Post # 1
Everyone makes compromises w/their weddings. These are mine: I was ‘ok’ w/not getting married in the catholic church because my parents don’t practice it, my fiance & his family don’t practice (but I found a catholic priest to officiate so as to speak to my personal faith and recognition of how God plays a part in my life and future aspects of my life). I also compromised to have the wedding up in Northern Ca since it would be financially & logistically easier for my fiance’s brother (his wife & two kids) to fly in & stay at their parents house.
Is it too much to ask if my future in-laws can make a compromise for me?
My entire family is flying into Northern Cali on a Tuesday and promptly driving up to Napa straight away. Wed is my father’s 55th birthday, so we are excited to make plans to celebrate. This will be the first time in 24 yrs my entire family will be together in Cali- let alone together to celebrate my dads b-day. Thurs. is the wedding dress rehearsal. Fri is the wedding, & Sun my family will head down to San Fran for a few days then depart back home the following Wed. Sometime Wed or Thurs (before the wedding) my mom & I were hoping to have a big party at the hotel with a band celebrating my dads birthday & as a welcome to our guests who have arrived to Napa.
Here is my dilemma. My Future in-laws want a traditional chinese rehearsal dinner. They want to hold it before the wedding. I have no idea when or how to fit it in! & I do not feel it is fair asking 22 of my immediate family to drive from Napa to a chinese restaurant outside of Napa, when it isn’t something they are particularly jazzed to do. But I don’t want to exclude ppl from joining in the dinner either. My future hubby is not into the traditional aspects as his parents, but feels if his parents feel strongly about this one thing we should honor it. I just think- we have so many events to plan- I don’t want to take away the opportunity for our guests to have to feel obligated to fit this meal in before the wedding. Why can’t we do it after the wedding when our immediate family will be back in San Fran for a fews days before they depart back home?
So right now the tiff between my fiance & I, is that we have to fit in this dinner- but apparently I am being culturally insensitive (but it isn’t like I am appeasing my family either, we aren’t serving Puerto Rican food!) & apparently it would be ‘bad luck’ if we don’t do it before the wedding. **Note: the only Taiwanese members of my fiance’s family attending the wedding is his mom & dad. No other extended family from Taiwan is coming** …Well, my fiance thinks it is too much for me to ask that this dinner takes place after the wedding instead of before.
I am not saying we can’t have the dinner. It is just logistically hard to try to get everyone to drive everywhere. And we have small kids who will be on different time zone schedules (from my family and my fiance’s family).
So what do I do? Just bite the bullet and ask my family to deal with commuting all over unfamiliar roads they haven’t been to, to eat food they haven’t had themselves? My fam is not opposed to going to the dinner, but are like "darn I wanted to do this and this in Napa- but I have to stop to drive out to the middle of nowhere to eat food I wouldn’t otherwise eat- when instead I could be drinking wine & other culinary delights Napa is known for!" Or do I try to gently encourage/convince my future in-laws that it would be more convenient to hold this dinner in San Fran after the wedding, when most of my family will be heading back there anyways before they depart?
-Please be nice to me in your responses. I am not trying to say the tradition is unimportant. It’s just logistically difficult to do everything with everyone in such a small period of time-.
Post # 3
Wow! I’d say if it were ONLY putting out you and your fianceem that’d be one thing…. but to put out your whole family just to please his parents….no. I don’t think that is cultural insensitivity at all. You dad is important to you, and it soulds like you want to celebrate his day too, as well as the fact that you big family never gets to see each other.
PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN!!
You have compromised enough, and sticking to guns on this in no way makes you a bridezilla. Is there a way for just you and your FH to go up a day earlier and have the chinese reception then, just the 2 of you and his parents?
Post # 4
Sparkles, I’m sorry you are having this delimma. Maybe, though, there is a way around the situation that will work for everyone.
Can they get a caterer to come to Napa from another part of the Bay and serve dinner there? My ex-boyfriend’s sister got married in Monterey, but wanted Chinese banquet from a specfic restaurant in Oakland. We arranged to have them come and serve the food, and everyone was happy. Great food, no commute…
If that can’t work, explore Napa. Now, I don’t know Napa very well, and I know it’s not SF or Oakland in terms of Chinese food… but maybe there is someone you can work with locally.
Hopefully there will be someone in the locale who can steer you in the right direction!
