Berry Pocky!

Nice to meet you >__

1. How did you meet your partner?
-Online, We started talking, and then Skype..then we met, and everything just fell into place, we've been together ever since.
2. What is your ethnic background?
-I'm american
What is your partner's ethnic background?
-He is Japanese, he moved from Japan 4 years ago.
3. Have you set a date and location? If so, when and where?
-Next July, tossing around ideas, so have not set a definite place yet.
4. What are you most looking forward to in wedding planning?
-Trying to find a good theme is kinda fun to me
5. What kinds of challenges are you and your partner facing in planning your wedding?
Putting some Japanese traditions or elements in the wedding, I don't even know where to start
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1. How did you meet your partner?

2. What is your ethnic background?  What is your partner's ethnic background?

3. Have you set a date and location?  If so, when and where?

4. What are you most looking forward to in wedding planning?

5. What kinds of challenges are you and your partner facing in planning your wedding?

1.) My husband and I met at the Fire + Ice restaurant in Boston’s Back Bay 5 years ago at a dinner gathering of mutual friends. It was a quasi-set up, and we were seated next to each other at dinner. We both bonded over our passion for the Red Sox!

2.) We are both Chinese American. My parents immigrated to Toronto in their 20s from Hong Kong, and I was born there. When I was 5, I moved to suburban Mass, where I grew up. My husband’s father is an ABC and his mother immigrated here as a child from Hong Kong. My husband was born in Massachusetts and grew up there too..

3.) We got married in Boston last August. We planned the ceremony long distance from Chicago. It was important to both of us to get married in the city we met and where both our families still lived. Our  wedding ceremony was jointly officiated by a Catholic priest and Protestant minister in my hometown Catholic Church in the suburbs. Afterwards we had a tea ceremony attended by close family at a hotel. Then we had a Chinese banquet reception in Chinatown (I was the one who left the China Pearl comment for the earlier post.) It was a long day, but worth it!! I changed 4 times! (white wedding gown, traditional “kwa”, Chinese cheongsam, and party dress). We had about 180 guests, most of whom were out of town from all over the States and Canada.

4.) and 5.) Our favorite part of planning the wedding was putting our own personal stamp on our special day by incorporating both Chinese and American traditions.  My husband and I were truly thrilled with our wedding, but it was not without ups and downs. It’s interesting that even though we are both Chinese American, we found that there were many cultural and attitude differences in our families that didn't make things any easier. His family was more “Americanized” than my parents in some respects and more “traditional Chinese” in others, and vice versa! It was the first wedding for both families and we felt a lot of pressure from both sides to do everything in the “right way”. The major disagreements we encountered included how to do the tea ceremony “properly,” how to dress “the Best Person”, and little reception details here and there. My husband and I insisted on a “Sweetheart table” at the Chinese reception, which I’m glad we were able to work out. But, at the end of the day, we had to figure out what was important to us and we stuck to it the best we could. Our advice to other Asian American couples is to do the same!
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2003 Wedding in Cleveland, Ohio

1. How did you meet your partner?

Vic & I met a LONG time ago, in 1995, in undergrad at CWRU (Case Western Reserve University) at our summer jobs at the Law School. He was the mail boy and I worked in the Registrar's office. Our mutual friend was bored one day, so she decided to play a joke on us: she convinced us that we liked each other, even though we didn't. Guess the ruse worked.

2. What is your ethnic background? What is your partner's ethnic background?

I'm white (Polish-Slovak-Slovenian), and my husband is Taiwanese (1st generation).

3. Have you set a date and location? If so, when and where?

We were married September 6, 2003, in Cleveland, Ohio.

4. What are you most looking forward to in wedding planning?

Well, I remember looking forward to having the tea ceremony with our parents, the ceremony, and the reception...we waited 8 years to get married!

5. What kinds of challenges are you and your partner facing in planning your wedding?

Oh my goodness, where to begin! Have you seen "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"? It was pretty much like that, except with Asian people. We had the invitations made in Taipei, which took 3 days, 12 phone calls and about a million faxes to get right. My husband & his mother pretty much took over the details, from the dj to the food...I pretty much did the wedding ceremony (a Christian ceremony, white dress, violins, etc.). The challenges were mostly of the "detail" variety, with Vic's mom sweating out every detail, from the abalone vs. shrimp debate to the endless discussions over seating charts. I wanted to chuck the seating-chart idea, but apparently it was very important for Chinese people to be seated "just so".

