Raoul's China Saloon (V4.0 Beta)

The Bar Room => The Love, Marriage and Family Board (ON-TOPIC) => Topic started by: Escaped Lunatic on January 17, 2011, 02:57:44 AM

Title: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on January 17, 2011, 02:57:44 AM
In December, the thought was "No problem, it's next year, plenty of time."

Oh my.  The wedding is now only 10 or so weeks away.  Insanity aplenty awaits.  Lucky for me that I'm a certified Lunatic! ahahahahah


Chapter 1.  The Dress

I didn't move to the other side of the planet and fall for a lovely Chinese girl to see her in a standard white wedding dress.  I want this to be a proper Chinese wedding party.  That means a RED dress.

There were 2 obstacles.  First, there doesn't seem to be a place to buy wedding dresses in any color, at least not one that I found.  You can use the dresses at the wedding photo studio, and some will also rent you one of their dresses for the wedding dinner.  For a country that's so proud of its heritage, the selection of traditional outfits at most photo studios is surprisingly limited. mmmmmmmmmm

Finally, we went to find a shop that could make one.  After much violence discussion, my fiancee and I settled on a pattern and a fabric.  The fitting is later this week.


Chapter 2.  Wedding Photos

China has a ratio of 1 photo studio for every 4 or 5 potential customers.  Yes, I'm quite convinced that more people work in wedding photo studios than get married in any 4 or 5 year period.  The only greater employee:customer mystery is the ratio of phone stores to people buying new phones.

I thought this would make life easy.  There's a huge concentration of these along one side of People's Park.  Simple task.  We'd just need to go to half a dozen and write down the packages, prices, and what any extras we would like will cost.  I wanted to make sure the shop had a decent selection of outfits, and that the area with the backdrops wasn't so crowded that it would be like rearranging everything in a small apartment between shots (the one where our lovely daughter had a photo shoot recently was like working in a walk-in closet).

Shop number one was very cooperative.  My fiancee was even kind enough to write in English so that I would have some clue about the conversation.  For what was offered, it seemed very expensive, but I'd already braced myself for the need to sell my internal organs on eBay spend a lot of money on this.  Things were going fine until the sales girl said that the pricing structure was confidential and we couldn't take the piece of paper out.  When asked why, she said it was so that people couldn't go from shop to shop to try to find and bargain for the best deal.

I was livid infuriated homicidal apoplectic less than pleased.  The last time I checked, shopping around for goods and services was a major part of how things worked in China.  We left.

Rather than take a chance of wasting any time, as soon as we were out the door, I jotted down as much as we could recall on another piece of paper.  Rather than take the chance of wasting time on this again, for the next shop, I kept a piece of paper and my pen below the level of the table while my fiancee questioned the sales girl and translated the pricing details.  Studio #2 had a significantly better package and the extras cost less.  The only problem was making a graceful exit without signing a contract and leaving a large cash deposit.

We almost turned around to head the other way - towards a larger group of studios, but it was lunch time and the nearest restaurants were ahead.  As we went in to eat, I saw another Studio next door.  As we left the restaurant, we looked at the outside of Studio #3 again.  It was MUCH fancier than the other two (which were both pretty nice as far as such places go), so I almost voted to skip it.  Since we were there already, we decided to take a quick look.  The initial presentation was very impressive.  We asked about prices, but the sales girl wanted to show us the outfits and the studio itself first (ah yes, first we'll make you fall in love with our costumes and sets and then it will be too late when we hit you with the HUGE price uuuuuuuuuu).

The selection of outfits was excellent.  A couple of items I thought were just backdrops or photoshopped in were real props.  The only odd thing was than a male employee was following us on the tour and never got more than an arm's length away from me.  I was really wondering what was up with that.  It turned out he was a brand new employee and was observing.  I was very impressed with what they had, but was worried how I'd deal with my fiancee's growing enthusiasm when the price was finally revealed.

We went back down to the sales area and a sheaf of papers with packages was produced.  I couldn't understand very much, but the 13,999 RMB price tag was painfully obvious.  The other studios started with their lower end packages first and then worked upwards, so I was very worried about what I'd see next when she turned the page.  To my relief, the next page had a lower price, so I resisted the urge to grab my fiancee's hand and run away screaming for a moment longer.  A few pages in, there was a package with two prices.  I asked what was up with that, and it turns out to be the big sale package at half off.  That put it close to the price of the other 2 studios.  I asked for details.  7 outfits, 5 in studio plus 2 outdoors (1 at a place that would have cost and extra 200 RMB at studio #2), a poster designed for the entrance of the restaurant where the wedding party would be held, 3 wall portraits, a couple of albums with 35 prints, a DVD, a CD, and a few other odds and ends.  Even better, the CD would have ALL the pics taken.  The other Studios wanted 25+ RMB per pic for adding any to the CD.

I'm thinking that this can't get any better.  Then my fiancee decides to start negotiating.  Some more extras get thrown in.  More negotiations and the sales girl retreats to the manager's office.  When she returns, I hear one of the words for "foreigner" a half a dozen times.  I'm wondering is this is something like "Why would some rich foreigner not be able to pay the already generously discounted price?", but it turns out that the manager decided to knock a few hundred RMB off as a special deal since they don't normally get foreign clients.

I'm happy with the whole thing, but we wanted to check one or two more places just to be sure.  Hey, if this gets better with each shop,  why not?  Escaping from the sales girl who is VERY eager to get a signature and a deposit proves challenging, but is finally managed.

Studio #4 manages to come close to #3, but can't quite match them.  Studio #5 does the same.  Each place has some unique sets and outfits, but we're only getting this done at one place.  Finally, Studio #6 can't even come close in price.  They do have the best outfits and sets, but the price is the highest of all of them.  Before we get too far away, Studio #3 has called and taken another 200 RMB off the price.

Now we let the sales girl at #3 sweat for a couple of days, then hit her up for another little extra or two before signing. ahahahahah
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Borkya on January 17, 2011, 04:15:02 AM
I'm so glad you actually explained that to us EL, cause I have been hella curious about the million of studios as well. And seeing as I'm married, and hate pictures, I'd never find out on my own.

Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: NATO on January 17, 2011, 04:55:01 AM
Wow. Sounds like a lot of hard work - trying to prevent customers from getting a better is a very alien concept. Either your product is strong, or your pricing is strong or sometimes both, if you're not confident that you're business is good at either of these then what are you doing in business? Anyway sounds like you got yourselves a good deal besides, I'm sure it will be worth the effort in the end.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Granny Mae on January 17, 2011, 05:23:40 AM
EL you're either a bloody saint or you truly are nuts! I get exhausted just reading about all the hoops you jump through! ahahahahah I must admit to being  a slack young ababababab lady when I married in 1967. I left it all up to my mum and my aunty;I thought this was how it was done. They arranged everything from go to whoa. My haistyle,my borrowed white dress,the minister, the invitations,photographer etc,etc. I only came down from out West a few days before the wedding. Yeah! I have changed my attitudes a lot over the last forty odd years. ahahahahah I'd just go to a Registry Office now. bfbfbfbfbf ahahahahah Can't wait to see your photos! bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: The Local Dialect on January 17, 2011, 05:41:29 AM
If you think visiting the studios was exhausting, wait till you take the pictures! That had to have been one of the longest days of my entire life. We were at the studio and out shooting the outdoors pictures from early morning until well after dark. We only had 4 outfits and when it came time to choose pictures we ended up completely scrapping all of the pictures taken in one of the outfits. You get poked and prodded and dressed and undressed and by the end of it you swear your marriage is going to last forever because you never want to go through that again!

We only spent about 2000RMB on our package if I remember correctly (we only got one big print, a poster, 2 albums and then a bunch of table-top photos), although we went to a nice place in Kunming that offered some extremely expensive packages. I knew a couple that spent about 20K RMB on theirs but really, after about 5k RMB or so I think the returns are sort of diminishing on these packages. You only really need so many pictures of yourself afterall and unless you live in a mansion you end up with no place to put them -- especially when you have kids' pictures to take up space as well.

I can't wait to see your pics EL, you'll have to post some when all is said and done.   
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on January 17, 2011, 06:35:45 AM
Looks like I'm going to get a nice package for around 4k, depending on how many things we add and how well my fiancee can negotiate.

Yeah, 5 on-site plus 2 off-site locations will end up taking up a whole day.  We're going to do it after Spring Festival.  If we wear the outfits we plan to use for the wedding itself for the first round, that saves us one costume change.

I'm told that it's forbidden to bring along one's own camera.  Think I'll send a friend or two with high zoom cameras to at least one of the outdoor photo shoots (I always snap pics when I walk by a wedding photo session, so someone taking pics of us from a distance won't arouse too many suspicions).  I'd love some candid shots of us arguing with the photo crew. ahahahahah

I'm going to hold off on naming (and endorsing or condemning) the shop until after I see the results.  I may end up regretting trying to save a few RMB or I may have the best deal in town.  It's too early to tell.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Day Dreamer on January 17, 2011, 07:34:30 AM
my borrowed white dress  

 mmmmmmmmmm  really?


 ahahahahah ahahahahah ahahahahah ahahahahah ahahahahah
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Day Dreamer on January 17, 2011, 07:38:59 AM
Don't forget to budget for the invitations. Where's mine? I wanna come and laugh at you toast the happy couple
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on January 17, 2011, 09:53:57 AM
Invitations?  Let's see - how much does a pack of post-it notes and a pen cost in this town? ahahahahah
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on January 21, 2011, 03:04:58 AM
Chapter 3  The fitting

Amazingly, this went very well.  No alterations were needed.  I wanted something a little more ornate, but at least it's a mostly traditional red Chinese qipao.

Pics will be forthcoming soon.

Afterwards, I was unceremoniously dragged to the shops above Walmart to add another Chinese jacket to my collection.  At least I'll have plenty of my own stuff to wear if the wedding photo place is running short on male outfits that day. ahahahahah

Now I just need a trench coat to wear over my nice Chinese stuff when I'm outdoors while we visit her hometown for Spring Festival.  Rumor has it that at this time of year in her hometown, water can actually turn solid just by being exposed to the air.
 aoaoaoaoao

I'm hoping to finalize the contract with the wedding photo place this weekend.  I wonder if our sales girl is ready to toss in another freebie to two yet.  I may have to restrain my darling a bit so that we don't put the shop out of business. uuuuuuuuuu
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Stil on January 21, 2011, 03:13:58 AM

 Rumor has it that at this time of year in her hometown, water can actually turn solid just by being exposed to the air.
 aoaoaoaoao


Not a rumour dude. I put things in the fridge to keep from freezing. If wash a piece of meat you need to cut it up right away and cook it because if you leave it on the counter to long it will be solid.

Usually it's colder inside than outside during the daytime but fortunately with all the visitors and cooking going on it might warm up to 5-6C inside. Stay near the foot stoves.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Borkya on January 22, 2011, 02:07:15 AM
I've stopped storing things in the fridge because it is just as cold, if not colder, in the kitchen. And I live in SOUTHERN china!
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Granny Mae on January 23, 2011, 04:23:18 AM

Not a rumour dude. I put things in the fridge to keep from freezing. If wash a piece of meat you need to cut it up right away and cook it because if you leave it on the counter to long it will be solid.

Hey guys, this leads me to,um,a rather embarrassing  question apapapapap  aoaoaoaoao Err,Um, You do have RELIABLE heating in the sleeping areas?
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on January 23, 2011, 05:11:49 AM
I have a pair of Da 2P rated ACs in the main room that can also heat.  I've also got an electric space heater.

Not sure how those who live farther north cope.  Guess I'll find out when we go to Jianxi in a week.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on January 23, 2011, 05:35:38 AM
Chapter 4.  The Wedding Photo Contract.

With Spring Festival looming over us, I wanted to get the wedding photo contract finalized.  Some of my fiancee's friends suggested waiting until later, since the studio might go out of business over the holidays.  My thought was that I'm VERY pleased with the offer, and wanted to lock it down in case the sales girl didn't come back after the holidays.  I've known more than one girl who went to her hometown for the holidays and didn't come back because her family pushed her into a marriage, and didn't want to have to redo this whole thing from scratch.

With our lovely daughter in tow, we stopped by our selected studio. My fiancee kept badgering the sales girl for items and upgrades.  We're now getting a lovely gold marriage certificate in a glass frame and also got a free upgrade the frame on the smallest of the 3 portraits to a much more expensive style.  She was about to go for a 3rd photo album, but finally relented when she saw that the sales girl was almost in tears.

Our sales girl wanted 2000 RMB for a deposit.  Happily, my fiancee managed to get this knocked down to 1000 RMB.  Considering that I only had 1800 in my wallet and won't get paid again until after we leave for Spring Festival, this was a good thing.  Also, the thought of losing 1000 RMB if the photo studio disappears is only half as painful as the though of losing 2000.

As a side benefit of bringing our dearest darling with us, we got to take another tour of the studio, this time without a new employee trying to act as my personal shadow.  We've already begun selecting which sets and outfits would go together best.  Since there will be seven different settings, there will be at least one involving the ultimate rarely observed item - me in a suit.  The most recent time that this was seen was many years ago when I was best man at a friend's wedding.  My fiancee also wants a least one or two uses of a white dress as part of this.

Once we're back from Spring Festival, we'll select a day for the shoot and do final selection of outfits a day or two before.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: china-matt on January 23, 2011, 04:47:36 PM
Hope you're prepared for the fun of wedding-photo-appropriate attire. Most choices range from "That's ugly" to "That's unbelievable ugly" to "What circus threw that out?"
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on January 24, 2011, 02:11:13 AM
I've already done a quick look through the limited supply of menswear they have.  Looks like I'll be bringing along some of my nicer Chinese jackets to supplement what they have.  For my fiancee and daughter, there's a much wider selection available.

