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The Pioneer

Expectations rise for wedding

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Expectations rise for wedding

Photo courtesy of Shardayyy Photography

Photo courtesy of Shardayyy Photography

Photo courtesy of Shardayyy Photography

Clinton Louie,
Contributor

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The greatest moment of my life — so far — is the day that my fiancé accepted my wedding proposal.

I met her ten years ago in a band we both played in; she was the bass player and I was the drummer.

I had planned the proposal for the better part of a month, and felt extremely accomplished and joyful when she accepted.

However, after the hours of bliss subsided, I became chilled by the logistics of planning the wedding.I began to worry about the changes that will affect our life and future.

Although I think I’m ready, there are a few things that freak me out: I’m still a college student trying to finish up my education and the cost of the wedding will be near $40,000.

An average wedding in 2015 costs $32,641, according to CNBC.

This is a jump of 4.6 percent since 2014 and doesn’t include the engagement ring or honeymoon.

My fiancé’s parents have many expectations for me, and I’m afraid of doing something wrong.

I am a second-generation Chinese American who is marrying a first-gener-ation Chinese American.

My parents don’t expect us to follow Chinese traditions, but my fiancé’s family wants us to adhere to traditional Chinese wedding customs, like having a wedding banquet, which is bigger than the wedding ceremony.

Our wedding is only four months away.

On my wedding day, there will a traditional Chinese wedding game, in which my groomsmen and I will attempt to negotiate my fiancé.

After that, there will be a two-part Chinese tea ceremony, one of which will take place at her parents’ house, where we both pray to our ancestors, light incense and then serve tea to our parents.

The same ceremony will then be performed for my parents before we change out of our traditional Chinese wedding clothes and go to the non-traditional wedding venue for our vows and ceremony.

Then we take our pictures. Afterwards, we will move to a Chinese restaurant, where it is custom for my soon-to-be wife to change out of her wedding dress and into another traditional Chinese wedding gown.

The reception will take place there and feature a banquet and an eight-course meal.

My cost breakdown is extensive. Eight hours at the wedding venue costs $1,700. A one-stop, wedding planning service hub that provides the photographer, videographer, decorations, make-up, wedding dress rentals, flowers, DJ and event emcee will cost us nearly $9,000.

The major cost of my wedding is the Chinese banquet, which will cost about $20,000.

Typically, when a Chinese wedding will bring just over 100 guests to a Chinese restaurant, it costs $100 a head.

We have almost 200 guests attending, and we hired a wedding planner to help, so I will spend almost $40,000 on this wedding.

We are spending more than we would like to because our families are dictating our guest list and wedding customs.

We could avoid the cost and cultural obligations that our families are holding us to, but I’d rather get married without our parents chastising us for the rest of our lives for not doing things their way.

If I was only planning one thing at a time, I could rest easy, but the responsibility of fulfilling all these tasks worries me. I hope I’m ready, but I’d be wise to admit that I’m not.

At times I want to tell everyone that we’re having a 20-minute wedding under a waterfall in Tahiti with 20 people attending, but this won’t happen.

I have to cover the costs of my wedding, work towards my graduation and stay true to the customs that my future in-laws expect of me. I can’t help but ask myself that in the end, will this all be worth it? Will I be happy?

I only need to look at my fiancé to know that the answer is yes.

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Expectations rise for wedding