Before we started planning, each of us decided on the one thing that mattered the most to us - and that was the thing we had ultimate control over. My thing was the pictures - so I found the best photographer in the area and we spent a small fortune on the pictures (but it was totally worth it - we still have our huge 16 x 20" wedding photo hanging in our living room)! Vic's thing was the reception food. So, he (and his mom) worked on that - and it turned out really great (even though Vic & I didn't eat it). Since we were doing the wedding in Cleveland, and we wanted it to reflect Vic's Chinese heritage, we went 50/50 - 1/2 of the wedding would be "white" (the ceremony) and the other half would be "Chinese" (the reception). My mom pretty much stayed out of it, since she already had 1 daughter married off and Vic & I had a good handle on things. Now, although we had been dating 8 years, Vic's mom still wasn't 100% ready for a white daughter-in-law. So, I had to prove myself by being totally humble and letting her do her thing. Oh, and promise to raise my kids in the Chinese way. :)

The thing is, while I did initially want to have my "dream wedding", I realized that I would have much more happiness and future peace in my life, if I let some of my stuff go in favor of getting everyone involved. After all, when you marry into a Chinese family, you really do "marry the family" - and if you plan on seeing your in-laws regularly (and even if you don't), you need to start laying the groundwork for a peaceful road ahead. By having my mother-in-law pick the invitations and plan the seating (which I honestly did not care about), I was showing her that I was an obedient daughter-in-law and (most important) that I respected her.

Though Vic & I did have some blowout fights, we made it through. The key was to only stress about the things that will matter down the road...and leave the rest to the professional stresser (that would be the mother-in-law).

We had about 400 guests, and my MIL, her sister, and their mother (yup, grandma (Ah-Ma) flew in from Taiwan just to be there) wrote out all the place cards by hand - in English AND Chinese - the night before.

And then we lost the seating chart.

Luckily, we had a backup seating chart at the reception there's the moral for you...always have a backup seating chart! Nah, just kidding.

So, in the end, it all went off without a hitch; the wedding ceremony was beautiful, and even though it was Protestant (which freaked the heck out of my Catholic family), they were very pleased that the ceremony was totally God-centered and all about celebrating marriage. We did do a tea ceremony afterwards, in the Pastor's parents & grandparents really liked that, and we managed to make Vic's mom cry; so, mission accomplished there. The reception was totally Chinese - I changed into a qui-pao that I got on eBay, and we managed to play Chinese wedding games, do the chicken dance, and polka all in one night! My family said that it was truly a unique wedding - they still talk about it to this day.

(BTW, the little biscuit at the top of this post is our son - born in May 2006 - whose Chinese name translates to "original foundation for an abundant life". Word, yo.)
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1. How did you meet your partner?  Wayne and I met our senior year in undergrad at a lockdown mental health facility where I was an intern and he had just gotten a job there. We also ended up having a class together around that same time, so we actually ended up seeing a lot of each other.

2. What is your ethnic background? What is your partner's ethnic background? I'm Filipina and Wayne is Taiwanese.

3. Have you set a date and location? If so, when and where? Everything is pretty tentative right now. We're both still in grad school, so we're going to wait until we've graduated before focusing on planning the wedding. So, that's in about 2 years. As far as location, I think we're set on getting married in San Diego because it's the closest we can get to Hawaii without actually going there. (That's ideally where I'd like it cuz I have family over there.) Plus, most of Wayne's family lives in San Diego. I'm from the Bay Area, but I have relatives all over the west coast and most of us have travelling benefits, so it shouldn't be too hard to fly out to San Diego.

4. What are you most looking forward to in wedding planning? I love the creative aspect of it and just creating something that represents both of us and not something that is realy traditional. And I'm looking forward to getting together with friends and family and just planning it all together.

5. What kinds of challenges are you and your partner facing in planning your wedding? Well, this is the reason, I'm joined this community. Mostly because there are a bunch of challenges that we're already dealing with and we're not even getting married anytime in the near future! The most obvious one for both of us is that Wayne's dad isn't happy that I'm not Taiwanese. He's concerned with communication and preservation of the Taiwanese culture in the family. For me, language is hard because Wayne's family tends to speak in Mandarin to one another even though they can speak English and it's hard for me to jump in and try to join the conversation. And that's exactly what his dad isn't happy with. Wayne is really worried that our getting married with put a strain on his and his father's relationship. His dad doesn't even know that we're officially engaged yet! When we told his mom, she flipped out because she thought it meant that we were going to get married within the next couple months. Apparently, that's what usually happens in Chinese culture. So Wayne decided to not even tell his Dad we're officially engaged. He knows that we want to get married, though.

