After surprising my British family and friends last year by ‘suddenly’ getting married and after explaining to them all that in China a wedding involves at least two parts, we have finally set a date to hold our wedding banquet 婚礼 this autumn in Dalian.
When Chinese couples register their marriage 登记 they don’t usually make a big deal of it, often going in normal clothes, but we treated the day as our wedding day, dressed up and checked into a hotel suite later that day for a mini honeymoon. Me and R, therefore, felt fully satisfied with our wedding. I’ve never been a girl to dream of a big white wedding with everyone looking at me. I’ve always dreamt of small and intimate. It had been very small: me, my new husband and my new in-laws!
However, R’s parents were really keen to hold a big banquet. The first reason they gave was that they wanted to get back their investment. Huh? Investment? I thought. Well it turns out they’ve been to a ton of weddings and always given the customary gift of cash in a red envelope. And they would like to get it back. Never mind that they have to spend a load of money to get it back. The second reason they’d like to hold a wedding banquet is the legal part is separate from the social part, so couples aren’t considered married until after the big celebration. The legal part is a formality. The social part is the real deal. Even today many couples don’t live together until after their wedding banquet. So I guess R’s parents haven’t been able to spread our happy news. Breaking of the news to their wider family and friends should come in the form of an invitation to our wedding banquet. And that hasn’t happened yet.
So the wedding banquet really isn’t about us. We’ve had our fun. It’s about the family. They want to celebrate our happiness. And who are we to deprive them of that? After all, they do want to pay!
Alas, the wedding planning must commence. My preferences may be loosely taken into account. Having been to a big city wedding banquet last year (R’s cousin), I had two initial preferences. No smoking and no seafood. Both have already been laughed off… but I must remember, it’s not about me.