Post # 1
Our wedding ceremony is this year and we planned on having a reception next year. Only FIL has hijacked the thing and the SO supports him in it and demanded that we have a Chinese banquet reception. I wanted a separate reception for friends but all the venues we could afford are either taken or under renovation for next year. I am so ashamed of the Chinese banquet. My friends have been the family I needed when mine couldn’t be. But it would embarrass my family and the ILs and the SO if I said so. During the Chinese banquet, our friends are viewed by the elders as more of ‘filler guests’ and FIL told me that if I wanted a particular sort of wedding to go make my kids have it when they got married. We have to entertain relatives and parents friends and ignore our friends. This is no way to treat people who have been so important to me and I threatened to not invite my friends but the idea of not celebrating my marriage with such important people makes me want to cry. Yet the idea of putting them in the Chinese banquet makes me want to cry as well especially since I know I’ll look at the pictures and cry over how I paid for something everyone but me wanted. The SO won’t make FIL pay either because he says he’s too proud. I can’t afford a planner or decorator to make the reception site less Chinese looking.
I don’t know if I can have the banquet quietly for the ILs and then another reception in 2016 for my friends. Is that way too many receptions? The SO and FIL are against it because not inviting our friends won’t make the banquet seem grand and the ILs will lose face. (180 people not grand? Madness) they also say that my idea of a casual buffet dinner won’t get us enough red packet money to cover the costs entirely which I think is horribly tacky but I’m a minority here and I’ll be quiet.
Post # 2
I think in this situation its okay to have 2 receptions. There are a lot of people who have 2 receptions if their family’s live far from one another so why not!
Post # 3
Have two receptions. I’m assuming you’re both Chinese? I’m Chinese and DH was American. Also lots of fighting with my parents about losing face, blah blah blah. I stood my ground and ultimately split wedding into 2 – 1 wedding was family only, 1 wedding was friends only. They were 9 months apart – I would have kept them closer like just weeks apart except I was moving / job searching. Also, if you’re not paying for the wedding, you don’t really have any say. The only way to fully control a wedding is to pay for it yourself, and it sounds like you’re paying, so your SO and YOU need to be aligned. I can’t believe he’s taking his dad’s side… time to cut those apron strings!
To give you a little bit of background though, in the Chinese culture, the wedding IS about the parents, it’s not about the kids, never has, never will be, so I’m not surprised that’s what your FIL said. Each parent gets to live their dream wedding through their kids’ banquets. A wedding is there to honor the elders who brought the kids up. It’s just the way it is, but stupid right, because it just keeps cascading to the next generation.
Post # 4
iheartdrseuss: From the title of the thread I thought this was going to be a crazy case of dragging your wedding out unneccesarily but in your situation, you should definitely have two receptions! It’s quite common now for a variety of reasons and I don’t see a problem with in your case.
I do however think that if they’re not contributing, you shouldn’t be forced to do what they want. It’s YOUR wedding. Your FFIL’s idea of organising your childs wedding seems odd to me.. is that a cultural thing? If they want to pay for this Chinese banquet reception then fine, but if they’re not contributing, you’re really under no obligation to do it.
If it’s not worth the fight though, and you can manage it, have the banquet, and then host a beautiful reception with your friends and do it exactly as YOU would want it! 🙂
Post # 5
I’m wondering, what is so “horrible” about Chinese banquet halls that you don’t want your friends there at all? Yes, a lot of times it can be gaudy and tacky, but with the right kind of decorations, etc. you can make the place look very cultural and elegant. Also, the food they typically serve in banquet halls (if it’s not the cheapo nasty ones) for weddings is great food with several different courses served to your guests. I’ve been to several wedding receptions at Chinese banquet halls and the non-Asian guests got a huge kick out of eating ethnic food.
If you have to have your reception at a Chinese banquet hall, don’t be too mad. It could really be in your favor since they charge you per table (usually seats up to 10 people) it could be more cost effective, plus you won’t have to worry about center pieces.
Post # 6
I would explain to your FFIL that your friends are like family to you and you will treat them accordingly. If he wants for you to respect his culture he has to respect yours.