I do like some of the uniforms that look like they were stolen straight off the album cover of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.  ahahahahah

Beyond that, I'm planning to use one very formal black suit, one white Chinese-style suit, and a black pinstripe suit if they have it.  Then it's probably down to what sorts of things I can come up with out of my own collection.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: The Local Dialect on January 24, 2011, 03:30:58 AM
EL, those photo people will fight you tooth and nail about what to wear. I wasn't really allowed to "choose" the outfits so much as they were chosen for me. I guess they like to mix up the sets a bit and there are only certain "looks" that will go with certain sets and whatnot. I don't know. All I know is that the people who dress you are kind of dictatorial when it comes to those things. I wouldn't bring my own clothes unless you want to start a riot. You're paying for the "privilege" of wearing their ugly-ass clothes afterall. I would just go with the flow. The results are usually pretty decent, even if a little "Prom Night Class of '85."

Also, when they're processing your photo albums, after you see the proofs, tell them clearly, and make them write it down, that no English is to be written on your albums or else you'll end up with pages full of Chinglish. Chinese people like this, but you, as an English speaker, will obviously not find it so charming. If they must write cute little sayings and such (and they must) make them do it in Chinese.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on January 24, 2011, 10:50:18 AM
We've already made it VERY plain to them in advance that some of the wardrobe and accessories will be our personal items.  I wonder how good one of the family swords would look with those silly uniforms? ahahahahah

Yeah, I've seen the Chinglish and randomly selected song lyrics in albums.  I'll do what I can, but may get trapped on that. kkkkkkkkkk
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: BrandeX on January 26, 2011, 03:04:28 PM
Wedding dresses are sold outside the subway station right before Haizhu square stop here in Guangzhou (for anyone's future reference),I forget the name of that stop atm. When you exit the station, there is 40+ wedding shops in the area outside along the streets and in the mall. There is probably this kind of "wedding city" in most large cities.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on January 28, 2011, 03:39:13 AM
Chapter 5.  The Guest List.

My darling fiancee and I were chatting about the wedding dinner.  She said, "We should only need 2 or 3 tables." (at 10 people per table).  Holy Abacus, Batman!  That can't be right!

Let's see...  There's my good friend and landlord, his lovely wife, and their daughter (my niece).  In other places, this would count as 3 people, but then there are his brothers, uncles, cousins, father, and assorted wives, children, and girlfriends of each.  Rough estimate is 20 (2 tables)

Other friends amongst my villagers include a couple of drinking buddies, some neighbors, and the local sector "top Dude".  If I'm lucky, this is only 1 table worth.  Might end up being 2.

Her former neighbors, some relatives in town, and a few coworkers.  About 2 tables.

My Chinese friends.  If I restrict this to A-List only, 1 table.  Otherwise, 2 tables.

That gets us to 6-8 tables.

Yesterday I was at the board meeting of my local charity group.  My fiancee wasn't available, so I brought a close friend to translate (everyone else is local, so they were speaking in Dongguan-style Cantonese).  I carefully explained to her that I really liked all the people there, but I wanted to only invite the guy in charge of the charity.  This is because I'll need charity myself if if the guest list keeps growing.  The plan was to wait until the meeting broke up and to quietly invite him.  As soon as the official business was over and the general chatting started, she managed to mention my upcoming wedding so that everyone heard.  After a quick round of congratulations, I ended up with another table full of people.

That makes 7-9 tables.  Last night my darling asked if I could drag some foreigners to the wedding since that would give her more face.  I told her that I understood that having a foreigner or two at a social function might give face, but how could having extra foreigners at a wedding where she was marrying a foreigner help any.  She said that she thinks of me as Chinese (another reason why I love her so much ajajajajaj).  I thanked her for the compliment, but pointed out that not too many of the guests share that opinion.  I'm not sure where this is going to end up.

My worry now is two-fold.  First, this is getting freakishly large (and EXPENSIVE).  Second, I've already found that RSVP on party invitations isn't exactly reliable in China.  What happens if I've got 7 (or 8 or 9 or 10) tables set up and then get a bunch of last minute no-shows?  It would be embarrassing to have all those tables ready (and paid for) and have a bunch of them be empty. aqaqaqaqaq

2 months and 5 days left.  WHEEEEE!!!!

I'm going downtown now with my beggar's bowl to raise some funds to pay for all of this. ananananan

Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: BrandeX on January 28, 2011, 12:34:13 PM
There have been several "empties" at the weddings I have been to.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: The Local Dialect on January 28, 2011, 01:26:55 PM
You'll have no shows for sure, but you'll also have random tag alongs. I've attended quite a few weddings I wasn't actually invited to. This is sort of expected. The head count is a rough estimate at best.

But in any case EL, if you can get away with 6-8 tables you're doing really well. We had over 20 tables at our wedding. Granted, we held it in my husband's village so it was a lot cheaper, but I've been to weddings with 50-100 tables. When we had our second mini wedding in the city we had 3 tables and that was inviting only our very best friends who also couldn't make it to the village wedding. Chinese friends add up. You also have to factor in the guanxi thing -- there's a certain ettiquite to how invitations are handed out. If you've ever been invited to a wedding you need to invite that couple to yours, for instance. You should invite everyone you work with, either that, or invite no one. Also allow your fiance's family (if you have in-laws? Not just parents in law either -- my brothers in law, well, really their wives, invited people we don't even know to our wedding!) to invite anyone who is important to them or who they need to cultivate. They're probably already doing this

Keep in mind too that if you're having a city wedding you're likely to more than break even on the wedding expenses in the form of the hong bao you get back, and the more guests the more hong bao (what you get from each table should, in theory, exceed what you put out). While you don't want to have some huge 100 table extravaganza you also don't want to limit the guest list too much. There's really no such thing as an intimate Chinese wedding banquet, they're rather rowdy affairs, so the more the merrier.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on January 30, 2011, 09:35:19 AM
Most of her family is in Jiangxi, other than an uncle and his family in Dongguan.  We should know soon if any plan to make it down or would prefer a smaller party later.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Ivy on February 01, 2011, 05:00:20 PM
I cant wait to see pictures of this wedding!!!

In December, the thought was "No problem, it's next year, plenty of time."

Oh my.  The wedding is now only 10 or so weeks away.  Insanity aplenty awaits.  Lucky for me that I'm a certified Lunatic! ahahahahah


Chapter 1.  The Dress

I didn't move to the other side of the planet and fall for a lovely Chinese girl to see her in a standard white wedding dress.  I want this to be a proper Chinese wedding party.  That means a RED dress.

There were 2 obstacles.  First, there doesn't seem to be a place to buy wedding dresses in any color, at least not one that I found.  You can use the dresses at the wedding photo studio, and some will also rend you one of their dresses for the wedding dinner.  For a country that's so proud of its heritage, the selection of traditional outfits at most photo studios is limited.

Finally, we went to find a shop that could make one.  After much violence discussion, my fiancee and I settled on a pattern and a fabric.  The fitting is later this week.


Chapter 2.  Wedding Photos

China has a ratio of 1 photo studio for every 4 or 5 potential customers.  Yes, I'm quite convinced that more people work in wedding photo studios than get married in any 4 or 5 year period.  The only greater employee:customer mystery is the ratio of phone stores to people buying new phones.

I thought this would make life easy.  There's a huge concentration of these along one side of People's Park.  Simple task.  We'd just need to go to half a dozen and write down the packages, prices, and what any extras we would like will cost.  I wanted to make sure the shop had a decent selection of outfits, and that the area with the backdrops wasn't so crowded that it would be like rearranging everything in a small apartment between shots (the one where our lovely daughter had a photo shoot recently was like working in a walk-in closet).

Shop number one was very cooperative.  My fiancee was even kind enough to write in English so that I would have some clue about the conversation.  For what was offered, it seemed very expensive, but I'd already braced myself for the need to sell my internal organs on eBay spend a lot of money on this.  Things were going fine until the sales girl said that the pricing structure was confidential and we couldn't take the piece of paper out.  When asked why, she said it was so that people couldn't go from shop to shop to try to find and bargain for the best deal.

I was livid infuriated homicidal apoplectic less than pleased.  The last time I checked, shopping around for goods and services was a major part of how things worked in China.  We left.

Rather than take a chance of wasting any time, as soon as we were out the door, I jotted down as much as we could recall on another piece of paper.  Rather than take the chance of wasting time on this again, for the next shop, I kept a piece of paper and my pen below the level of the table while my fiancee questioned the sales girl and translated the pricing details.  Studio #2 had a significantly better package and the extras cost less.  The only problem was making a graceful exit without signing a contract and leaving a large cash deposit.

We almost turned around to head the other way - towards a larger group of studios, but it was lunch time and the nearest restaurants were ahead.  As we went in to eat, I saw another Studio next door.  As we left the restaurant, we looked at the outside of Studio #3 again.  It was MUCH fancier than the other two (which were both pretty nice as far as such places go), so I almost voted to skip it.  Since we were there already, we decided to take a quick look.  The initial presentation was very impressive.  We asked about prices, but the sales girl wanted to show us the outfits and the studio itself first (ah yes, first we'll make you fall in love with our costumes and sets and then it will be too late when we hit you with the HUGE price).

The selection of outfits was excellent.  A couple of items I thought were just backdrops or photoshopped in were real props.  The only odd thing was than a male employee was following us on the tour and never got more than an arm length away from me.  I was really wondering what was up with that.  It turned out he was a brand new employee and was observing.  I was very impressed with what they had, but was worried how I'd deal with my fiancee's growing enthusiasm when the price was finally revealed.

We went back down to the sales area and a sheaf of papers with packages was produced.  I couldn't understand very much, but the 13,999 RMB price was painfully obvious.  The other studios started with their lower end packages and then worked upwards, so I was very worried when she turned the page.  To my relief, the next page had a lower price, so I resisted the urge to grab my fiancee's hand and run away screaming for a moment longer.  A few pages in, there was a package with two prices.  I asked what was up with that, and it turns out to be the big sale package at half off.  That put it close to the price of the other 2 studios.  I asked for details.  7 outfits, 5 in studio plus 2 outdoor (1 at a place that would have cost and extra 200 RMB at studio #2), a poster designed for the entrance of the restaurant where the wedding party would be held, 3 wall portraits, a couple of albums with 35 prints each, a DVD, a CD, and a few other odds and ends.  Even better, the CD would have ALL the pics taken.  The other Studios wanted 25+ RMB per pic for adding any to the CD.

I'm thinking that this can't get any better.  Then my fiancee decides to start negotiating.  Some more extras get thrown in.  More negotiations and the sales girl retreats to the manager's office.  When she returns, I hear one of the words for "foreigner" a half a dozen times.  I'm wondering is this is something like "Why would some rich foreigner not be able to pay the already generously discounted price?", but it turns out that the manager decided to knock a few hundred RMB off as a special deal since they don't normally get foreign clients.

I'm happy with the whole thing, but want to check one or two more places just to be sure.  Hey, this gets better with each shop, so why not.  Escaping from the sales girl who is VERY eager to get a signature and a deposit proves challenging, but is finally managed.

Studio #4 manages to come close to #3, but can't quite match them.  Studio #5 does the same.  Each place has some unique sets and outfits, but we're only getting this done at one place.  Finally, Studio #6 can't even come close in price.  They do have the best outfits and sets, but the price is the highest of all of them.  Before we get too far away, Studio #3 has called and taken another 200 RMB off the price.

Now we let the sales girl at #3 sweat for a couple of days, then hit her up for another little extra or two before signing. ahahahahah

Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Mr Nobody on February 17, 2011, 12:38:42 AM
I managed to avoid the whole silly photo thing by turning up. NOthing they had fitted. Sometimes it's good to be a giant.

Good luck EL, and a good future.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on February 21, 2011, 07:28:35 AM
Chapter 6.  Selecting the Restaurant.

The growing guest list had me considering which internal organs to sell on ebay considering how I'm going to afford to pay for the meal.  I know the odds are that a significant part will be covered by hongbao delivered by the guests, but I didn't really want to be sitting there ripping open each envelope as it was handed over and be calculating if I would have enough cash by the time the bill was due.

On Thursday, I was discussing restaurants with my intended, and suggested we need to pick one during the weekend.  She asked what the rush was, since the wedding isn't for 6 weeks.  I pointed out that we can't send the invitations out without having a location selected.  I also mentioned that other couples would be booking restaurants about 5 or 6 weeks out, so we could end up not having a room even if we found the perfect place.  She agreed we'd go hunting on Saturday morning.

One of the first places she'd been considering was the Dongguan Family Restaurant (family members cooked any way you like) at 13 Bowls (a large collection of restaurants in DG).  I suggested we get dropped off at the other end of 13 Bowls just so we could walk past the other places and see if any of them were big enough.  There was one Hunan place that looked like it could handle it, but sadly she vetoed that suggestion.

We got to the other end and managed to get the official "party menu".  Prices per table ranged from "not too bad" up to "I guess I can sell both kidneys."  When I asked, I was told the main price difference had something to do with the higher end selections having more expensive ingredients and (MUCH more importantly) more auspicious names for the dishes. bjbjbjbjbj

The bad news was that my dearest one had for some reason decided she really wanted to check the options as a super-expensive hotel.  The good news is that she'd heard of a buffet place closer to the shopping district that we could check on the way to the hotel.

The buffet place had 2 HUGE advantages.  First, they charge per person, not per table.  One of my big worries is that I'll end up with a bunch of no-shows and people will spread out over the full number of tables anyway.  The other advantage is that it's less than 70 RMB per person for lunch.  That's more than I usually spend on a meal in China, but far less than a typical wedding banquet.  There was a private room that can easily hold 80 people.  They offered to throw in a wedding cake.