Other conerns have to deal with my mom wanting a Christian wedding which Wayne and I definitely do not want, and, being typical Filipino that she is, my mom told me that no one will come to the wedding if it's not Christian. I love it when parents threaten their kids. She also doesn't understand why we want it outdoors. I want an outdoor wedding along a beach or something gorgeous like that. For her, she would prefer that I have a traditional wedding and that the wedding is usually about what the woman wants, which isn't something that Wayne and I want it to be. We want it to be both our wedding. Anyway, that's our predicament in a nutshell. Doesn't that suck? It's good to know that other couples have similar issues. Looking forward to hearing your suggestions, comments, and stories, too!

back to square 1 with location

So my parents and I went out to Boston to have lunch at Jin Asian Cuisine in Saugus on Route 1.  This place is slightly out of control!  It was built less than 10 years ago, and it's a monstrosity.  It's about 15 minutes north of downtown Boston.

My parents are a bit excited about its prospects, but I was not feeling it at all.
1. It was soooo over the top.  While it is lovely, the decor was just too "oriental" for me.  I honestly felt like I would need to hit a gong everytime a guest walked in. 
2. I was totally offended by the wedding coordinator.  She was a really nice white lady, but she kept referring to white people as "Americans" and my family and friends as "Chinese."  For example, she said things like "well, you should think about having a cocktail/hors d'oevres hour for your American guests since you know how your Chinese guests will be at least an hour late.  And you'll need extra alcohol for your American guests since Chinese people don't really drink." 

It was just annoying to the point where I actually stopped her at one point and said to her, "my family, we're American too.  So if you mean white people, then say white people."  Plus, how does she know that my friends are all either Chinese or white.  And how does she know that my non-white friends don't drink?  Shooooot, Koreans - they can DRINK!  And I've got some Filipino, Latino, Black, South Asian, and Vietnamese friends than can drink people under the table.  Heck, I have Chinese American friends who can drink like no other. 

It was a nice facility, and the food is good, but I don't know if I could handle a wedding coordinator who would stereotype me at every turn.  I don't think I could contract there, based on the over the top decor and the difficulties I would have working with the wedding coordinator there.  I don't know, am I being too picky? 

We then went to Chinatown to check out Hei La Moon which is very conveniently located on the outskirt of C'town with a parking garage above it.

The decor is totally modern and not "chinky" or "oriental" like at Jin.  It had nice wood panel walls, and I could tell that when it first opened about 3 years ago it was a very nice place.  Now, they haven't had their carpet cleaned probably in 3 years and things are really dirty.  The bathroom was nasty.  And there were some broken windows.  To top it all off, the manager of the restaurant refused to talk to us because we haven't set a date yet.  GRRRRRR.

So now I'm back to square one.  New York? Boston? San Francisco?  My parents are saying that they don't care as long as I'm happy, but I know that's BS.  They're trying to be nice and all, but they give these passive aggressive guilt trips.  For example, my dad says to me, "you know if you have it in San Francisco, I'm sure it'll be really nice, but you know none of our relatives in Connecticutt and Mass will go.  Why would they go out just for your wedding?"  It's frustrating me to no END!  I'd rather they just be up front with me and tell me that they prefer Boston, because.... Instead, I'm left feeling awful.

So, maybe New York would be best after all, since the restaurants in Queens were actually really nice and clean.  I had dinner with my cousin who just got married, and I straight asked her "if it was in SF, would you go?"  She was like "we'd try our best."  I asked, "if it was in NY would you go?"  She said, "it would be easier." 

So there you have it.  SF is hard, and NY is easier.  So maybe I'll be making S happy after all and we do everything in NYC.

My head is spinning!  Do people set a date first and then a location?  Or do they do location first then date?  Or do they do both at the same time?? 

Allow me to introduce myself.

1. How did you meet your partner?
In college we both had part-time jobs at the campus printing press. This was in 1998, but we didn't get together until 2001. The time in between was spent going to concerts, drinking, etc. with our other co-workers.

2. What is your ethnic background? What is your partner's ethnic background?
I am Japanese/Chinese--3rd generation on the Chinese side, 4th (I think) on the Japanese side. My husband is Chinese, Hawaiian, Portuguese, English, Dutch, French, and maybe some other things.

3. Have you set a date and location? If so, when and where?
We got married in June 2005 in a judge's office in Honolulu and had two parties in August--one on O'ahu with mostly our friends and my family, and another on the Big Island with mostly his family. The O'ahu one was in a Chinese restaurant and the Big Island one was at my father-in-law's house. We had two parties because we didn't think either one would be a big enough event for people to fly in for.

