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Author Topic: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding  (Read 27953 times)

china-matt

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Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
« Reply #15 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?"
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Escaped Lunatic

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Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
« Reply #16 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.
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The Local Dialect

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Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
« Reply #17 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.

Escaped Lunatic

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Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
« Reply #18 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
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BrandeX

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Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
« Reply #19 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.

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Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
« Reply #20 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

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BrandeX

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Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2011, 12:34:13 PM »
There have been several "empties" at the weddings I have been to.

The Local Dialect

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Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
« Reply #22 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.

Escaped Lunatic

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Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
« Reply #23 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.
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Ivy

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Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
« Reply #24 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

IvyEhmeralh <3

Mr Nobody

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Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
« Reply #25 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.
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Escaped Lunatic

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Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
« Reply #26 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
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Day Dreamer

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Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
« Reply #27 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
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china-matt

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Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
« Reply #28 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).
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Escaped Lunatic

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Re: My Big Fat Guangdong Wedding
« Reply #29 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.
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