My darling did seem to like the buffet place, but still wanted to check out the hotel.  The hotel had a buffet option - for about 190 RMB per person.  The private room was long and narrow, had glass walls, and went down one side of the restaurant for that full fishbowl effect.  It was also already booked.  The hotel had a Chinese restaurant.  We checked their party menu.  Prices started from "I guess I can sell both kidneys" and went up to "If I rob a bank, I can then afford the deposit and should have just enough money left to build my own meth lab.  If I can get my friends to all work for free as street level dealers from now until the wedding, this just might work out."  Happily, my darling decided that Breaking Bad was far better to watch on DVD than to act out in real life and decided to skip the hotel.

This left us with the buffet and a Hunan place as a backup.  My darling was leaning pretty hard towards the buffet, but I did point out that there was one thing we should carefully check out first.  Just because there's a great variety of food doesn't mean that it's good.  After some debate over "what if I like it and you hate it?" we decided we'd need a tie breaking vote.  We collected our lovely daughter from her other parents and went to the buffet for dinner.

I've had better food, but it wasn't bad overall, and there was a huge variety.  That evening, my darling and I decided to discuss the advantages/disadvantages.

Advantage/disadvantage:
Price.  My wallet sees this as a huge advantage.  The danger is that guests might interpret it as being too cheap.

Advantages:
Due to price, I can go for some much nicer baijiu.  Some special, famous, auspicious brand to make up for the lower price of the meal.  jjjjjjjjjj
At a normal party with all the food/drink being served per table, I'd have a bottle of baijiu and a bottle of hongjiu on each table.  In the end, I'd have a bunch of opened bottles ranging from empty to almost full.  Also, each bottle needs to be the same type. With this setup, I can designate a side table as the wet bar, have several different types of baijiu and hongjui, and still end up with fewer partial bottles by the end of the meal.

Disadvantages:
There are two entrances to the restaurant.  This could make greeting guests a little complicated.
Everyone would continuously be running in and out of the room to get food.
Lunch ends at 3 PM with no option to linger.  Oh wait, maybe that's an advantage. agagagagag

We went back on Sunday afternoon and booked the room.

There's another advantage to the location.  There's a hotel about 150 m away.  We went there and checked out the suites.  Looks like it will do nicely for the wedding night. afafafafaf
And one more.  There's a KTV within walking distance.  For those who just haven't had enough partying when lunch ends at 3, the after-party can be at the KTV room. jjjjjjjjjj
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Day Dreamer on February 21, 2011, 01:26:56 PM
Lunch ends at 3 PM with no option to linger.  Oh wait, maybe that's an advantage. agagagagag

Have you never been to a social function in China? 3 seconds after their last bite, tables just get up to leave. No dessert table, after meal coffee, or chicken dance. Only the bride and groom passing out cigarettes.

BTW - where's my invite    ananananan. If I can't come you don't get your red envelope and I mean it    bjbjbjbjbj
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: china-matt on February 21, 2011, 03:06:54 PM
An after-wedding-reception KTV outing is fun. I did that--we had a huge room with a giant screen and a foosball table. It can get pricey if you're not in the right neighborhood (we were in the middle of nowhere, so it was cheap).
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on February 22, 2011, 02:25:17 AM
DD, maybe "normal" Chinese people eat and run, but this is Guangdong, the land of the never ending social engagement.  If you get invited to "morning tea", it's not just tea.  It's 2-4 hour of tea and dim sum snacks.  I have a lot of friends in the village, but try not to visit with them too often, since just saying "hello" can take an hour.

My KTV plan is to reserve the largest vip room from 3-6 pm, shell out for snacks and drinks, sing a few songs, then retreat to the honeymoon suite with my darling.


So, are any of you wankers really plotting to attend on April 2nd?  Out of about 10 occasions when I've invited evil foreigners to a party, only one ever showed up - one time.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: The Local Dialect on February 22, 2011, 02:56:03 AM
EL, ask your wife if any of the guests plan to 闹洞房 (nao dong fang). They might not as it is her second marriage but you definitely want to be prepared if that is going to happen.  aoaoaoaoao
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on February 22, 2011, 03:10:54 AM
Er, had to look up 闹洞房, but am finding multiple definitions.  Are you talking about friends coming back to the honeymoon suite and offering "helpful suggestions"?
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: The Local Dialect on February 22, 2011, 04:45:52 AM
Yeah, friends will come to the honeymoon suite and tease, harass, and play sexual games with the new couple, I guess depending on how well the couple goes along with it. Some brides are reduced to tears because of the perverted stuff their friends try to make them do!

When I got married I was adamant that there would be no 闹洞房 allowed after our wedding. Village weddings can get pretty out of hand in this regard and I wanted to nip any hint of it in the bud. Luckily my husband's friend and family either listened to him or were just intimidated by my foreign-ness but no one tried any funny business.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Day Dreamer on February 22, 2011, 01:50:29 PM
Hey EL, I love traveling and sometimes I just need a silly excuse. I'm already planning on going to either Shanghai (higher odds) or Beijing for a foreigners job fair in mid April. So as it stands, I'm 50-50 about your wedding. But once I say yes, you better book me a room at the hotel and a chair at the hall for the VIPs (Very Ignorant Partyanimals)

I would also love to meet up with other sa loonies. Up until now, its been all good
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on February 23, 2011, 12:30:22 AM
Yeah, friends will come to the honeymoon suite and tease, harass, and play sexual games with the new couple, I guess depending on how well the couple goes along with it. Some brides are reduced to tears because of the perverted stuff their friends try to make them do!

Sounds utterly delightful.  I wonder how many of my favorite Chinese girls would like to come in and make kinky suggestions. I've been dying to know just how perverted those "traditional" girls really are and would be very happy to put on a show for them. afafafafaf

Hey EL, I love traveling and sometimes I just need a silly excuse. I'm already planning on going to either Shanghai (higher odds) or Beijing for a foreigners job fair in mid April. So as it stands, I'm 50-50 about your wedding. But once I say yes, you better book me a room at the hotel and a chair at the hall for the VIPs (Very Ignorant Partyanimals)

Let me check and see if they have any space for your sleeping bag under the reception desk. ahahahahah
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on March 01, 2011, 08:50:08 AM
Chapter 7.  Shop till you drop.  Keep shopping till you die.

We did some test fittings at the wedding photo place.  My darling looked magnificent in almost everything.  So many of the qipaos looked like they'd been custom fitted for her. ajajajajaj

Then I tried to squeeze into a few things.  Sadly, they seemed mostly sized to fit smaller local guys. ananananan ananananan ananananan

There were a few things that would fit, but only a few.  It was time for an emergency shopping run.  We went back to where my darling had her qipao made.  After some debate, we ordered a matching shirt for me made from the same fabric.  It's going to end up being less than 200 RMB.

They had a round collared (Mao-style) dress suit I'd been admiring on previous visits.  This left a dilemma.  What kind of shirt do you wear with a round collared suit.  Happily, they had round collared shirts.  Nothing was quite my size, so measurements were taken.  Now I'm just hoping everything is done by Thursday night, since the photo shoot is on Friday and Saturday.


Next came the invitations.  We found some we liked, but the shop didn't have enough.  They said to come back in 2 hours.  We waited while they called their supplier to be certain that they could get more of the same invites - they claimed they could. We then wandered around downtown for 2 hours, looking at other things - like wedding bedding.  Not sure what to do with the auspicious looking red sheets after the wedding, but I guess we could break them out each year for our anniversary.

We came back to the stationary store after 2 hours.  Somehow, it turns out that their supplier couldn't get the same invitations. llllllllll llllllllll llllllllll

We checked a few other places.  No one had enough of any style we liked, and I wasn't going to waste another two hours for nothing.

Finally, we ended up at the XinHua bookstore downtown.  At last, large supplies of invitations and envelopes.  100 RMB later and we had more than enough.

What's left to buy?  Errrr.... wedding bedding, wedding rings, lots of other odds and ends.

Right now, I'm just focused on surviving the photo shoot.  When we were looking at outfits, I was discussing with my darling which clothing would match which backdrops.  She translated some of that to the people at the shop and they were shocked.  It seems that the "normal" procedure is for us to pick outfits (that may or may not match each other) and the photographer would then select a background that would match what we were wearing.  A client picking a costume to match a background was completely unheard of. mmmmmmmmmm

Happily, when Chinese people see my hair and beard, they immediately assume I'm an artist of some sort. ababababab  I'm going to have my darling let the photographer know that I am an artist, and that I will be selecting all the backgrounds.  I'll be willing to consider the photographer's suggestions for poses, but won't feel obligated to comply and may very well do some directing myself.

I've asked her to explain that I'm a very nice person, unless provoked. uuuuuuuuuu

Oh wait.  I need some shoes and a belt.  I don't trust the photo place to have either in my size. asasasasas

Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: china-matt on March 04, 2011, 01:06:00 PM
Just as an aside to this thread, I saw some costs of average weddings in the US. In NYC it costs over $70,000. The rest of the US has an average wedding cost of about $27,000. When I factor in the tailored tuxedo, my wife's tailored qipao, photos (before and during), and travel, my wedding cost less than $3000...and the reception was held at a 5-star hotel. Definitely got lucky on that one.

Good luck planning yours, EL.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on March 07, 2011, 07:08:46 AM
Chapter 8.  Clothes, Photos, Swords, and the World's Most Unsubtle Spy.

The big photo shoot was on Friday and Saturday.  Thursday was busy.  The recently ordered a traditional Chinese red shirt to match my darling's qipao and a black Mao suit were both supposed to be ready on Thursday evening.  The wedding studio had strict rules against bringing cameras to any photo shoots, so I arranged to meet a dear friend and former student at lunchtime to prepare her for a spy mission.

(Cue theme music from Mission Impossible)

My agent, code-named Cantonese Twin 2, was to get to one of the outdoor photo shoot locations early and take pics from a discrete distance, taking full advantage of the 12x zoom on the camera so that the photo crew would never notice her.  I met her, took her to the historic buildings were the pics would be taken, showed her how to operate the camera (my camera even has an EASY button - some day I'll read the friendly manual and turn that setting off), and carefully explained the full mission details, making it very plain that she needed to make full use of the plentiful cover so she could take the photos while remaining undetected.

(This tape will self-destruct in 5 seconds.)

I then went home to finish up work while waiting for my darling fiancee to get done with her workday.

The plan for Thursday evening was simple - dinner in town, collect the clothing, then go to the photo studio to make final selections and reservations for clothing.

We had dinner at one of the snack stalls near Women's Street.  I was a little suspicious of the origin of some of the meat, but decided that Don't ask, don't tell would be the best policy.  There are some Chinese cuisine mysteries best left unexplored. aqaqaqaqaq

The dressmaker/tailor shop was only a short walk away.  We came in, presented the receipts, and were met with a questioning look by the guy who was there (he wasn't in the shop the night the clothes were ordered).  While I was contemplating the best options for absolute panic (I'd mostly narrowed my choices to having a fatal heart attack or making something to wear out of the clerk's skin), my darling decided not to take "I'm clueless" for an answer and started aggressively digging through the rack of custom ordered clothing.  She found my suit and the white shirt that came with it quickly, but the red Chinese outfit was still missing. amamamamam

I tried on the suit.  I think the pants are a tiny bit too long, but decided they would do.  Everything else was perfect.  While this was going on, another clerk came in and examined the receipt for the red shirt and sent the first clerk scurrying down a nearby alley (perhaps to the Instant Clothing Manufacturing Center?).  Five minutes later, my shirt arrived.  One less problem in the universe. agagagagag

We then went to the wedding studio.  After a little bit lot of begging crying wheedling discussion, my darling finally agreed to my request to wear the really silly cool matching uniforms that looked like they came off the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover for one of the 7 photo scenes.  She kept debating about what she'd wear for some other scenes.  I went through EVERY white suit they had, trying to find a round-collared Mao suit large enough that I could breath while wearing it and a regular white one for to match the white wedding dress she would be wearing in the other outdoor photo shoot.

Final choices were:

Friday (outdoors):
Scene 1, park with traditional old buildings downtown.  Our matching red outfits, plus our beautiful daughter in a red qipao.

Scene 2, park with a lake and some bamboo groves (maybe other things - had only seen a few pictures that place).  White wedding dress for her, white suit for me.

Saturday (inside the studio):
Scene 3, Fake backdrop with Chinese doorway decorated for New Years.  Traditional red outfits from studio collection for both of us.

Scene 4, Gold gates with darkened background.  Silly uniforms for both of us.  Our darling would be in some with a short white dress.

Scene 5, The loooooong blue sofa.  White dress for her with loooooong train on it.  A different uniform (only slightly silly for me).  Our darling would still be in the white dress from Scene 4.

Scene 6, White bed with white lace canopy.  Different white dress for my fiancee.  Me in a white Mao suit.

Scene 7, dark and plush building interior set.  My darling in a qipao.  Me in my black Mao suit.

All the clothing was supposed to be reserved and put in a separate location so we wouldn't be fighting with others for the outfits or have to figure out which ones fit.

The shoes at photo studios look like normal dress shoes from the front, but are open in back like slippers.  This means that you need to wear black socks with black shoes and white socks with white shoes.  My only white socks have Nike logos, so I had to hunt some plain white ones down at Trust Mart before finally getting home and trying to get some sleep.  My darling kept telling me that since Nike is a truly famous American brand that I should be proud if their logo showed up in our wedding photos.  I told her we might as well both wear Mickey Mouse t-shirts. llllllllll  I could just hear the beginnings of a VERY bad idea forming in her head and said "That's NOT going to happen!" before she could even suggest going shopping for some rodent-emblazoned clothing.