4. What did you most look forward to in wedding planning?
Picking a color and making things match. Buying a pretty dress--though not a wedding dress, just a sundress. Planning and sampling food. Designing a cake--but not a traditional wedding cake. Instead I had a friend draw something for us. Spending time with friends. (And I guess family too.)

5. What kinds of challenges did you and your partner face in planning your wedding?
The biggest one was both moms wanting us to do things more traditionally or fancier. I think even when they didn't say anything, we (or just I) felt pressured, like... is it okay to do it this way? Will people be pissed? Will they think our marriage isn't serious if we don't do it traditionally? In the end, we mostly stuck to our guns and did things we could live with. And it went okay.

My intro

1. How did you meet your partner?
2. What is your ethnic background?  What is your partner's ethnic background? 
3. Have you set a date and location?  If so, when and where?
4. What are you most looking forward to in wedding planning?
5. What kinds of challenges are you and your partner facing in planning your wedding?

1. I met S almost 3 years ago at the first ever Hyphen Magazine Speed-dating event.  I didn't go there looking for anything but an opportunity to support one of my favorite grass-roots community magazines.  He was extremely persistent in meeting up with me after speed-dating, which was the only way things would work, since at the time I was busy traveling doing speaking gigs on behalf of the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum.  If you want to read more, Hyphen's blog has a whole run down of an interview they did with us a year after we met.

2. I am 2nd generation Chinese American.  S is also 2nd generation Chinese American.  My family is from Hong Kong.  His is from the Philippines.  I find being with another Asian American to be wonderful, but also it means dealing with Asian immigrant parent-inlaws... *sigh* so frustrating.

3. This is the biggest headache and hurdle.  I live in LA.  He lives in San Francisco.  My family is in Massachusetts.  His is in NYC.  Location is a bit of a challenge.  Also, as a PhD student my coursework should be done in Spring 2007 so I'll be moving back to the SF bay area to be with him and to start my dissertation.  So things will be very hectic in the summer of '07, so I'd rather not have a wedding in Fall '07.  So... the answer is sometime in 2008... somewhere in the United States.

4. I'm most looking forward to making things unique and special for me and S, going to couples counseling to strengthen our relationship for the future, and moving back to the Bay area to be with him as we seriously dive into wedding planning together.

5. See #2 - geographic challenges.  Also, his mother is not a big fan of mine based on very superficial and hurtful things.  So things are a bit sticky.  Also, my parents have their own idea of what needs to happen in a wedding.  How can we locate the events and manage events so that everyone is happy?... shoot, I'll settle for managing everything so no one is pissed off at people. 

Why an Asian American Wedding Blog Community?

Almost a year ago my (then) boyfriend surprised me by proposing to me in February 2006.  It was so exciting.  But planning has been slow going due to my status as a grad student, our long distance relationship (San Francisco - Los Angeles), crazy Asian American family drama, and our families being located in Massachusetts and New York - clear across the country from us.

One of my favorite blog communities is weddingbee, partly because it is predominantly a community of Asian American brides, even though it is not explicitly and Asian American community.  As I started blogging about my own wedding planning joys and woes I realized a lot of what I was going through was an Asian American experience.  My parents are immigrants and they have their own culture.  I was born and raised in the US and I have my own culture.  So our expectations are different for a wedding.  Oddly, my mom wants a country club/hotel, but I want a Chinese banquet.  You'd think it would be the other way around.  Also I don't really want sharks fin soup because of the horrible industry practices, but my mom would be mortified and ashamed if we didn't have it there.

Who is welcome?
Anyway, I'd love to somehow create a community for Asian American brides and grooms - both those who are planning their weddings and those who have already gone through their nuptuals - to share our experiences with each other.  My hope is that this community can also be welcoming to folks of all genders and sexual orientations, even though they are still marginalized in this arena of weddings and marriage (hope that will change soon).  I'm sure folks will ask if Asian Americans marrying non-Asians are welcome, and I say "of course!"  Some assume that there's only cultural conflict when we "marry outside the race/culture," but as someone marrying a 2nd generation Asian American, I can atest to the fact that cultural conflict happens even within our own communities.  We will share commonalities even though I'm sure that this group will grow to be a very diverse group of Asian Americans.

How to join
Just join the community, and in your first post answer the following questions.
1. How did you meet your partner?
2. What is your ethnic background?  What is your partner's ethnic background?
3. Have you set a date and location?  If so, when and where?
4. What are you most looking forward to in wedding planning?
5. What kinds of challenges are you and your partner facing in planning your wedding?

Hope to get a community going here soon!

P.S. The default picture for this community is a press picture from SIS Productions' presentation of the play "My Ultra Quirky Asian American Wedding".

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