作者：李岘 （Maria L. Gee-Schweiger)
The moon on the night of Middle-Autumn Day was bright and clear, so I invited a few of my friends for wine and moon cakes at the last minute, and fortunately they all came. We talked in the moonlight about my wedding held three weeks ago. My husband was out that night, so we might as well chat in Chinese, and the hearty-laugh topics went wild, one after another. There was so much to be laughed at that the get-together went on nearly till the midnight, when they suggested to me to write the anecdotes down, not only to promote mutual understandings between the Oriental and Western cultures, but also to serve as life common sense necessary for new Chinese immigrants to America.
Well, since persons involved are O.K. with it, I am absolutely in. Actually, these anecdotes were indeed troubles during my wedding preparation which nearly made me cry. (Continued from the last periodical)
Anecdote one: Do you believe that Brides’ families pay for weddings
After wearing an engagement ring for a year, I began to plan the wedding. Originally, I thought that we have already been very experienced in life and would not have a formal wedding. But after discussion with my fiancé, we decided to plan for a more formal wedding with our friends. I wishfully thought that we could have the wedding in our beautiful backyard with the mountains in the background and the swimming pool water was sufficient. We both agreed to that plan initially.
My friends did not agree. “No, we want to make him understand that there is a place more suitable for you. A lake instead of a swimming pool and a lakeside Clubhouse is very elegant”.
Accepting their hospitality, my fiancé and I arrived at the scene the next day. Wow, two white swans were playing around in the lake water. The tranquil shore pavilion silhouetted against a blue sky was reflected in the water. A clubhouse above the lake was more than enough to accommodate 100 people. An elegant hall even made our previous simple thoughts seem absurd. When we learned that this place was already rented to September, we paid a deposit immediately.
Friends saw that my fiancé generously changed all my arrangements, and immediately they gave him even a better impression than they already had. In fact, they do not know, in accordance with the customs of the United States, the woman is to bear all the costs of the wedding, and the man is responsible only for drinks. This is a far cry from our Chinese culture that the value of the woman's participation in the wedding is matched to her husband's willingness for the marriage and the love for the bride!
This cultural difference is not so easy to be reconciled. Even though I learned of the custom after the engagement, my fiancé told me that this custom was for the wedding of young couples where the women’s family is responsible for the expense. As for the wedding ceremony for middle-aged, generally they no longer rely on the woman's family. He was willing to share the cost of the wedding, and this made me feel more important. I was moved by his generosity. But during the preparations for the wedding, my inner feelings were broken from time to time: Why is the woman responsible for the planning of the wedding? Why does the woman spend money on a wedding? Why the man’s money is considered generous? If this was in China...
My friends now recognized that they were making me pay more money for the nicer place. Hey, why didn’t you say that earlier! After a successful wedding I was very happy to spend the money for a fun wedding. So if you have daughters you must prepare for this expense. The good news is that you have the major say over what type of wedding you will have. On the other hand, if you have a son you can save on some expense of the wedding but you will also lose your rights to plan the wedding. Otherwise wedding planning will cause many problems for both families, and this helps explain why so many brides change their minds at the last minute in Hollywood movies!