Friday morning we showed up and changed into our matching red outfits.  The hair and makeup session for my darling was supposed to take 90 minutes.  It took almost 2 hours.  In the meantime, I read a book and exchanged text messages with Cantonese Twin 2.  She was in position and getting bored.  I went to check on my darling to see what was taking so long and was shocked to find what appeared to be someone else sitting there wearing her dress.  The makeup was so heavy that I wasn't really sure it was her until she spoke. kkkkkkkkkk

They decided to try some makeup on me and managed to get it in my eyes. ananananan  At least the makeup girl gave up quickly and didn't cover me too badly. 

Finally, I, my darling, and our lovely daughter piled into a van with a driver, photographer, photographer's assistant, and a prop girl.  I let Cantonese Twin 2 know we were on the way.  The driver promptly got into the wrong lane and drove past the park on an elevated section of the road so I had to let my spy know I'd be a little late.

We made it in.  In my experience, Chinese seem to think that glasses are something that shouldn't ever be part of photos, so I wasn't wearing mine.  This should have made spotting Cantonese Twin 2 difficult, since she should have been no closer that 10-15 meters most of the time.  I did catch a quick glimpse of her on a second floor balcony as we passed beneath.  So far, so good.

The plan was to have photos taken at various points around the park.  After a couple of photos with me and my darling, some pics were being taken just of her.  A couple of girls came by and were taking my picture. (Later information revealed that they'd never seen a foreigner dress up in a Chinese outfit for any reason and were very impressed that I'd do it for my wedding).  Since I'm always willing to totally prostitute myself for attention such a friendly person, I even posed for a couple pictures with them.  I then got pulled back into the official photo shoot and saw my spy at a less than subtle distance behind the photographer.  Had it been a quick couple of photos while walking past, that would have been fine, but she was standing there for several minutes at least.  There was no way to signal her to back off without pointing her out to the photo crew.  Other than that, the main issue was that no matter what direction I faced, the wind shifted to be from behind me so that my hair would do all sorts of unpredictable things.

We moved on to another spot.  Now Cantonese Twin 2 seemed to have made friends with the other 2 girls.  They were happily taking pics of each other with the photo shoot in the background.
bibibibibi

Just when I thought things had hit rock bottom in the "how blatantly obvious can this get?" department, my spy started chatting with the photographer.
 llllllllll asasasasas llllllllll

Amazingly, it worked.  The photographer seemed flattered by the attention and even gave his phone number to her.  The other 2 girls also continued to hang out, and we all moved around the park together.  This resulted in the main photo shoot, pics of the main shoot, sometimes including others, sometimes not, and side pics of the extra people posing with whoever wasn't in the main photo shoot at the moment.  I now have an extra 200 pictures to sort through while waiting to see what the wedding studio has.  There are even a handful from another couple's wedding photo shoot that were taken by my spy before we arrived at the park (those appear do have been done from a distance).

After leaving the park (and leaving Cantonese Twin 2 and the 2 extra girls behind), we went back to the wedding studio for lunch.  Lunch was takeout.  The studio kept a menu for the Kung Fu fast food chain handy.  After 3 bites I shoved mine aside and went out (still in my traditional red shirt) looking for a convenience store to buy some snacks from.  I don't know what that restaurant chain's problem is.  They seem to have a firm policy against serving food that's even close to warm, much less hot.  The time of day and the amount of business of the restaurant don't matter.  The food is always seems to have been allowed to cool for 2 or 3 hours.  They've now earned a permanent place on my "I'd rather just eat a bag of stale potato chips from a convenience store than pay them for yet another disappointment" list.

After eating my lunch bag of stale potato chips, it was time to change.  The white jacket I'd picked out had not been set aside, so I had to try on each and every white jacket again (and run between the rack with the jackets and the room my darling's hair was being redone in to get her opinion) to find the best fit. llllllllll  Per prior agreement with my darling, I let them tie my hair back for that scene.

Our dearest daughter had something to do, so didn't follow us to the second park.  That park is about 30-40 minutes from downtown,, is some sort of botanical garden and I saw a sign pointing to a monastery as we drove through the front gate.  Beyond that, I'm not sure where it was or what it's called.

The amusing thing was large the number of other couples getting photographed there.  There were wedding photo traffic jams a couple of times.  It looks like white suits for grooms are very much in fashion this year.  I didn't see even one groom in any other color there.  My dearest one asked my opinion on which of the other brides was the prettiest.  I told her that without my glasses on they'd have to get a lot closer for me to tell, but did point out a surprisingly plump one to her and whispered "She's at least twice the woman you are." ahahahahah

I've finally resolved the mystery of the amazing airborne bridal trains I see in so many Chinese wedding photos.  I thought maybe they brought along a portable fan to keep it afloat (or maybe only did those photos on windy days).  Sadly, the explanation isn't quite as interesting.  Either the prop girl or the photographer's assistant lifts end of the train up, waits for the signal from the photographer, and tries to crack it like a whip before leaping out of the frame.

Finally, we went back to the studio, recovered our clothing, had dinner, and I got my camera back from my failed/successful spy.

Since I was already planning on a couple of uniforms for 2 scenes on Saturday, I needed something to go with them.  Even though you can buy swords in China and many are made here for export, when I moved I was told that I couldn't bring my collection with me.  "Sharp objects intended to slice people into pieces" wasn't a good way to describe them on a customs form if I ever intended to see them again.  Mixing them with golf clubs and labeling the container as "sporting goods" did the trick nicely (but the look on my face when that box was almost opened by the customs inspector must have been truly priceless).  Amongst my collection are two US military dress sabres with great sentimental value.  One belonged to my grandmother's brother and one I got from my father.  My father's is in extremely good condition, but lacks the chain for attaching the scabbard to a sword belt.  The other is a bit rusty, but had the (easily detachable) chain.

So, Saturday morning, I walked out to the street carrying a sword and a couple of belts (make loop and adjust - instant sword belt that fits under a uniform).  My taxi driver seemed a little nervous. ahahahahah

The order of Saturday's scenes was partly dictated by my hair.  I was going to wear it down for scenes 3 and 4, then up for 5 and 6.  Scene 7 would take a little more work.

Happily, this time they set aside most of the outfits so I didn't have to go hunting for the few that would fit me.

Scene 3 was with the roll-down backdrop of a Chinese doorway decorated for New Years.  Originally, we'd been told that photoshopping it to say "Happy Wedding" wouldn't be a problem.  That morning we were told that such an alteration might not come out too well.  The good news is that most of the writing atop the doorway should be covered by our heads.  My darling's head wouldn't have been in the way of the writing, but she didn't want to look so short next to me, so was standing on a box for most of that scene.  The traditional Chinese outfits came from the wedding studio.  I think I like some of the stuff in my personal collection better.

Scene 4 was the hardest to convince her to do.  The uniforms even had epaulets, and the lower half of hers was a white wedding dress.  I got hold of some super-stiff hair gel and curled my mustache properly before strapping on a sword.  The metal gates were on the first floor.  Makeup and costumes were on the second.  The outfit was hot, so I ended up hanging out on the slightly cooler first floor, impressing (or frightening) the other clients while waiting for my darling to have her makeup and hair done.  The lower half of her outfit was enough to hide the box under, so she got a height boost from that and a pair of high heels (and kept almost falling off the box).  Our darling daughter also isn't too experienced on high heels, so the two of them sometimes looked like they were having a contest to see who could come closest to falling over. ahahahahah

Since the background was rather simple, the photographer wasn't sure what to do after a few shots (personally, I was relived to stop getting the translated "Turn your head.  No, the other way.  Lean forward.  More.  More!  Kiss! Wait, don't touch lips, just get close." that had been in all the other scenes.  Me, my darling, our lovely daughter, and a sabre are more than enough for coming up with poses.  ababababab

Scene 5 was the looooong blue sofa.  When I first saw it in other photos during the sales presentation, I assumed there was a normal length sofa and some creative photoshop work.  It turns out to be real.  Our beautiful daughter stayed in white.  My darling changed into a short while wedding dress with an insanely long train.  I switched into a slightly less silly uniform.  My plans with the sword belt didn't work so well with that uniform, so I detached the chain and just carried sword and scabbard with me.  There's one scene of me kneeling and presenting the sword to my darling.  I'd a little worried about how the slipper-shoes will look, since it's impossible for me to get in that position and have the soles of the slippers stay aligned with the bottoms of one's feet.  I decided I really didn't want a wedding album without some proper kisses, so repeatedly ignored the "Close, but don't touch" instructions. There was also another set of airborne bridal dress chain photos taken in that scene.

As soon as we were done, one of the studio girls seemed unusually anxious to get me out of my clothing.  Sadly, what started as a great boost to my ego turned out to be that another client wanted to wear that uniform.

Our lovely daughter needed some help getting out of her dress.  The funny thing was seeing this huge while cascade extending out from the dressing room curtain when my darling went in to help our daughter before changing out of her own dress.

We then had a lunch break.  Takeout from a different place was nothing to brag about, but at least it was an improvement on the prior day's Kung Fu food disaster.

Scene 6 was in a lovely white canopied bed.  I was in a white Mao suit that barely gave me room to breathe.  My daring was in a different white dress.  At this point, we were all (me, her, photographer) getting a little tired, so I'm not sure how well those will come out.

Scene 7 was in a lovely, plush, yet dark setting.  Velvet curtains and a huge gold padded chair - almost, but not quite a throne.  Most people use that scene with a frilly dress for the girl and a uniform for the guy.  I had something a little different in mine.  At another studio, I saw a VERY cool looking 1920's Shanghai gangster-style portrait done in a background not too different.  Our studio was sadly lacking in pinstripe suits, so I put on my black Mao suit, had my hair slicked straight back and slipped on some black gloves (had to bring my own - the studio doesn't seem to carry these things).  My darling was in a very slinky qipao and I think they finally did her hair right to match with a scene.  We made up for the short time spend on Scene 6 and kept going for quite some time in Scene 7.  I'm not quite sure what the photographer had in mind.  He dropped a neutral gray background down and took some more photos with us in front of it.  He also asked (via my darling's translation) if I ever got angry before having us do some oddly ridiculous things (ever try jumping on command with your legs crossed?).  Maybe it was just a little playful vengeance for me placing my artistic visions above his. ahahahahah

Going back home was fun.  Our little darling slipped out after lunch to collect a homework assignment from a friend.  She ended up playing in People's Park and was still there when we were done.  This resulted in me getting to stroll down a major thoroughfare carrying a sword.  We reached the back gate of the park and she still wasn't there.  I ended up standing there with a slightly annoyed look on my face while holding my sword as I stared at the back gate.  For some reason, people who would normally brush past so closely that I'd have to check my wallet were giving me plenty of space (it was hard to maintain the annoyed look after I noticed this).  To avoid any chance of scratching the scabbard, I held the sword with the handle resting on my shoulder in the back of the taxi going home.  I kept getting curious stares from nearby cars whenever we got caught at a traffic light.  I kept wondering why Chinese people don't seem to have ever seen a guy carrying a sword before. mmmmmmmmmm

On Wednesday evening, we get to go back and select which pics go to the portraits, the albums, etc.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: latefordinner on March 07, 2011, 08:55:55 AM
I'm going to have to get a sword for when I take the bus
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Granny Mae on March 07, 2011, 09:04:10 PM
EL,I'm exhausted just reading this! If Chinese folk have to go through this rigmarole to get married,how is it that they don't have the patience to wait while others try to get out of a lift or to wait their turn to be served etc? This is based solely on my experiences and observations here in the "Land Down Under". bibibibibi
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on March 28, 2011, 06:06:49 AM
Chapter 9.  The Photo Albums and Other Fun With The Wedding Studio

We went back to select the pics.  The total was supposed to be 37 out of perhaps 70-100 pics.  There were 335 to chose from, which could be spread across 2 photo albums.

Round 1.  Try to toss the ones that just didn't work.  The computers at the studio kept frezing every time we'd delete a file.  2 computers, files on network, files on hard drive.  It didn't matter - delete equaled total lockup.  Instead, I finally figured out I could copy files to a subfolder with no issues.

Round 2.  Quick run through copying out all but the ones we both really wanted to ditch.  That took out about 25%

Interruption for extended bargaining session.  1000 RMB gets us 27 more cleaned up pics and a 3rd album.

Round 3.  Copy the best pics which had our beautiful daughter (alone or with either or both of us) and set those up for one album.  This worked well.  Once virtually identical pics and others with flaws were removed, it came to 22 pics.

Round 4-7.  Cut a few more each time and realize we're NOT going to make it before 10 pm.

Round 8.  22 pics used up for one album.  Still have to get the remainder down to a total of 40.  Slash and burn time.

Round 9.  "Dump that one!"  "No, I LOVE that one!" (repeat and change roles over and over again).

Round 10.  "OK, We can keep this one you like if we also keep this one I like."

Round 11.  "OK, we can dump that one you ate if we also dump the one I hate."

Round 12.  Cry in unison as we dump so many we both like.

Finally, it's done.  62 pics selected.  22 for each album (4 dups between albums).

Carefully explain that our albums are to be a "No Chinglish Zone".  The phrase "Hamburger Love Story" and the words to the theme song to Titanic will NOT be included anywhere in the albums.

Come back one week later to see initial attempts by the resident "artist" to render the pics into the albums.

Random misspelled words irrelevant to the pics.  llllllllll The dreaded words to "My heart will go on" attempting to crawl in under cover of tiny fonts. llllllllll llllllllll llllllllll

I was ever so slightly miffed.  ffffffffff asasasasas asasasasas ffffffffff

Page by page we explained things to one of the employees.  It was a long list, and wasn't just about the linguistic abuses.  One of our favorite pictures that they had clearly been instructed to not crop was badly cropped.  Another pic had part of the photographer's assistant's backpack visible in the corner and needed some photoshopping. I noticed that he took no notes.  After the 7th or 8th time I commented on this, he finally wrote some things down.