I think that you should feel like you are both integrating your cultures equally… Please don’t feel bad about that!
Best of luck!
Post # 5
Having had a few arguments with my FH about familial differences, there’s a part of me that wants to say you ought to do the dinner. But realistically, I think you’re definitely in the right here. Is there any way just you and your FH could have a dinner with them before the wedding? Or would that not "count"? I *hate* to advise you to start out your marriage with making your in-laws unhappy, but I just don’t see any way to make this happen. And especially not to avoid "bad luck"! I’m a lot more of a sceptic about those kinds of things than most people, but seriously. Do what you can to honor everyone’s traditions, but not at the expense of EVERYONE ELSE.
Not to mention you’ve obviously gotten pretty far in planning the timing of all this. You’ve been engaged a while. Is this the first you’re hearing about this? If it is, they can hardly expect you to change everything after all the plans have been made. If you’ve known about it all along, well, maybe it’s your fault and you need to be more accomodating.
But yeah, as much as I hate to say it, I think you ought to put your foot down.
Post # 6
@starsparrow: I actually did ask my fiance if we could ask his parents if we could have an immediate family kind of dinner (my mom, dad, sister. His mom, dad, brother, two kids and sister-in-law) the day before my family arrived to California. His reply was that ‘it had to be‘ the night before our wedding as tradition ‘dictates’. Then I asked his parents if they minded either way. they were tentative but not objectionable to the idea- but we don’t know when my fiance’s bro is flying in (Mon, or Tues/Wed).
@doctorgirl: YES! That is the problem, Napa doesn’t seem to have a lot of chinese restaurants that can do this sort of thing. Walnut creek is thirty minutes south- which involves driving. If we do the dinner right after the rehearsal- we are actually getting married in Calistoga which is farther north of Napa so we would have to drive longer. And past some of the kids naptime to let the parents be sane enough to deal with travel, sitting and eating and driving back.
I am unsure if the hotel will let us cater in food from outside, as they have a restaurant and catering events business tied with them… I can look into it. But again- my family asked me this question which I have a hard time answering other than because it’s important to my future in laws: "Why are we having chinese food in Napa? Isn’t that what you are supposed to do in San Fran?"
@Liz.Smith: we are just starting to boil down some ideas as people are making their flight info. My fiance and I debated this whole dinner thing from day one when we knew we would be getting married up there. What I didn’t know was when my family would fly in and if a) they would start the first of their time in Nor Cal in S.F or b) go straight to Napa. They all decided to fly in and go straight to Napa so that when they leave Cali, they will stay the last of their few days in S.F. to depart.
My personal pref to appease everyone is either to eat dinner before my entire family arrives (assuming the brother and his family fly in on a Monday) or eat great chinese food after the wedding when we are in S.F. :o( My fiance seems to think I need to suck it up and just get everyone to mobilize to drive. My extended fam will do it if I ask them to (because they are cool like that), I just wanted to try to make it easy for everyone by not driving everywhere.
Post # 7
Let us know what happens…. since you aren’t Chinese, and it doesn’t sound like your Puerto Rican heritage is ‘dictating’ anything… tell that dick to stop being a dictator and have some fun with your Dad!!
Post # 8
LOL starsparrow… too funny!
I know this isn’t a big deal on the grand scheme of things. but man let me tell you- I can’t believe my fiance is so worked up about this- when he doesn’t normally get all worked up about anything related to his ethnicity. And his parents are super traditional ppl. So it’s kind of a amazing to me how two ppl (my future in laws) are holding their ground (silent but determined), and my fiance is not helping to bridge reason… But can you reason with ‘tradition’??? My friend is from Singapore- and she says they typically have these dinners AFTER the wedding.
I would also think, if you know Napa isn’t known for its culinary chinese food (unless someone has a recommendation I am unaware of- I hunted down online everywhere but can’t seem to find good reviews on any place in particular) but S.F. is known for it’s chinese food- why wouldn’t you just want to have the dinner when it is most convenient in S.F after the wedding when everyone is there?!
Post # 9
My Mother-In-Law pulled something similar- insisting that we have a bridal-party-only rehearsal dinner, even though our venue included a welcome dinner for all our Out of Town guests.
We compromised by having a cocktail hour for just the bridal party and then joined everyone else.
