May 4

A Bride’s Diary: Your Wedding or Your Parents’ Wedding?

Wedding Paper Divas is bursting with staff brides who are currently planning their weddings. We’re happy to share their stories with you as a part of this new feature!

Even before my fiancé and I were engaged, we dreaded talking about the subject of our wedding guest list with my parents—mainly my mom. I was never sure if my mom was joking, but she claims that she needs to invite everyone and their mother to the event. Literally.

Being American-born Chinese and not understanding why it was necessary to have a huge wedding, I have always asked her why and she responds with, “Because they invited me to their kid’s wedding.” But neither I nor my fiancé know the friend of a friend she needs to invite to our wedding, so we launched into a constant battle with neither side gaining ground. My mom even told me, “If you’re not having a big wedding, then just go to city hall and get the marriage license.” I actually considered it.

Then this dilemma got me thinking—as an American-born girl, I envision a wedding differently than my parents, who immigrated here. Maybe since weddings were often arranged in ancient China, the tradition evolved to be more about the joining of two families than about love, but I cannot imagine my wedding including more than 300 people, nor do I want to; my options of venues would be limited with that kind of guest list.

I brought up my concerns with my parents and though I wasn’t able to make a dent into their long guest list, they did, however, bring up the fact that we could always hold two banquets.

Two banquets might sound a little interesting, but they assure me that many American-born Chinese couples do the same thing (and I can see why). I would be able to have the smaller wedding I want with close family and friends, and my parents would be satisfied with the huge Chinese banquet they want. I quickly brought this up with my fiancé, but he wasn’t as accepting as I was.

He asked, “Won’t that make our first wedding, the one we want to have, not as special?” I didn’t really think about that. All I want was to somehow satisfy both my parents and my fiancé and me. And I’m sure many couples, especially ones who have destination weddings, hold two receptions for guests who couldn’t make it. This is kind of the same idea.

All in all, this experience has taught me that it’s good to start talking to parents early about your wedding plans, especially those that secretly want to be involved. Work out a compromise with them. You don’t need any more stress and headaches added to your wedding planning.

We still haven’t finalized any plans yet, but it’s nice to know that there are other options out there beyond running away to elope!

Meet Becky

Becky and Erick met eight years ago through their parents. Both of their parents were into performing Chinese Opera along with Erick, and all 3 of them were in the same opera association. During the summer of 2001, Becky volunteered to help out backstage during a performance where she first saw Erick, but he didn’t notice her at first (he claims she was never there!). The two eventually started to hang out more during the summer of 2002. They started out as friends, and then started dating when Becky joined Erick in Southern California for school. Seven years later, they’re engaged!


4 Comments   |   Posted in: Bride's Diary, Wedding Planning
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About Katie

Katie M. is a Writer at Wedding Paper Divas. She has the privilege of viewing nearly every piece of stationery before it goes up on the website, giving her the ultimate inside scoop on upcoming trends in the stationery world. She loves classic designs with a surprising twist, and enjoys finding new ways to express her ever-evolving personal style—a blend of traditional glamour and bohemian whimsy that makes Wedding Paper Divas a perfect fit! In addition to her love for writing, Katie is obsessed with health and fitness, skincare, UC Santa Barbara, all things adorable, the beach, dancing, cooking, getting real mail, fresh flowers, discount shopping, and shoes (who isn’t?). Katie is a contributing editor to Diva Dialogue. Be sure to check out her recurring feature, “Rant or Rave.”

4 thoughts on “A Bride’s Diary: Your Wedding or Your Parents’ Wedding?

  1. Netanya

    Thanks for sharing this story with us. Planning a wedding can certainly be an ordeal. There are so many aspects of planning a wedding, including but not limited to, pleasing the parents. Its good to see that many couples face this issue.

    Thanks for posting this,


  2. Elizabeth D

    This is awesome. We grappled with the same dilemma as soon as we got engaged. Coming from huge Mexican families, we can sympathize with Becky and Erick. Unfortunately in the midst of venue research my fiance’s grandmother was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and is said not to make it to the end of 2010, and of course not make it to our March 2011 wedding. So in an effort to have her be part of our union, we decided to have a small (70 people is small for us) civil ceremony in my in-laws backyard!! Our good friend was deputized for the day and conducted our ceremony (which we created!!). It was completely diy. All my friends pitched in and our families all helped with logistics. though the circumstances, are all but unfortunately, we said that things happen for a reason. we were able to have our quaint, personal ceremony with the blessing of grandma- and that was so worth it. we are still planning the religious ceremony/ reception for 300 people for march 2011, but we’re less preoccupied with the little things. 🙂 two ceremonies might be a good way of incorporating different values into our ceremony.

  3. Michelle

    As an American-born Chinese I understand your dilemma. My cousins have all started getting married and each of them do it differently.

    One cousin had a traditional wedding followed by a banquet the next day. It turns out that most of the guests who attended the banquet didn’t attend the traditional wedding so it wasn’t much bigger than the first event. In addition, a banquet (as I’m sure you know) doesn’t usually involve all the same activities as a traditional American wedding does (unless you add them) so I don’t think it would make your traditional wedding any less special. You will probably have a tea ceremony, eat lots of food and take lots of pictures while visiting with each table. No dancing, no bouquet/garter tossing…

    My sister is now getting married and she opted for the big combined wedding. She will be changing into a traditional Chinese dress halfway through the evening and doing a small tea ceremony with just parents and grandparents.

    Whatever you decide, I’m sure everything will be great! Good luck!

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