Came back again a few days later.  In previous visit, my darling thought I was being too rigid and should let the "artist" be "artistic".  This time, she finally began to see the deep flaws in the "artistic vision" as presented and made a bunch of additional changes.  There was also some remaining Chinglish that had somehow been overlooked. ffffffffff

This time, they dragged the artist out.  I went through page by page pointing out corrections.  My darling added her own observations that were less than complimentary of the skill of the so-called artist.  I'm not sure if our artist was about to cry or physically attack us.  At this point I really didn't care.  All I wanted was 3 albums that looked at least half as nice as the ones the studio used to show potential customers what they were supposed to be capable of, plus, a clear understanding that if you don't speak English, you should NEVER attempt to write it inside someone's wedding album.

The final pages were send over by QQ.  A few exchanges between my darling and the wedding photo shop got the remaining flaws fixed (I hope).

The wedding poster for the restaurant was also screwed up.  That was easier to fix.

They wanted us to select 4 songs for a DVD that would have all the photos we'd picked.  Both the photo studio and my darling suggested that stupid Titanic song. llllllllll (Currently, I'm re-writing it to be a more realistic expression of what really happened between Rose and Jack - East, West, I stole your life vest.  You must die so that I can go on.  Up, Down, it's you who will drown.  You are dead so that I can go on and on.)  We kept being far too busy to sit down and pic music.

Finally, we ran up against a deadline if we wanted the DVD in time for the wedding.  I've got a special package of traditional erhu music that I've kept in the shrink-wrap for a special reason.  Every time I go to the USA, it's sitting on top of the stack... DVDs of questionable authenticity.  My customs form says something like CDs, etcinstead of the more suspicious sounding DVDs that might provoke an inspection, fine, incarceration, and more.  At least if I'm caught, I didn't lie on the customs form. uuuuuuuuuu

I finally unwrapped my Chinese erhu CDs and listened to disk 1.  Not too bad, and would fit with the theme we picked for the DVD.  My darling and I skipped through it quickly and selected 4 tracks.  We took it to the wedding store, and they had NO CLUE how to rip songs off a CD.  I had to go home, extract the songs, and let my darling send the files over using QQ.

The poster and DVD should be ready 2 days before the wedding.  Everything else should be back in about a month.

I've given VERY clear instructions that there will be NO WRITING IN ANY LANGUAGE on the framed portraits without our explicit consent.  I'm wondering what sort of bizarre caption the "artist" is busy adding to those now.  llllllllll
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: The Local Dialect on March 28, 2011, 10:37:05 AM
We had a similar experience EL.

And, just to rant for a minute right there along with you, these photo places are a total racket. They take a bajillion pictures and then when you're trying to whittle it down to like, 45 out of that bajillion, the staff is right there saying stuff like “这张太好看,扔掉真可惜! Oh, that one's such a great shot, it would be such a pity to get rid of it!" and they inevitably, EVERY time, manage to wrangle more money out of you for an extra album or whatever. This happened with our wedding photos and it happened with both kids' first birthday pictures. My husband and I were particularly savage about cutting our wedding photos because we were on a budget and I think the staff at the photo place was kind of dismayed with our heartlessness. The thing is, you can spend tens of thousands of RMB on your wedding photo package if you want to but after you're married it isn't like you're going to take these photos out every day and look at them. An album or two and a couple nice prints are plenty. These photo people sell the shit out of the things though and then the Chinese couples cave under the pressure feeling like they're somehow being cheap and horrible if they don't go all out and spend several months' salary on the damn photos.

And the Chinglish, arrrgh!!! I just said no English, if they must write stuff, write it in Chinese. That seemed to satisfy them. I figure that whatever they write in Chinese might be cheesy but it would at least be correct. We had no Chinglish issues with our wedding pictures but with our kids' photos, they had trouble with the concept and kept trying to sneak English in there. The photgrapher for our kids photos was kind of a douchebag too, he kept trying to speak Chinese in that fakey foreign accent, what I call the "Xinjiang kao-rou chuar" accent, to my kids, who are native Chinese speakers.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: china-matt on March 28, 2011, 11:44:07 AM
My wife and I really didn't have a problem selecting our photos--we agreed which ones sucked and which ones were nice enough to show off. We also insisted that the albums contain absolutely no English (yeah, it was all cheesy Chinglish. Would've been really amusing to have if it didn't cost so much).
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on March 29, 2011, 02:31:45 AM
DAMN!!!  Send in the Erhu music (which is pretty good), then I was showing my darling a couple of scenes from The Last Emperor and saw that my pirated copy included a CD of the sound track.  That would have been SOOOO much better.
 llllllllll llllllllll llllllllll llllllllll llllllllll llllllllll
 asasasasas asasasasas asasasasas asasasasas asasasasas
 ananananan ananananan ananananan ananananan ananananan ananananan ananananan ananananan ananananan
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on March 29, 2011, 07:58:36 AM
Chapter 10:  What Happens After Death by Shopping?  Condemned to Shopping Hell.

The list of items needed grows faster than I can buy things. I'm in Shopping Hell. qqqqqqqqqq

(If she were sent to the same place, I'm sure my mother would call it Shopping Heaven. ahahahahah)

Let me see if I can remember it all. . . .

Decorations for the house.  These were simple.  Just some nice Double-Happiness door decorations.  Very reasonably priced at about 10 RMB each.  We still need a couple of traditional red lanterns to hang on the balcony.

Bags for wedding candy. (Wedding Candy? mmmmmmmmmm  Bags for wedding candy??? mmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmm).  Considering the ever-growing guest list, we got 100 bags.  I think that ended up only being 40 RMB.

Confetti cannons.  For those who haven't seen one, it looks like a roll of fancy Chinese giftwrap (I wish that they made giftwrap like that).  The ends of the tube are sealed.  Near one end is a button.  Remove the safety, press the button, and the canister of compressed air built into the trigger end of the tube is released.  Whatever you've pointed it as is now covered in confetti.  I saw these for 15 RMB in a department store.  Got them for 5 RMB at a little shop (yes, I was smart enough to test a couple of them before buying).  Ended up with about 15 or so of them.  The restaurant where the wedding meal is being held will need to hire an extra person to sweep up when we're done with these.

If there are any left, I'm sure I can think of something to do with them. I'm thinking of taking advantage of all those open ground floor windows I see in my village.  ahahahahah

Wedding bedding.  Beautiful red blankets, pillowcases, and sheets.  I saw some acceptable ones for about 400-800 RMB at WalMart and TrustMart.  My darling wanted to look at Haiya Department Store (I think Haiya is Cantonese for Massively Overpriced Clothing and Stuff).  They had an incredibly cool set for only 1380 RMB.  I'm very happy with how they look. ababababab  My wallet is less happy. kkkkkkkkkk

Wedding candy.  Now that I had 100 bags to put candy into, I needed a lot of candy.  I'm told that tradition calls for either 8 or 10 pieces per bag (not 9 for some reason).  Naturally, the decision was for 10.  We already had some special, famous, auspicious candy from her hometown, so needed 9 more pieces per bag.  1.5 kg of traditional wedding candy was enough to provide 2 pieces of that for each bag.  That left 7 more to chose.  I wanted something western and tasty.  I'd already had to break it to my darling that the famous brand of Chinese chocolate she pronounced as Doe Vey wasn't Chinese and was called Dove by the rest of the world (she's slowly getting the hint that China has a real gap in chocolate technology ahahahahah).  By the time we added up the traditional candy, the Doe Vey Dove, and 6 more types the cost was about 450 RMB.  The hard part is resisting the urge to go face down in a sack of candy about as big as a good haul on Halloween when I was a kid. ababababab

I'd kept ducking the issue of rings and a necklace.  Wedding rings aren't part of Chinese tradition, but the necklace is.  My darling wanted both and I was hoping for one or the other (preferably the necklace since that's the proper traditional item).  Being a true man who is ready to take charge of his household, I firmly put my foot down.  Her response was something like this. . . .
 cbcbcbcbcb

followed by this. . . .  asasasasas bcbcbcbcbc bababababa

Naturally, being a true man who is ready to take charge of his household, I firmly took command of the situation and bought a pair of matching rings, plus a necklace.  I also got a gold bracelet for her, just because I wanted her to stop beating me I love her so very very much.  Total weight was about 62 grams (about 2 troy ounces) of .999 gold.  Total cost was a little over 22,000 RMB. amamamamam ananananan aqaqaqaqaq

My only consolation was that this was only 16% over spot price for the gold (assuming that it really is pure gold - sometimes it's better not to think too hard about these little details).

Items remaining:

As mentioned, we need a pair of red lanterns.  They don't cost too much.  If we can't find the right sizes for sale, I've got a ladder and can go hunting just outside the village on Thursday night. kkkkkkkkkk

One of my friends spent most of my birthday KTV party telling my darling and I about specific types of flowers we need to buy.  We'll get those on Friday.

The hotel room for the wedding nights (paperwork on April 1st, party on April 2nd).  Not room, but rooms.  Her parents will be at the hotel too.  Total is a little over 1000 RMB.  I did request that the rooms NOT be anywhere near each other. afafafafaf

The wedding lunch.  The good news is that we pay per person, not per table.  The bad news is that if everyone shows up and we get a few party crashers, this could still break above 7000 RMB.  I'm not sure what would be worse.  Being embarrassed if only 30 people actually show up or being overrun with 100+ guests jamming into a room set for about 80 people.  Since the concept of RSVP doesn't seem to have caught on here, I guess I'll find out how good/bad it is when it happens (in 4 days aqaqaqaqaq).

Wedding karaoke party.  I've already paid for the biggest KTV room at the place near the restaurant.  It can easily hold 50 people.  Happily, afternoons are cheap, so this only set me back about 250 RMB.  Then there's the matter of snacks - mandatory at KTV, and can only be purchased onsite at about 2-3 times normal retail.  That could end up being as much as the lunch or even more.

Baijiu agagagagag, Hongjiu agagagagag, and cigarettes aaaaaaaaaa for the lunch.  There goes a few thousand more.


I think I need to ask Obama for some of that economic stimulus money.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on March 31, 2011, 06:41:25 AM
By the way, sirrah, I am fully expecting a pack of damn fine smokes from this deal. Chunghwas will do nicely, thank you. ahahahahah
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: tomhume89 on March 31, 2011, 08:54:06 AM
Good luck with this! It's been interesting reading- and educational! Me and the soon-to-be-wife are planning the ceremony next year (certificate next month)
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on March 31, 2011, 09:26:38 AM
By the way, sirrah, I am fully expecting a pack of damn fine smokes from this deal. Chunghwas will do nicely, thank you. ahahahahah

Cigs have been selected based on the critical factors of red packaging and a price above 15 RMB per pack.  I haven't even seen them yet.  My darling found some for 18 a pack at the local liver and lung failure wholesaler.

Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on April 01, 2011, 12:39:22 AM
Alas, what the Chinese say is true: "Foreigners have no face." uuuuuuuuuu

But, whatever. 18 kuai is till pretty good...
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on April 01, 2011, 12:46:10 AM
Hey, waaaait a damn minnit here.
Look, pal, I don't care what kind of high-rag-content horseshit you plan to shamelessly unload on the locals. I expect nothing less than Chunghwa! Or Pandas...the good ones. asasasasas
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 01, 2011, 01:06:11 AM
Hey, waaaait a damn minnit here.
Look, pal, I don't care what kind of high-rag-content horseshit you plan to shamelessly unload on the locals. I expect nothing less than Chunghwa! Or Pandas...the good ones. asasasasas

Come back to China and I'll buy you a pack. agagagagag
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on April 01, 2011, 01:41:58 AM
Curse you, Red Baron! asasasasas
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: old34 on April 01, 2011, 03:41:16 AM
Hey, waaaait a damn minnit here.
Look, pal, I don't care what kind of high-rag-content horseshit you plan to shamelessly unload on the locals. I expect nothing less than Chunghwa! Or Pandas...the good ones. asasasasas

Come back to China and I'll buy you a pack. agagagagag


I'll see that pack and raise you a carton.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on April 01, 2011, 04:29:00 AM
Careful, lads, I just might show up someday. uuuuuuuuuu
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 01, 2011, 05:19:59 AM
Slight delays (details in the next chapter).  The wedding registration was completed at 12:13 PM, April 1st, 2011. ababababab
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Day Dreamer on April 01, 2011, 05:58:26 AM
hmm,, married on April Fool's Day . . .
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: china-matt on April 01, 2011, 08:10:55 PM
Did you remember to give a handful of wedding candy or other minor gift to the official filling out your marriage license? And did you have to read a statement in Chinese saying you were not related to your bride?
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: AMonk on April 02, 2011, 09:16:53 AM
hmm,, married on April Fool's Day . . .


Appropriate for our favourite Loonie  ahahahahah
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 04, 2011, 01:15:01 AM
hmm,, married on April Fool's Day . . .

The date was carefully selected. ahahahahah

The girls at the Civil Affairs Bureau said they were getting more marriages than usual that day.  I guess great crazy minds think alike.

Did you remember to give a handful of wedding candy or other minor gift to the official filling out your marriage license? And did you have to read a statement in Chinese saying you were not related to your bride?

I was supposed to bring candy?  Why does no one tell me these things in advance? llllllllll

Yes, we got to recite the anti-incest statement in unison. ahahahahah
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 04, 2011, 05:55:10 AM
Chapter 11.  Murphy Was No Fool.  Murphy's Law Gets Enforced.

April 1st.  I had a cunning plan.  It should have been a simple day.  Wake up, check work while my darling runs into town to get checked into the hotel.  When she comes back, we'd run over to the Dongguan Civil Affairs Bureau to do the paperwork.  Come back to the house, gather everything else up, drop some stuff at the hotel, some at the restaurant.  Then kick back, relax, and get a good night's sleep before the wedding party.

Nothing can go wrong . . . go wrong . . . go wrong . . .

