Some of you may already be aware through either discussions with me over MSN, or, more controversially, gossip and talking behind people’s back, that there will be a wedding on 20th July this year. Some of you may not be aware after reading the last sentence that my wife and I are actually 2 years into our legal marriage and thus may come to the conclusion that this is a shotgun wedding.
Please lah, I say accident is CAR accident, not pre-marital accident OK? Wah lau…
The truth is, after we signed off on the big black dotted lines at the very clinical, quite unromantic Registry of Marriages (Next… , OK, do you? And do you? Right, I now pronounce, Next… OK, do you?…), my wife and I were playing with the idea of holding a wedding dinner, as well as playing with the idea of NOT holding a wedding dinner.
When I was a kid, wedding dinners meant 8- to 10-course king’s feasts where you stuff your mouth in peach bun eating competitions, then run around and get sweaty with all the other relative’s kids and generally celebrate the freedom of being a 10-year-old kid rather than the newly-found marital bliss of the wedded couple hosting the dinner (whom you barely even know anyway). As you grow up though, the concept of the wedding dinner gets a little more complicated with each passing year.
By the time you’re 30 years old and thinking about doing your own, the concept of the wedding dinner has become a monster of a task not unlike the Taiwanese government choosing its cabinet ministers (you’ve seen the fistfights, too, right?). I told a friend once who was also contemplating getting married that wedding dinners are quite basically paying homage to one’s parents for allowing the nuptials to take place, and an announcement to your immediate world that you are now ready to embark on a life that embodies legitimate sexual relations.
But above and beyond that, the true test of how far you have gone in your life socially is planning the guest list. This is where the Taiwan politics comes into play, and it becomes a real eye-opener for the soon-to-be-traditionally-married-in-Asian-culture couple. Some of the things that will affect the formation of the guest list include:
- who to invite because they’re related to you;
- who to invite because they know you;
- who not to invite because they’re related to you (it happens);
- who not to invite because they know you (too well);
- who can come because they happen to be in the country;
- who can’t come because they’re in jail;
- who to put in which table so as to encourage wedding table banter, or discourage wedding dinner gang fights;
- who not to invite because you don’t have enough seats (and they didn’t invite you to theirs, so hmph!);
- etc. etc. etc.
Let me now qualify that in the last month or so since we started planning for this wedding dinner, we have experienced ALL the above conditions, and as funny as it seems, it really isn’t. Particularly when finding out someone’s in jail, that’s like, whoa.
In any case, for those invited to our joyous celebration, expect the unexpected (we’ve got one or two surprises lined up for the day), and rest assured we will try our best to accommodate to your tastes and social standing. As the Chinese always like to say, 如有不妥，请多多包涵 (if at any time you experience any unhappiness during the proceedings, we apologise for any inconvenience caused in advance).
For those of you who have just joined in and are wondering why you didn’t get an invite, thank you for reading this far into the post, please read the aforementioned Chinese saying (or its translation) and drop me an email or Facebook message, and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
And remember, it’s Shanghai Night, so come in your Shanghai Tang best!