I recently met up with two good friends, a married couple who’ve been together forever, and tied the knot last year. They are the sweetest young couple I know, fiercely loyal to each other, clearly in love and staying that way — and after hearing about just what went into their wedding day and dinner, I’m not surprised they’re as tight as they are. Planning a wedding of that size (huge ceremony! decorations! almost 80 tables of guests!) either tears you apart or binds you for life!
And then they asked me about my own wedding planning… and from my (vague) answers, it became clear that I can be categorized as an anti-bride.
Married couple (MC): Have you decided on a date?
Me: We have our time frame, we’ll just register when it’s convenient.
MC: Found your wedding dress?
Me: Going to pick up something casual, off the rack.
MC: Wedding dinner?
Me: Maybe, will think about it later.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m excited about being married. I want the marriage. I just don’t think my personality type (introverted, freaked out if I become the center of attention, stingy with money, tense in the face of formality) can handle a “proper” wedding.
If there must be a wedding, I want it to be a kooky affair. The only time being in a group doesn’t intimidate me is when we’re being silly together, laughing at each other. I want to have a funny anti-wedding.
But a wedding is also about family, and there’s no way my mother will let me be overly eccentric.
Here are three anti-bride ideas that she’s already shot down:
1. A McWedding
Last year, people responded to news of McDonald’s McWeddings in Hong Kong with both amusement and outrage. “That’s wild!” said one friend. “That’s ridiculous!” said another. Guess which camp I belong to.
It would have been the perfect wedding for two McD’s aficionados like ourselves. We could have pledged eternal devotion to each other, then vowed to keep traveling together in a quest to try all the localized options McD’s has to offer, like the McAloo Tikki in India or the McArabia in Morocco.
2. Marrying in Matching Clothes
Yesterday, my mom took me shopping for wedding stuff — dresses, shoes, accessories. But nothing really excited me until I saw two T-shirts — one in black that shouted I AM THE HOTTEST in white script, and the other in white with I AM THE COOLEST emblazoned across the chest.
All of a sudden I remembered the matching clothes that Chinese couples love to sport in public. I’ve always thought the trend was more quirky than corny, but have had a hard time convincing my fiance to try it. But on my wedding day… shouldn’t he bend to my wishes? I decided he should.
“These!” I exclaimed to my mom. “We can wear these when we register!”
“Wear what?” she asked, looking around and not seeing dresses or suits, and thus thoroughly confused.
“These matching T-shirts! They’re in white and black, perfect bride and groom colors!”
The withering look she gave me proved that I can’t bend her to my wishes. Fiance, your future mother-in-law saved you this time.
3. No Chinese Wedding Photos
One of the first wedding questions my friend and fellow cross-cultural blogger Jocelyn asked me was: “Are you going to do the wedding photos like in China?” Back then, my answer was a firm “no.”
“Official Chinese wedding photography” usually refers to the practice of posing for professional portraits in studios, not photos of the couple taken on the actual wedding day. My Chinese friends who have done it love the experience — they have so much fun trying on multiple costumes, contorting themselves into different poses for photos they will cherish many years down the road. Initially reluctant non-Chinese spouses seem to think it was worth the expense and effort when they see the final results. Some of my favorite East-West wedding photos are from:
- Kelly of Tales from Hebei (white female, Chinese male)
- Crystal, formerly of LoveLoveChina (Chinese female, white male)
- Jo of Life Behind the Wall (black female, Chinese male)
But as much as I love ogling others’ photos, I didn’t want to take any myself. The reasons weren’t very different from why I don’t want a traditional wedding, as mentioned above. And maybe also because I have an aversion to makeup (haven’t worn any since 2007).
My mom worried that I would regret it. Actually, she was absolutely certain I would regret not having official photos, Chinese style. I can always take them down the road, I said. “Don’t be crazy lah!” she replied. “This is to remember your youth. You have nice skin now. Why do you want to take wedding photos when you are old and wrinkly?”
Since she put it that way… I guess vanity wins. Photo studio and cute poses, here we come.