Maybe I shouldn't try to execute a fool-proof plan on April Fool's Day. ahahahahah

Here's what really happened:

Packing took a little longer than expected, so she decided we'd skip the early trip to the hotel and go straight to the Civil Affairs Bureau.  A car and driver had been borrowed, so this should have been quick.

The driver decides to take a wide swing around town to avoid traffic.  All this really does is give us about 20 wasted minutes before hitting the exact same amount of lights and traffic while approaching downtown from a different angle. kkkkkkkkkk  My darling and I also notice that Captain Slow was consistently getting passed by all the other cars, bicycles, and even old people with canes walking along the sidewalk.  That was ok.  I'd built the schedule to have plenty of time to survive delays.

We arrived at the Chapel Dongguan Civil Affairs Bureau of Love Harmonious Family Relationships.  Papers were issued and filled in.  We then got a clerk who spoke a little English.  We gave her all the papers we'd filled in, plus the papers we'd brought.  She asked where the 2nd copy was of the translation of the paper I had from the Guangzhou Consulate.  My dearest and most loving soon to be wife punches me and says "Oh no, I forget the second copy."  I asked where she left it.  I get hit again when she says it's at home.  I ask why she's hitting me.  She smacks me a few more times and says it's because she forgot the second copy.  I turn to the clerk and say "She's soooo violent."  The clerk just smiles.

A photocopy of the one we have won't do.  It has to be the 2nd one with the original chop on it.  We dash out to find that Captain Slow has slowly wandered off with the car.  We now have 45 minutes to get back to the village, find the paper, and get back to the Civil Affairs Bureau before they run off for a 2 hour lunch break. llllllllll

My darling calls our driver and says something that sounds like a threat of things far far worse than death.  He slowly drives up 5 minutes later.  Naturally, he then misses a turn and takes us the long way around People's Park, but at least we avoid looping all the way around the south end of the city.  While in transit, my darling calls her father, tells him where the document is.  Once he has it, she tells him to come out by the main highway.

The village has a couple of tunnels under the main highway.  Both used to have signs banning cars.  Someone removed those a few years back (don't look at me - it happened while I was out of China and I don't drive here).  We managed to get Captain Slow pointed down one of the tunnels to save having to spend a few more minutes getting to the next turnaround.  I then leaned out the window and grabbed the missing paper from my soon-to-be father-in-law as we sloooowly drove past.

Despite the valiant efforts of Captain Slow (it's a little embarrassing being overtaken and passed by a turtle with only 3 legs llllllllll), we managed to force him to drive back along the shortest possible route and got back to the Civil Affairs Bureau just in time to grab our clerk before she could run away to lunch.  While she processed the papers, she asked where I lived.  It turns out that one of the other clerks is from the next sector over in my village.  I took the opportunity to brag about my sector's unrivaled skills with Dragon Boats. ahahahahah

I saw one other couple putting their fingerprints on their certificates at the desk.  Our clerk decided that we needed something a little more special, so took us a couple of rooms over where they had what really did look like a little chapel.  In unison, we read the very romantic script (in English) where we stated we were free to marry, knew all about any dread diseases the other might have, and that we weren't any closer than distant cousins.  I kissed the bride at 12:13 pm.

We then sloooowly cruised went back to the village for lunch (the driver was told he needed to be back in about 90 minutes).  Several of my dearest friends, including Cantonese Twin #1 kept calling and asking if they could help with anything.  I tried to politely suggest that letting me not be on the phone for a few minutes would be very helpful Afterwords we gathered up everything needed, only to find that our driver had spent 80 minutes setting a new land slow record to find a place to eat lunch.  He finally showed up 20 minutes later and we loaded us, her parents, and everything else into the car and went to collect the baijiu.

Let me flash back to the evening of March 30th.  My darling and I went to a local baijiu wholesaler just outside the village to check the availability of a brand recommended to me by the village's greatest expert on the subject agagagagag.  I saw they had 4 or 5 bottles on the shelf.  I asked my darling to ask the staff how many they had in stock.  The answer was "We've got a lot of all brands."  I asked her to get a MUCH more specific answer.  They claimed to have many cases of the brand we wanted (6 bottles to a case).  I suggested that we pay for it right then and have it delivered to the house.  My darling said that picking it up on Friday would be fine and told me not to be paranoid.  I'm sure you can guess where this is leading.

We walked in, asked for 3 cases of the baijiu that had been chosen as well as a couple of cartons of the cigarettes ( aaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaa).  Somehow, they had gone from having many cases to having very little available, but said they could deliver later.  After much arguing in English, Mandarin, and localized Cantonese, they promised to have it to the restaurant at 5 pm.  We decided to go ahead and carry the cigarettes ourselves.

We got to the hotel and were about to check in when I realized that I didn't have my passport. llllllllll llllllllll llllllllll  I decided to sprawl out on the lobby sofa while my darling wife got checked in and hope that they didn't notice me in time to demand it.  For once in the whole day, luck was on my side and I got to commit a brand new crime on my wedding day. ahahahahah

I wasn't the only one who forgot things.  We were missing some other items.  There wasn't time to go back, since we had to direct Captain Slow to the flower market and collect another of my helpful friends (my little bluebird of despair - she's a good friend, but if you are one of her relatives, the best you can hope for is that your death will be relatively quick and more or less painless - I guess someone else's family really does have a worse family curse than mine).  She and my darling debated flowers and reached a quick conclusion.  We dropped her off and got back to the restaurant just before 5 pm.  A quick phone call revealed that the baijiu was supposed to arrive at the wholesale shop at any moment. llllllllll

This created a predicament.  My wife needed to be in the restaurant to receive the baijiu.  I needed some assistance to collect the red and white wine from just across the parking lot.  As usual, my phone interrupted me in mid-sentence while we were trying to figure out what to do.  It was Cantonese Twin #1 wanting to be helpful.  She was on a bus just down the street and was heading my way.  "Yes, come to the restaurant right away!" I told her.  After a few navigational errors, she arrived.

Leaving my dearest one to vigilantly await the promised arrival of the baijiu, my friend and I went to TrustMart to collect the wine.  I tried explaining to her that TrustMart had a shopping cart lending option so I could pay a 100 RMB deposit, borrow the cart, bring the wine back to the restaurant, and then return the cart for 100 RMB.  Somehow, this concept didn't quite make it past her otherwise excellent linguistic skills.

We got to TrustMart and I presented the claim ticket for the wine.  The clerks couldn't find it.  About half way through that, my darling called and said that the baijiu was on the way.  Trying to explain the lack of wine was difficult.  Finally, the clerks noticed the 3 boxes (all clearly labeled in English and Chinese) in the room where merchandise to be collected is stored.  I kept trying to explain the shopping cart situation to my friend and she grabbed a cart and said there was no charge.  Naturally, the moment we reached the edge of the sidewalk, the shopping cart guardians descended upon us and relieved us of the cart.  She carried the box with 4 bottles and I had 2 boxes with 6 bottles each as we walked across the parking lot.

Happily, the baijiu had arrived.  We had everything at the restaurant.  The didn't have a key to the changing room inside the VIP banquet hall we'd reserved, so locked up all the alcohol, cigarettes, the wedding poster, and the confetti cannons inside another VIP room - which smelled like a VERY used ashtray.  The manager tried to talk my darling and I into changing clothes in there.  We declined, since we didn't want any clothing stored in there.  Also, the plan was that after we entered the room and welcomed everyone, we would do a quick clothing changed into the traditional Chinese outfits and wanted that to be as close as possible.

My lovely wife then took Captain Slow back to the village to grab more missing items (her shoes and a few other things).  Her parents went to collect our darling daughter (now legally my daughter  ababababab).  Once everyone was back, we all went out to dinner.  Thankfully, my dear friend refrained from telling too many incriminating tales of my previous times in China to my brand new in-laws.

Our darling daughter planned to stay in the hotel room with her grandparents, but didn't bring anything with her but her school uniform.  After dinner, we took her out to buy shoes for the wedding, some pajamas, and a few other items.  Then my darling wife remembered a couple of other critical items.  While she, our daughter, and her parents continued to shop. I grabbed a taxi (Captain Slow had been dismissed just before dinner) back to the village.  Ah, what a relief - traveling at speeds relatively close to the other cars, changing lanes to pass instead of to get behind buses that were about to stop at bus stops, getting from point A to point B in reasonable amounts of time.  On the way, I kept getting text messages about other forgotten items.  Finally, I got there, grabbed it all, and found another taxi back to the hotel.

Everything was ready.  Now we just had to host a huge lunch party followed by a big KTV party the next day.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: tomhume89 on April 05, 2011, 08:50:53 AM
How much was the certificate itself? I'm trying to find info online but can't find much! I've heard it's really cheap for Chinese, but if a foreigner's involved they jack the price up..
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Tuco on April 06, 2011, 12:59:31 AM
If I were to get married again, heng, I would probably hire my friend David for photos because the studio workers all a bunch of idiots and the prices are just a waste of money.

And I would travel around China for the photo shoot.

you take on the experience re-opened my eyes. that was not a fun experience.

i was thinking of doing some betazoid type marriage :)
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 06, 2011, 02:13:03 AM
How much was the certificate itself? I'm trying to find info online but can't find much! I've heard it's really cheap for Chinese, but if a foreigner's involved they jack the price up..

The certificate from the US Consulate cost me $50.  Between the website and phone recordings, I'd seen/heard prices of $30, $40, and $50.  Nice to see how good they are at keeping these things up to date.

The Chinese marriage certificate cost me the princely sum of exactly 9 RMB.  bjbjbjbjbj

I don't know if other provinces charge more or not.

i was thinking of doing some betazoid type marriage :)

I attempted to convince a few of my female friends that all guests would need to be dressed up in Betazoid style.  Sadly, they didn't fall for it. ananananan
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 06, 2011, 06:24:34 AM
Chapter 12:  Double Happiness needs a Double Party

We dragged out of bed early on Saturday morning.  Yaaay!  We're married! ababababab  Oh no, we've got two parties to throw today. ananananan

The hotel had a breakfast buffet, so that was one less issue to worry about.  Cantonese Twin 2 showed up just after with her Mary Kay bag to attack my darling's face with an inch thick coating of assorted stuff.  Then Cantonese Twin #1 (aka Scooter Girl) showed up to get her face done while my darling went to the hair saloon next door to the hotel entrance.  Her parents took our darling daughter across the street to the Carrefour building to have her hair done at one of those places that sells over-priced hair clips and promises to do your hair up with them for free at any time (and always wants to sell you new hair clips since the ones you bought last week are now out of style).

I then got a phone call from my darling.  "I need to talk.  Can she hear you?"  I retreated to the farthest corner of the suite.  "I hate the makeup she put on me.  If I take it off, will she be offended?"  I told her to blame the hair saloon for ruining the makeup, returned to the front room, and generously suggested that Cantonese Twin 2 could leave that big heavy makeup bag in the suite so that she wouldn't have to carry it around - thus giving my darling a chance to redo the makeup to her own liking.  I then had the twins help me carry all the clothing, candy, gold jewelry, and other assorted items over to the restaurant.

We carried all the stuff into the VIP banquet room that had been reserved.  Workers were busily arranging the tables.  The person in charge (via the translation of my twins) seemed blissfully unaware of the initial discussions with one manager and the discussions with another manager the night before.  He was convinced that the clothing would be changed in and stored in the smaller VIP room (the one that smelled like an overused stale ashtray aaaaaaaaaa).  The workers were planning on using the changing room in my VIP room to shove the dirty dishes into (completely ignoring the separate alcove that was obviously designed for this purpose llllllllll).  Happily, since Twin 2 had been there the night before, I told her to re-explain reality to the guy in charge and to say that there would be absolutely ZERO changes from the agreed on plan.

Happily, no one on the staff was ready to deal with the wrath of a crazy foreigner backed by 2 loyal and potentially vicious local girls, so they caved in pretty easily.  Naturally, after I'd wasted 20 minutes getting everything back to just like had been agreed with the manager the night before, the manager walks in.  She seemed pleased that everything was going exactly according to plan. bibibibibi

There still were some minor setup issues.  Thankfully, my lovely bride arrived and managed to straighten out most of the last few items.  We then changed our clothing (her into a white dress from the wedding studio, me into my Mao suit - temporarily minus jacket since winter finally gave up about 4 days earlier) and headed up to the front of the restaurant to greet our guests.  This left her parents and another dear friend from her hometown (the lovely and talented woman who first introduced us) in charge of the banquet room.

We had 8 seats available at the head table.  Me, my darling bride, our lovely daughter, and her parents took up 5.  There was some talk of fitting in her uncle's family, but that would have been 5 more into 3 places.  I also mentioned that none of my US family could make it, but that I counted some of my dearest Chinese friends as sisters and brothers.  Our dear friend who introduced us got place #6 and the Cantonese Twins took places 7 and 8.

The Twins and my little Bluebird of Despair had a table just inside the restaurant entrance to handle gifts, signing in guests, handing out bags of wedding candy, etc.  We stood just outside the entrance beside the wedding poster from the photo studio.  I had a camera just across the doorway from us set up and used a remote to take pics of us and the guests as they arrived.

The universe was kind and decided to rebalance some of the karma from all the issues on Friday (either that or I'd left less options for Murphy to take advantage of my official Family Curse this time).  Guests arrived, most within the 30 minutes we'd allotted, and no other massive issues arose.  Just after 12:30, we moved everything from the front of the restaurant and went back to the banquet room.  I slipped in for a moment, set the camera to video mode, and parked it at the front of the room, pointed down the red carpet towards the entrance doors, and ran back out.  While I tried not to sweat too much during the 2 minutes I'd need to wear the jacket, our darling daughter ajajajajaj went into the room and introduced us in English and Mandarin.  We came in, crossed a predetermined line on the floor, and the confetti cannons . . . didn't fire.  The safeties were still on and there was a bit of a struggle to arm them.  Finally, 4 non-sequential pops happened and we got a nice coating of metal foil (a guest's son had nailed us with one at the front of the restaurant earlier - that one was all paper).