Can you do a similar compromise? Maybe have a luncheon banquet in the early afternoon, then the rehearsal, and in the evening the party for your dad?
It might be really crazy, but it could also help keep people happy. Also- perhaps make it clear to your guests that the banquet is not mandatory (that way if they are tired of travelling then can just skip it)?
Post # 10
I say do it in San Fran after!!! that makes so much more sense!! Girl…. don’t put 20 people out just to please 2 or 3. Do it the day after and make a big deal out of it….
"To honor FH’s heritage we will be celebrating with a traditional Chinese reception at _________ in San Francisco the afternoon following the wedding and we hope you will join us there!"
I just honestly think you have compromised a lot, and possibly because of that they think you wouldn’t mind compromising more. If you compromise of this, which is obviously important to you (and should be!) that sets a baaaadd precedence for the future!my Future Mother-In-Law and Future Father-In-Law are wonderful people, but my FH and I know from his experiences in the past that anytime you give and inch they want a mile, so we just inform them of the decisions that we make, and they go along with what we have obviously already chosen to do anyways.
Post # 11
sparkles, i have no idea what your in-laws mean about "tradition" dictating that you have a chinese banquet BEFORE the actual wedding. if you look around on the weddingbee boards and the knot, you will find plenty of asian brides or grooms in intercultural relationships who had a chinese banquet for their main reception, or even a second larger reception that was chinese banquet-style AFTER the wedding.
my parents are Taiwanese too, and my IN-LAWS happened to want to to make our rehearsal dinner a chinese banquet, but had they not done that, holding such a dinner more than one day before or even after the wedding would have been acceptable to my parents. i think your Future In-Laws are playing the "tradition" card unfairly and inaccurately. if anything, the wedding banquet is traditionally the reception dinner.
Post # 12
I have no idea what the tradition is. I can only go based off of what they claim. What I do know is it is a way for the two families to get together to represent them welcoming the couple into the family. And all I can do is to try to honor it. But it makes me feel better when I hear it isn’t always the norm that this traditional chinese dinner take place before the wedding. Because then it makes me feel like I am not being insensitive… but then they did tell my fiance if we do the dinner AFTER the wedding it would be considered "Bad Luck". <?!> Did they just make that up?
Post # 13
as a bride in an inter-racial marriage, and also as a child of Taiwanese parents, I applaud your desire and willingness to honor your FI’s heritage. nevertheless, i want to be honest, but i’m struggling to find words that are not too blunt, so please forgive me if i am not putting this delicately enough.
This "bad luck" business is NOT TRUE. Your in-laws are probably playing this card to get what they want. in fact, in chinese tradition, two or more banquets are often held if the extended families or social groups live far from each other. In that case, the groom’s family’s banquet is traditionally held first, and the bride’s family usually hosts a banquet about a week afterwards. Your ILs probably want to have their dinner first in this vein. However, ALL dinners should occur AFTER the actual wedding ceremony, so in that sense, you would be deviating from "tradition" no matter what. either way, it is certainly NOT bad luck to do it the way you have suggested (a banquet in SF the weekend afterwards)
I also consulted my mother about the specifics of your situation and how that would work in terms of chinese traditions, and she said something along the lines of "in this case, she only has one wedding, so wedding first. then she can have as many banquets as she wants."
EDIT: i’m really sorry i can’t offer you any alternatives, and that all i could do is inform you of what traditions your ILs are referring to, so that you’re better equipped to make decisions. personally, if I were in your situation, i would want my banquet in SF the day after the wedding.
Post # 14
Mrs. Bear- No what you said was extremely helpful. Everything everyone said was really therapeutic because I am trying to understand if it’s me being unrealistic/unreasonable.
I am going to chat with my fiance again and ask him to speak with his parents again. But aside from that, my mom said she didn’t want to jeapardize my future relationship with my in-laws (since it is so important to them to have the dinner the night before the wedding) and we will just hold my dad’s birthday/welcome gathering at our hotel on Wednesday. We will see if we can budget in a mini van/big bus thing to cart everyone down to a restaurant Thursday. And (if you see my other post on my SISTER DYNAMICS) I might have my sisters friend(s) help with the kids so the parents can enjoy themselves.
But it is such a relief to know that it would have been totally fine having asked and having held this dinner in San Fran when it makes more logistical (& culinary) sense.