Behind the Wedding Scenes

So yay, the day has come at last for me to wake up and transition out of one chapter in my life and into another. It is time to plan my wedding! Woah… typing the words seems weird and not quite real yet. Yep, J proposed April 8, 2006 (around 4:10pm according to the schedule) at the Botanical Garden in San Francisco’s Golden Gate park, followed by a lovely dinner at Sutro at Cliff House and a surprise engagement party.

I’ve decided to chronicle a few things that I have found amusing about the entire wedding process. The instant that you become engaged, the same things happen to you: People ask you a lot of questions or give you advice. Also, I’ll probably get more strange wedding customs from my family. I have decided to list the things as they come.

Frequently Asked Questions
1) I know it hasn’t been long, but have you guys set a date yet? [mind you that folks asked me this the very day!]
2) Have you looked up to see which days are good luck?
3) How many people are on your guestlist?
4) Have you picked a location yet?
5) What’s your budget?
6) Have you looked for/found a dress yet? [they asked this very early on]
7) Are you going to do the tea ceremony?
8) Are you going to wear the Chinese wedding dress?
9) Do you know where you’re going to have your reception?
10) Are you going to get married in a Church?
11) What’s your wedding theme?
12) Can I see a picture of your dress? How much did you pay?
13) Have you picked your wedding party yet?
14) Are you going to hire a photographer?
15) Are you going on a honeymoon? Do you know where you’re going on your honeymoon?
16) How’s the wedding planning coming along?
17) What sort of wedding favors are you giving away?
18) Are you writing your own vows?
19) How’s the wedding planning going?
20) Have you finished your favors yet?
21) So are you all done with wedding planning yet?
22) Are you going to change your name?
23) When are you moving?
24) Will you be commuting now?
25) How did he propose?
26) What kind of ring did he give you?
After the Wedding - Frequently Asked Questions
1) How’s married life?
2) Have you gone on your honeymoon?
3) Where are you going on your honeymoon?
4) Is it alright if I ask how much you spent on the wedding?
Advice or Suggestions
1) I know it’s traditionally served at Chinese banquets, but you might want to consider not serving shark’s fin soup.
2) You might want to serve some vegetarian dishes at your wedding.
3) Keep the engagement as short as possible so that you won’t get as much interference from your parents.
4) You should turn your ring around when you’re riding on the train because someone might try to steal it.
5) It is possible to negotiate a better price for a wedding banquet. You just have to ask nicely.
6) Be sure to just take the day before your wedding to relax. Get a massage and be well rested so you can look your best.
7) It’s definitely worth the money to go to a better drycleaner so that they will pack your dress for storage properly.
8) You should just elope.
9) Your wedding is on the same day as the Cal-UCLA football game. If your ceremony and reception are at the same place, there’s nothing wrong with a 5 or 6pm start time! [my plan is for 4pm].
10) You might not think you need one, but you should get a videographer. You might regret it later if you don’t.
11) If you happen to be in Hong Kong or China, that’s a good place to get cheap things for the wedding.
12) You should wear a petticoat so that your dress will have more poof.
13) It’s important to buy your wedding shoes before getting alterations on your dress.
14) Make sure that the check-in table person gets people to sign the guestbook. People might not sign it on their own.
15) Make sure the aisle is wider than the width of 2 people. Otherwise, your dress/veil might get stuck.
16) Tire yourself out the day before so you can fall asleep better.
17) Don’t worry about the little things on the day of.
18) Have someone responsible make sure you bring the proper undergarments.
19) You should wash your hair 1 or 2 days before your wedding (as opposed to that morning) so it’s easier to work with.
20) You should put on moisterizer on the morning of your wedding so the makeup stays on better.
21) You should play ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ or else God will strike you down.

Some Chinese wedding customs my parents told me
1) If a younger sibling gets married first, then he/she must buy shoes to give to the older umarried siblings. The shoes would somehow be used to help them catch up since older siblings usually get married first.
2) It is customary for the bride’s family to pass out cookies to relatives and family friends in celebration of the wedding. For convenience, nowadays, people give gift certificates to a local bakery. Normally, the groom’s parents pay for these “cookie cards.”
3) It’s customary for the bride’s parents as well as the groom’s parents to buy a pair of gold bangle bracelets for the bride to wear. One should have a phoenix and one should have a dragon.
4) Parents of the bride are also supposed to by a blanket and a pair of those storage chests with handcarved details. If you’re Chinese, your parents probably have one in their house somewhere.
5) My grandmother says that since I am getting married before my older brothers, then I am supposed to buy them some clothes and then later when they get married, I don’t have to buy them a present.
6) On the wedding invitations, the Chinese text should be separate from the English (as opposed to mingling them) because the proper format is often differnt. In the American custom, often, the bride & groom’s names (along with parents) appear first before the date and the venue. On a Chinese invite, the date and location go first, followed by the bride & groom, then the parents’ names. And boy, you better put your parents name on there if they’re still alive…major disrespect if you don’t.
7) For the “official engagement party” that happens around 1 month before, the groom/groom’s family is supposed to bring over a roast pig and jewelry to present to the bride/bride’s family.

Magazines Galore
A large pile of borrwed magazines now occupy a corner in my room. I’ve decided to list them and share my opinion on their usefulness.

From RL
1) Bride’s - 4 issues (Sept/Oct 02; Nov/Dec 02; Mar/Apr 05; July/Aug 05)
2) Modern Bride - 2 issues (Mar/Apr 05; Aug/Sept 05) - I’d say MB has lots of pretty pictures of dresses and also some creative ideas for weddings.
3) Martha Stewart Weddings - 13 issues - (Summer 00; Winter 01; Fall 01; Winter 02; Spring 02; Summer 02; Fall 02; Winter 03; Summer 03; Fall 03; Winter 04; Winter 05; Spring 05) So far I’m really enjoying MSW. She puts in a lot of nifty ideas to personalize your wedding.
4) Bridal Guide - 1 issue (Mar/Apr 05)
5) Here Comes the Guide - 1 issue (Spring 05)
6) InStyle Weddings - 1 issue (Summer 02)
7) Modern Bride Northern California - 2 issues (Fall 02; Spring 05)
8) San Francisco Bride - 1 issue (Fall/Winter 02)
9) Wedding Style - 2 issues (Spring/Summer 05; Fall/Winter 05)

From SL
1) The Knot - 1 issue - (Spring/Summer 04)
2) Bride’s - 1 issue - (Mar/Apr 04)

From GS & KL
1) Modern Bride - 6 issues (Feb 04-Jan 05)
2) Bride’s - 6 issues (Mar 04-Feb 05)
3) Wedding Bells, SF Bay Area - 2 issues - (Spring/Summer & Fall Winter 04)
4) Here Comes the Guide - 1 issue - (Spring 05)
5) The Everything Wedding Book
6) The Everything Weddings on a Budget Book
7) Today’s Bride, Bay Area - 2 issues - (Spring 04; Winter 05)
8) The Knot Weddings, NorCal - 1 issue (Fall/Winter 05)

From JC
1) Here Comes the Guide, Northern California Location Guide, 9th Edition - A really thick book with lots of sites listed. It’s a bit overwhelming to looking at, but I can see its use.
2) The Knot Weddings - (Spring/Summer 05)
3) Here Comes the Guide Magazine (Summer 05)