We greeted the crowd and our daughter took back one of the microphones and asked everyone to wait a moment.  We then retreated to the changing room, switched into our traditional red outfits, and came out again.  This time, crossing the pre-determined trigger line worked a little better and the confetti cannons went off mostly at the right moment.

The ceremony was conducted by our darling daughter in Mandarin and English.  We'd intended to do the rings first, but our daughter hadn't noted that change on her draft copy of the script, so I ended up kissing the bride first.  Somehow the safeties got stuck again, since the next round of confetti was supposed to happen 3 seconds into the kiss.  After a few seconds too long, I looked up to see some consultations going on regarding one of the safeties, then they all opened fire.  I took the opportunity to grab a second kiss as the foil rained down over us.  We then exchanged the rings and went back to the table with all the alcohol agagagagag, cigarettes aaaaaaaaaa, and cake (that table just needed a slot machine and a stripper to get a complete set of vices into one place ahahahahah).  We cut the cake, I opened a bottle of champagne, and poured 2 glasses.  We then stepped forward, thanked our guests again for attending, raised our glasses to toast them, and then intertwined our arms to drink the champagne as the final round of confetti went off (at the correct moment).  By this point, the confetti was ankle-deep in a few places and we were both covered with it.  In a statement that would have been very strange under any other circumstances, I leaned over to my beautiful bride and whispered, "I'm all shiny and sparkly." ahahahahah  I think I ended up drinking some of the metal foil. kkkkkkkkkk

A buffet for a wedding has some advantages.  You only pay per person, not per table.  There are no delays waiting for food to come out.  There's one BIG disadvantage if it's your wedding.  You can't easily get to the food without getting stopped for pictures, toasts, and general chat.  I figured that this would happen, so planned ahead and had eaten more than usual for breakfast.

My biggest worry with such a large guest list was getting embarrassed one way or another.  If too many people showed up, the room would get too crowded.  If too few showed up, I'd look not just like an idiot, but like an unpopular idiot. pppppppppp  The room was set with 84 places and there were 66 people in attendance.  That worked out just about perfectly. ababababab

The head of my local charity group and almost all of the board of directors attended.  Amy, the girl I bungee jumped off a mountain to impress attended (I'd only seen her that one time before and she's married now, but she still showed up).  My police/security buddies from DragonBoat racing attended. A dozen or so other villagers attended.  All but a tiny handful of my dearest Chinese friends attended.

No foreigners were in attendance, but the groom had suspiciously non-Chinese looking hair and eyes. ahahahahah

We made the rounds and toasted each group.  I'd previously grabbed a large glass, filled it mostly with Sprite, and poured a little baijiu in on top, both to kill the bubbles and to convince anyone who sniffed the glass of the authenticity of its contents (one party mostly taken care of, but I still had one to go).

As we began winding things down, Scooter Girl was eating yet another plate of food (I think no one feeds her when she's not in Dongguan).  I found one remaining unfired confetti cannon and showered her with foil.  Guess I'll have to buy a few more to do midnight confetti assaults in the village. ahahahahah

My initial plan was to not set any alcohol on the tables, just to have people go back and get it from the drinks cigs, and cake bar at the back of the room.  Some helpful person at the restaurant set out a wine glass (50/50 mix of wine/Sprite - China's greatest contribution to international wine culture bjbjbjbjbj) at each place setting.  This, combined with the party being at lunch time ended up resulting in far less alcohol being consumed that we'd planned for.  Only 3 bottles of baijiu and less than 6 bottles of wine were consumed.  Happily, the otherwise incompetent place that sold us the baijiu does take returns of unopened cases, so 2 cases can go back.  I'll be bringing a bottle or two of red wine to any village dinner parties for the next couple of months. jjjjjjjjjj

Someone must have liked the cigarettes aaaaaaaaaa.  I only saw a few smoked in the room, but both cartons were empty by the end of the party. aaaaaaaaaa

Finally, we ended the lunch.  With a number of friends, we hauled the remaining alcohol down to someone's car to ship back to my house in the village.  My wife and her family needed to buy something (Advice - always hold your wedding next to a couple of super-centers yyyyyyyyyy), so I ended up carrying stuff back to the hotel with some friends before heading over to KTV.

I really have to wonder what the hotel clerks thought.  They saw me come in and out with my bride several times.  Then in and out with one or both Cantonese Twins, with and without my bride.  Now I was leading in 3 guys and a different girl in (the Twins had gone ahead to KTV).  Ah well, I might as well give people things to speculate about. ahahahahah

Finally, I arrived at KTV (only a 2-3 minute walk from the hotel) and my lovely wife and our darling daughter arrived a few minutes later.  The room could handle 50+, but we only ended up with 25-30.  As usual, Twin #2, ScooterGirl, had maxed out the volume of both the music and the microphones. aqaqaqaqaq.  I'd figured out the song selection controls at this KTV during my birthday party well enough to find English language songs by title, but am still working on the other items.

I decided to test the range of Chinese hearing during the chorus to Yesterday Once More by pushing my voice up past Helium-sucking Alvin and the Chipmonk's style into the edge of the range of "Only audible to dogs."  I believe I was successful in damaging a few people's ears. ahahahahah  A couple of my former coworkers from the Translation Center did pretty well in duets with me on some other songs in English.

Happily, there was some slow dance music, so I did get to dance with my bride a little.  Then some thoughtful person loaded up some disco and I sat down and was quite . . . pleased to see how amazingly well a number of the girls could dance. afafafafaf afafafafaf afafafafaf

Finally, the party wound down.  I left the Twins and a couple of others still singing (the room was reserved until 7) and went out to dinner with my wife, daughter, and the in-laws before dragging ourselves back to the hotel.  Our room had little bits of metal foil confetti everywhere from things brought back from the lunch and other pieces falling off of our hair and clothing.

Just as we were laying down for the night, my darling bride remarked "We survived it!"  I think she was asleep before her head hit the pillow.

The honeymoon will be some time this summer.  We need a few months of rest to recover from the wedding.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Granny Mae on April 07, 2011, 08:56:26 PM
 aoaoaoaoao aoaoaoaoao aoaoaoaoao I hope I don't meet an Asian Bloke who would make me start thinking about marrying again. NO, NO, NO,NNNNNNNOOOOOOO!!! I would run for the hills. I wouldn't have the strength or patience to go through all that. kkkkkkkkkk kkkkkkkkkk You sound like a great guy EL. All the best on the honeymoon. bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Tuco on April 08, 2011, 02:14:12 AM
i heard once that people have exchange

ni chi fan le ma

with

ni li hun le ma?

good luck
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 08, 2011, 10:22:09 AM
Stay tuned.  There's more to come in the aftermath chapters.  I'm saving the part about how much fun it is to come back the day after the wedding party with the in-laws until after they go back to the hometown.

And, there's still time for the wedding studio to screw the albums and framed portraits up. aoaoaoaoao
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 15, 2011, 05:47:07 AM
Chapter 13.  It's all over, or is it?

Sunday morning.  Woohoo!  It's all over.  I'm married and all the parties are done.  I can finally relax after . . . I can't remember how long this whole thing took to plan and pull off. mmmmmmmmmm

After breakfast, my darling wife ajajajajaj takes a taxi to the wedding studio to return the white dress and a couple other outfits that we didn't end up using.  I try to get packed while she's gone, but my lovely daughter ajajajajaj decides to come over to our hotel room and interrupt me.  Still, I manage to get most of our stuff sorted and shoved into the right bags.  For reasons I can't imagine, there's metal foil confetti scattered throughout the suite. ahahahahah

Our daughter was shoved into a taxi to go back to her other parents' house.  The rest of us all piled into a taxi and got back to the village with plenty of time for her parents to make lunch.  Since her parents were still there, I redirected my fantasies from testing out the wedding bedding to having a nice, quiet, relaxing afternoon.  Just kick back . . .  relax . . . maybe take a nap . . . and . . .

start rearranging the furniture again! aoaoaoaoao llllllllll asasasasas llllllllll aoaoaoaoao

I thought I'd successfully derailed that runaway train the week before.  It turns out that wifey's parents had decided to invite her Aunt, Uncle, cousin, cousin's wife, and baby over to lunch or dinner at the house some unspecified time during the week.

This created several issues.  First, I REALLY needed to get some rest after all the entertainment of the previous days weeks months (seems like a couple of decades, at least), and rearranging everything I own is pretty much the opposite of relaxing.  Second, our dining table can barely hold 5 people, much less 8 or more.  Third, I was already way behind on work because of all of this and didn't need to spend the rest of the week moving things around and preparing for guests.  Fourth, I had foolishly been under the impression that my darling wife's parents would understand that newly married couples are, in virtually all cultures, traditionally left the hell alone after a wedding to rest, recover, and maybe actually enjoy some . . . spousal benefits.
 bhbhbhbhbh


So, instead of even getting a nap (on my scale of items needed for me to survive at that moment, a nap was rated only a tiny bit below oxygen), we  went out furniture shopping.  Items needed:  Some sort of display shelves and a bigger dining table.  There were two small stores nearby.  One just inside the village and one on a larger "shopping street" nearby.

The store inside the village had some shelves that I really didn't like.  Their dining table collection was an assortment of very low-grade wooden tops bolted onto folding legs. kkkkkkkkkk

The store outside the village didn't look too much more inviting - until the clerk chased us up the stairway in the back.  The second floor had some fairly nice furniture.  None of the shelves were right, but they had small glass top dining tables that were not too bad.  After some arguments over price, my darling wife beat them down to 250 RMB.  Since we still needed shelves, we didn't buy right away.

It was decreed decided that her parents could go back to the house and get some rest llllllllll before making dinner and that my darling and I could spend the remainder of our first free afternoon as husband and wife going to one of the big furniture stores on the east side of town. llllllllll llllllllll llllllllll

Along the way, I gently inquired how long we would be privileged to have her parents remaining as house guests.  She told me she wasn't sure.  Maybe 2 or 3 weeks. aqaqaqaqaq  Maybe longer. aqaqaqaqaq aqaqaqaqaq aqaqaqaqaq  Sadly, the back seat of a taxi cab offers few options for relatively quick, sure, and painless suicide.
 ananananan aoaoaoaoao eeeeeeeeee ananananan aoaoaoaoao eeeeeeeeee ananananan aoaoaoaoao eeeeeeeeee ananananan aoaoaoaoao eeeeeeeeee

The place we ended up in had 6 floors jammed full of furniture.  They covered the full spectrum.  From atrocious to attractive.  From tasteful to tacky.  I think they had enough to furnish all the houses in my village.

They had some nice glass dining tables, but those cost 3-8 times what the ones we'd looked at near the village cost.  What seemed lacking was a set of display shelves with cabinets underneath.  The few things that came close were either small or were set up with shelves and cabinet doors on both sides - useful as room dividers, but not workable against walls.  I did see a lot of things that gave me ideas for when we finally build our own house.

Finally, we worked our way up to the office furniture level.  I found an amazingly huge desk and executive chair that would make Bill Gates jealous, but it would have taken up the whole living room.  Tucked WAAAAY back in the corner was an acceptable glassed shelf and cabinet set with the floor model on sale for only 1150 RMB.  We went ahead and finished touring the building - the strange thing was that a sales girl shadowed us on the whole office furniture level.  On other floors, they only followed for a short distance before being replaced by a different one.  Stranger still, when we went back to buy the shelves (and a coat rack), we couldn't find anyone.  After a bit of shouting (I love the delicacy and grace of Chinese females in a shopping environment ahahahahah), a salesgirl was found.  They said they could deliver on Monday.

One the way back, we went back to the store with the glass tables.  En route, I explained to my darling that we'd probably need 2 to accommodate everyone.  We'd set up the second one as a tea table when were weren't having larger groups over.  On arrival, further negotiations knocked the price of 2 tables down to a total of 450 RMB, with a promise of delivery on or before Friday.

On Monday afternoon, the display shelves arrived.  They barely made it up the stairs and through the doorway.  The I had to fight to keep from losing all the space as her parents decided the best way to rearrange things and clean up the room was to shove the items onto the shelves.  I wanted to use the space for my small, but growing Alcoholic Beverages of China collection, for some of our nicer tea stuff, and for wedding gifts.  They were taking snacks off of a desk we used as a snack table and putting them on display. llllllllll  I finally couldn't take it anymore and spent some time hiding on the roof.

The rest of the week wore on slowly.  The tables kept not arriving and the other relatives were due for lunch on Saturday.  After my darling made threats of grave bodily injury asked politely, the store arranged to deliver 2 floor models on Friday with a promise to replace them with the ones we'd ordered a few days later.  I then had to restrain her father from moving one of the temporary tables into the position we were saving for a tea table - both since the table was temporary and because we needed both tables in the middle of the dining area to accommodate everyone.

Friday evening, we took them out to the local foot massage.  I guess I should have thought the timing of that through a little better.  Friday evenings are very busy at those places, so we ended up with 4 new girls.  Mine at least did a passable job popping some of the vertebrae in my neck and back (the first to succeed in this since the departure of the lovely, talented, and very strong #22), and the one working on my mother-in-law was reported as being ok.  My darling and her father were both annoyed after their girls didn't do well.  For some reason, the girl working on my darling wanted to focus on one foot and leg and mostly ignored the other, even after my wife told her to shift to the other side.  I've had this happen a couple of times when a massage girl didn't keep an eye on the clock and I ended up leaving with one leg massaged and the other not.  Under those circumstances, I find myself walking in circles. ahahahahah

I have now verified that it is possible to fit 8 adults and 1 baby at the pair of tables.  Two days later, the real ones arrived and the temporary ones went back on display at the furniture shop.