Post # 7
Shina: the hall we have is dreadful. She has a panel on the ceiling painted with clouds and changes color in the kind of neon colors we find in the red light districts. There’s also a HUGE floor to ceiling panel of LED lights which change in the same colors. And laser lights. And dusty centrepieces in garish red and white, purple table cloths and pink seat covers. Its like a bad 80’s flashback and then some. The coordinator was so proud of it, she accused me of not being presentable when I nixed it and the fake Styrofoam cake (literally Styrofoam), stage and champagne tower. I’m also unhappy with the coordinator because she tries at every stage to bend me to the ‘nnormal’ Chinese weddings here. The decorator quote so far for the hall are running to about 3-5000 more. I already feel guilty spending 15 on the banquet, adding more money makes me absolutely cringe, I had set out to only spend 7000 on a casual buffet in a gorgeous black and white historic bungalow.
melonseeds: yes, I was born Chinese and became a third culture kid when my parents started moving. I don’t really have much roots on the culture, I don’t even speak the language. The SO is very much atraditional Chinese boy. He says that he’s only taking the financially practical side because a separate reception may not allow us to recoup our costs due to it being not as fancy as a banquet. This living through the next generation has to stop. I said it once very plainly to FFIL and then many times to the SO and I think I’ll be repeating it like a broken record for many years to come.
Post # 8
iheartdrseuss: I think you and your SO need to agree on whether A) you want to throw the wedding that makes the two of you happy OR B) You want to throw a Chinese banquet so you can recoup the costs from red envelopes. My DH and I went with option A, but we also were willing to spend money on the wedding and not expect it to come back in gifts. It also wasn’t an easy decision to make, as my DH didn’t want to spend the money, and my parents stopped speaking to me for months (they still showed up to the wedding).
I personally think option B is what is dividing you two, so if you can’t agree on A OR B, then both of you have to sit down, rework your budget, and throw a great wedding that the both of you are willing to AFFORD. Then once you two are on the same page, do not deviate, do not let a father come in between, you two have to be united first.
Post # 9
I think you need to put your foot down and have the reception you want to have. There is no way you should be planning a reception you don’t want to have if you are footing the bill.
Post # 10
Weddings do not have to be stressful. Sit down with your SO and work on a solution. Shut FIL out of future conversations. It’s really as simple as that. Sounds like you want a buffet in a historic bungalow for your friends while SO wants the Chinese banquet for his family- this doesn’t have to be World War III.
Personally, I’m sure you will receive enough money from the banquet to cover two receptions, so just have two. FIL may grumble about 180 guests, but he’ll survive.
Post # 11
There are many significant issues here, especially regarding your ability to host and plan the affair you are paying for in the way you want. It is unfortunate that you don’t like the venue and wouldn’t have it there if it was up to you. The concerning part is not that FFIL is not on the same page as you, it’s that FI is not.
IMO you need to do some thinking about whether you are willing to sign up for a life with someone who is very traditional when it comes to his family and his role in it.
That said, I’m not sure I understand the part about not being able to entertain friends at the expense of relatives or vice versa. With a minimum of 180 people there without friends, and more with them, I don’t think you are going to have too much one on one time with anyone. It is, of course, polite to get around to everyone, but the friends you see all the time will understand that you can’t spend tons of time with them on the day and they won’t expect you to take time away from relatives you may see rarely.
But yes, if you want to have a separate friends reception at some point, that is more than OK.
Post # 12
Well, since neither of your planned events are wedding receptions, I think you’re in the clear to have as many parties as you want! (A reception immediately follows the ceremony to thank the guests for attending.) What you’re explaining sounds like anniversary parties, and that’s certainly fine to have one per year!
Post # 13
melonseeds: Can I ask about a Chinese tradition/custom –
my mothers boyfriend has a son that is engaged to a Chinese woman and she said it is tradition to live with the parents? This is going to be an issue bc now my mom will never be able move in with her BF bc her BF will rarely let her sleep over and soon she will never let her sleep over bc her BF will not let it happen being that his wife and son are going to be living in the house.
Mind you, my mom lives alone and her BF won’t sleep over my mother’s house or move in with her. I think he strings her along, but my mother is in denial and doesn’t want to leave him bc she thinks she won’t find anyone else 🙁
Post # 14
Daizy914: In China sometimes kids live with parents because houses there cost a massive amount. However, the tradition is that once you marry, you move out. The parents do see the kids as retirement, so when the parents retire, they can move back in with the kids.
I think your mother’s bf is making something up entirely
Post # 15
melonseeds: yea, I agree. And whats even more sad is that I think his son and the fiance are in on it too bc my mother had made a comment to the FI and said “if you ever need help with finding a place or planning the wedding let me know” and my mom’s BF flipped out on her saying that they will be living with him bc its Chinese tradtion.
THank you for your response.