # 10
Member
254 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

And by the way the ceremony for the Chinese is the tea ceremony, and its pretty much just family.

Post # 14
Member
14 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: February 2013

Hi, i do not know if you still need advice. But I gonna reply anyway =). 

I am Chinese, so I guess my advice might be helpful.

In China, expecially nowadays, people like to have big weddings, e.g. 200-300 people size. And it is pretty common to invite your colleagues. There might be two reason that I could think of, 1. You might just want to invite some close friend in the office, but it is not good to just invite them, so you end up invite everyone. 2. In China people give money as gift, so when you invited by colleagues, you have to give money each time, therefore, when you have a wedding, you want to invite everybody as they invited you before , also to get the money back =). Just imagine you have to give e.g. $100 each time you go , and you joint like 20 times, you might want to collect the money back =). 

@Sutaru:  what you said about you legally get married right after saying yes to your engagement is not true, I actually never heard about it before. =) In china, the ceremony actually can not legalize you to be married. so normally people decide to get married first, then they go to the gov. organization to officially registered, and then plan for the wedding and stuff like that. But people see their ceremony day as their real wedding day.

 

As we do not have any pre wedding dinner thing, we only have one big dinner in the ceremony day, so I guess that is why your colleague assumed that she got invited to the wedding by default. I would recommend you to just tell her about the situation, the difference, I am 100% sure that she would understand and would not get offend.  Also, actually, I do not even sure she really excited for real. As it is really common in China, especially when we talk to foreigners, we agree on most of the stuff, and also try to acting everything you say is so awesome, even though we do not think so for real. I know it is fake, but that is how the things became. As we try not to be rude, just the samething as you see a baby not cute but you have to fake it says how cute the baby is. =)

 

So just tell her, you will be fine =).

Post # 15
Member
20 posts
Newbee

I definitely second @cassiopeia1215 take on the whole issue. Although my bf said that the standard chinese wedding from where he comes from (in China) to be much more than 300; I’m pretty sure he told me its somewhere between 800-1000. He’s not from a big city and the smaller the city, the more obliged you are to invite everybody you know. So, its really not difficult for guests to ‘make the cut’. Weddings can be vastly different across cultures and I am sure she would understand once you explain the situation to her πŸ™‚

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