Sunday, we decided to continue this pattern of "never let me rest" by climbing a mountain.  This one wasn't one of the small ones in the parks near town.  This was somewhere way out on the boondocks and the park was huge.  We didn't make it all the way to the top and ended up turning around at "Heaven's Lake".  It looked more like "Heaven's Algae Pond" to me. ahahahahah  The we ended up having a late lunch at a shopping street down on the south end of Dongguan.  When we finally got home, I took a shower, fell face down on the bed, and passed out until dinner time.

Slowly, I was sinking into despair.  I really do like her parents, but live-in in-laws was not part of any prior discussion.  They have a nice apartment back in Jiangxi and have 3 more married children and 4 grandchildren there.  Had they decided that they really liked my quaint little village in Guangdong better?  Where they ever going to go home?  I couldn't even retreat to my office, since they'd commandeered that as their bedroom.  Instead, I had a network cable running out to a chair in the living room.  Doing my job is 1000 times harder if there are distractions, and there were plenty.  Like most Chinese, her mother seems to really like TV shows where the evil Japanese soldiers beat, torture, and kill innocent Chinese people (and the evil Japanese soldiers don't even have the courtesy to do this quietly while I'm working) before some Chinese hero comes in and quickly kills off the Japanese (and is occasionally even nice enough to do this fairly quickly and quietly - Go China! bjbjbjbjbj).

On Tuesday morning my darling wife asked me for 400 RMB for her parents.  I asked what for and she said the magic words, Train Tickets.  Happily, she caught me just before I was about to execute my most cunning plan to frighten off the in-laws.  That would have involved taking an overdose of viagra and then doing an hour-long aerobics exercise routine in the living room twice per day, . . . naked. ababababab

Thursday morning came.  We had breakfast.  I carried the heavy luggage (judging by the weight, I think my darling gave them each a few dozen bricks as souvenirs) down the stairs and out to the waiting car.  I'm sure they were touched that I stood there waving until the car got out to the main road.  I decided it would be wisest not to mention to my lovely bride of less than 2 weeks that I was really just making 100% certain that they were really gone. ahahahahah

Finally, I can work in peace. agagagagag

The only disturbance are the sounds from the industrial sewing machines next door and the occasional hammering from the metal shop at the end of the street.  It almost seems too quiet.  Almost, but not quite. ahahahahah

In a few hours, my darling bride will be home from work and we've got a whole weekend together with no in-laws. :candyraver:

Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Granny Mae on April 15, 2011, 09:13:48 PM
EL, you really are a great guy. bfbfbfbfbf There is NO WAY known to man, that I would have your patience. kkkkkkkkkk  I am however starting to understand why I can hear Asian ladies talking at the top of their voices about four rows of poker machines away from me. ahahahahah ahahahahah
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 29, 2011, 05:09:22 AM
Chapter 14.  It's all over (except for the honeymoon bhbhbhbhbh)

I was beginning to wonder if we'd ever hear back from the wedding studio, but they finally called and said all the stuff was ready.  Last night, we went to collect everything.  I had these visions of our pictures with random words, tacky song lyrics (Right now, in some wedding studio somewhere in China, some innocent couple's picture is being defaced with the lyrics to Muskrat Love.  The horror, the horror. aqaqaqaqaq), or other random "artistic" enhancements done to them.

I am happy to report that the liberal application of Klingon-style diplomacy (Terror must be maintained.) worked slightly better than anticipated.  There were no modifications or additions in the large framed pictures, and not a word of English or Chinglish to be seen in the albums or on any of the other items.  The ONLY changes anywhere were in two pics in the albums where we had requested that flaws near an edge of the pictures be fixed.  Beyond that, every stray hair was fully visible.

For those who've never had the joy of having a simple ID photo taken in China, let me fill you in.  After the pic is taken, the person at the photo store will spend anywhere from 10-30 minutes using photoshop to edit the pic.  This involves carefully making certain that there's not a single hair out of place and even can involve fixing up a few minor skin blemishes.  I'm always amazed at the level of effort put into something that's only going to end up being a tiny little ID photo.

So, now I've got 3 framed pics, the largest measuring 30 inches high and 40 inches wide, where I can see myself and my darling in very minute detail - and the "artist" decided not to spend even 1 minute to clean up the photos before sending these off for production. ffffffffff

Still, they all came out pretty good. agagagagag

The reasons for this are 3-fold.

1.  Both of my darlings are absolutely gorgeous! ajajajajaj akakakakak ajajajajaj akakakakak ajajajajaj akakakakak ajajajajaj
2.  Long hair (even when it's a little messy) on a guy is cool. acacacacac  At last, I live in a country where most people accept this very obvious fact. bjbjbjbjbj
3.  We had a TON of pics to chose from and dumped all the ones that had really big problems, since we didn't trust the "artist" to fix them properly.

So, the loot came to:

3 big pics to hang on the wall.
3 photo albums (in their very own gold tone carrying case)
Several smaller pics to go on desks
1 decorative wedding certificate in a clear frame
1 glass block (heart-shapped) picture
6 wallet sized photos
2 glass-block keychain photos

Getting all that home was fun.  The biggest framed pic barely fit into the back of the taxi.  The 3 framed ones were together in a huge cloth shopping bag.  Guess I'll only need one shopping back when I go to the grocery store now. ahahahahah

Plus the stuff already collected - about 300 pics on a disk, the wedding photo DVD, and 2 posters.

Now I just have to find a place where I can get more items produced without the HUGE markups the wedding photo studios build in and with a competent person to clean up the pics beforehand.  I could open an art museum just for the wedding pics. ababababab

Other future artistic plans are to get a bunch of us dressed up in traditional outfits and head back out to some of the old buildings in parks around town for our own photo shoots. bjbjbjbjbj


So, the wedding is finally over, the in-laws are gone, and all the stuff from the wedding studio has been collected.
 agagagagag :candyraver: agagagagag :candyraver: agagagagag

All that's left now is to decide where and when to have the honeymoon. bhbhbhbhbh

Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Granny Mae on April 29, 2011, 09:38:49 PM
Glad things are going so well EL. bfbfbfbfbf Can't wait for the Honeymoon info. afafafafaf ahahahahah
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on October 28, 2011, 12:36:14 AM
Delay after delay, but the honeymoon is FINALLY scheduled.  We're going to Guilin for the last week in November.

 bhbhbhbhbh agagagagag bhbhbhbhbh agagagagag bhbhbhbhbh
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Granny Mae on October 28, 2011, 08:56:02 PM
All the best to you and your darling. agagagagag After what you folks have been through,I reckon I'd need a long rest too before I had the strength to tackle a honeymoon. ahahahahah Don't forget to take some photos suitable for us to look at. uuuuuuuuuu
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 01, 2012, 03:50:19 AM
It's been exactly one year since my darling and I visited the Chapel Dongguan Civil Affairs Bureau of Love Harmonious Family Relationships.
 akakakakak akakakakak akakakakak
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: teacheraus on April 01, 2012, 07:04:53 AM
Congragulations EL on reaching such a great milestone    agagagagag agagagagag
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Ruth on April 01, 2012, 10:48:48 AM
Happy Anniversary.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: dragonsaver on April 01, 2012, 01:45:22 PM
Congratulations   agagagagag   However, didn't you have to delay the honeymoon for several months?  mmmmmmmmmm   cheexyblonde axaxaxaxax

That would mean the 'real' anniversary isn't for awhile yet   ahahahahah ahahahahah
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Granny Mae on April 01, 2012, 09:01:33 PM
Happy Anniversary to you and your Darling EL. agagagagag Hope you have many more. bfbfbfbfbf agagagagag
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 02, 2012, 03:30:37 AM
And today is the anniversary of the wedding parties. agagagagag

I'll have to plan something for the anniversary of the honeymoon bhbhbhbhbh this fall.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 01, 2013, 03:17:43 AM
Two years of wedded bruises bliss today. agagagagag
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Day Dreamer on April 01, 2013, 05:32:21 AM
Congrats, I had 7 beautiful years of wedded bliss.














However, we were married for 14
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: AMonk on April 01, 2013, 10:37:21 AM
Two years of wedded bruises bliss today. agagagagag



 agagagagag akakakakak agagagagag bhbhbhbhbh agagagagag akakakakak agagagagag
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Granny Mae on April 01, 2013, 09:47:07 PM
Congratulations EL to you and your darling. agagagagag  I've lost track of your wedding photo. Can you put in a connection for me. (sorry I don't know the technical terms). Did you do anything special (that you can tell us about)  to celebrate the day?
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 02, 2013, 03:48:57 AM
And today's the 2 years anniversary of the big wedding party.

As far as last night's celebrations, the publicly shareable part was a nice quiet dinner at a restaurant in town.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 01, 2014, 03:11:24 AM
And today is our 3rd wedding anniversary.  akakakakak akakakakak akakakakak

She just ran out and came back with a big plastic container full of wet concrete.  Happily, it's not for cement overshoes for me. ahahahahah  It's for an umbrella holder for the roof. agagagagag
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Tree on April 01, 2014, 06:06:37 AM
Cheers! May you and your loved one enjoy many more Umbrella holders!
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Day Dreamer on April 01, 2014, 04:12:52 PM
And today is our 3rd wedding anniversary.  akakakakak akakakakak akakakakak

She just ran out and came back with a big plastic container full of wet concrete.  Happily, it's not for cement overshoes for me. ahahahahah  It's for an umbrella holder for the roof. agagagagag

So in China, the gift for a third anniversary is cement? In Italy, that's for the first year. In Sicily, don't ask   bibibibibi

Happy Anniversary
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Granny Mae on April 01, 2014, 11:12:04 PM
Happy 3rd Anniversary to you and your darling! agagagagag
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 01, 2015, 01:20:04 AM
akakakakak   4 YEARS!   akakakakak


This year, I have something very special.  I've spend the last few months dashing all around Dongguan taking pics of things related to the wedding.  Why?  Because I had pics of he photo shoot and wedding day(s) and not much else.

Experience the shock and awe of what it's like to get married in China all over again, this time with pics.  Lots and lots of pics! (ok, the first few chapters don't have many, but I had to split some later chapters into parts)

My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding - at EscapedLunatic.com (http://escapedlunatic.com/lunatic-love-romance-china/big-fat-guangdong-wedding/)

My goal was to get it ready before the 4th anniversary, and I succeeded. agagagagag
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 01, 2015, 11:21:36 PM
 llllllllll llllllllll llllllllll My hosting company decided to change nameservers without telling me.  Now, the page shows as suspended.  Hopefully, they'll have this sorted out soon. llllllllll llllllllll llllllllll
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: adamsmith on April 02, 2015, 01:22:28 AM
I am glad I went through it yeserday. It was a good read and makes me thankful I did not have to go through all of that for my wedding. Hopefully you get it back again soon. agagagagag
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: El Macho on April 02, 2015, 02:34:03 AM
akakakakak   4 YEARS!   akakakakak


This year, I have something very special.  I've spend the last few months dashing all around Dongguan taking pics of things related to the wedding.  Why?  Because I had pics of he photo shoot and wedding day(s) and not much else.

Experience the shock and awe of what it's like to get married in China all over again, this time with pics.  Lots and lots of pics! (ok, the first few chapters don't have many, but I had to split some later chapters into parts)

My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding - at EscapedLunatic.com (http://escapedlunatic.com/lunatic-love-romance-china/big-fat-guangdong-wedding/)

My goal was to get it ready before the 4th anniversary, and I succeeded. agagagagag
Congratulations! Looking forward to the hosting being fixed so we can check out the photos!  bfbfbfbfbf
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 05, 2015, 12:47:28 AM
Finally got the attention of someone at my hosting company and they've got EscapedLunatic.com (http://escapedlunatic.com/) back up and running.

So. get ready for the wedding tale that only a Lunatic could have survived at My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding (http://escapedlunatic.com/lunatic-love-romance-china/big-fat-guangdong-wedding/).  Now with 7% less typos. ahahahahah

Hurry up and check it out before something else on the internet breaks.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Isidnar on April 06, 2015, 01:57:49 PM
...
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: CWL on April 06, 2015, 10:10:58 PM
Nice site!
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: The Local Dialect on April 07, 2015, 07:59:41 AM
I can't believe it has been 4 years already! I remember when the wedding planning was happening in real time and how excited you were. Glad to see the site is finally up!
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Granny Mae on March 31, 2016, 10:25:30 PM
Happy 5th Wedding Anniversary EL! Hope that you and your Darling have a very special day. bfbfbfbfbf agagagagag :candyraver: :dancemj: If you do anything interesting uuuuuuuuuu let us know. You can leave out the bits that might be censored! afafafafaf
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 02, 2016, 01:24:05 AM
I never leave out stuff that should be censored. afafafafaf  Alas, we were far too busy to engage in the traditional methods of anniversary celebration, but I did get my green card application in and got to spend time visiting my sick kitten at the vet's office/cat jail.  Now I'm packing and will be taking off in a couple hours.

So, just like the 1st honeymoon was delayed, I'll have to take care of the anniversary bhbhbhbhbh later.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Magic_Hat on July 27, 2016, 01:28:31 PM
Just read this entire thread, I so needed a good laugh ;)

Guilin is a beautiful place to have a honeymoon; I've recently visited myself.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on August 08, 2016, 02:25:03 AM
If you get a chance, check out the version with photos on my website.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 01, 2019, 01:15:32 AM
And I just wished the lovely Mrs. Lunatic a Happy 8th Anniversary.
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Granny Mae on April 01, 2019, 10:01:22 PM
Dare we ask how EL? ahahahahah
Title: Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
Post by: Escaped Lunatic on April 09, 2019, 12:39:56 AM
Dare we ask how EL? ahahahahah

Come visit us in China and we'll show you. afafafafaf