This is my wedding story and my name is Emp, short for Empress. I choose this name because it is similar to my Chinese name. I am from China, Suzhou and it is Suzhou is located in southern Jiangsu Province. I met my husband when we were classmates in the same university, both of us majoring in Economics. I noticed him in class because his results are always so good; he is always top of the class. One day, I needed some help with a topic that I kept getting low scores in, Wei (that’s his name) volunteered to stay after class and gave me extra lessons. This went on for a few weeks and soon after that, we officially became a couple. We dated for 2 years and he proposed for the first time. I rejected him because at that time, both of us are fresh graduates, still searching for jobs and I didn’t want to make any commitment to him right away. He was very disappointed but being the strong-headed person, he refused to give up and asked me every single Valentine’s day to marry him. We have dated for 7 years before I agree to marry him. Why did I agree? You will need to follow my story to find out!
Wei’s persistence and his patience soon won my heart over. But this is especially so when we started in our new jobs. I was working as a Marketing Assistant and I needed to travel with my boss frequently to Hong Kong and Shanghai but Wei was not pleased about that. We often argue about that because I was not happy with the workload as well and it take time away from my family. At that time, my grandmother who was staying with us is physically immobile hence I wanted to be around her more to take care of her. Wei wanted me to quit my job but I refused to do so thinking he will use it to control me further.
A year later, my grandmother fell really ill, I had to give up my job to take care of her, this causes even lesser time to meet up with Wei. But he did not give up, he would cook simple dishes for me and wait for me outside of my apartment because he knows I did not have any time to cook and often had to call in food deliveries. When my family needed financial aid for my grandmother’s illness, Wei came up with the bulk of it and silently passed it to me even mentioning whether it is a loan. This touches me so much, even now when I write this down, I still trembled. When he proposed for the millionth time, it was simple. We had our dinner at home and decided to take a stroll out to the nearby park. He sat us down by the bench under a tree, it was late evening and there was no crowd in the park. It was breezy and peaceful, so quiet you can hear the crickets. Out of the sudden, he held my left hand tightly and took out a simple ring with a diamond. He started to sing a famous Chinese love song and then he asked me once again if I would marry him and this tie round, I said yes!
I always have a dream wedding in my heart. I wanted a wedding where I can be with my loved ones, celebrating my happiest moments. So we went searching for locations but before we found one, I already had a few of the color theme in my mind.
Yes, you got it! I want a white wedding! This is like the fairytale dream that I have as a young child. I always envision myself as one of the bride in a White Western Church wedding like those movies I saw on television.
Using the color theme, I tried to fit the location in my mind to see if it fits the wedding in my dream. They said wedding is once in a lifetime event and I want it not only to be memorable to me but also to my family members and friends. My husband is very easy going with the color scheme as long as it is not black because it signifies death. To him, as long as I am willing to marry him, I think its more than enough for him. Hehe!
As I announced my wedding plans to my parents, they are very happy for us but my mother reminded us to check out the auspicious date to get married. We wanted to use Chinese Farmer's Almanac, a.k.a. Tong Shu to check on our own but my mother prefer us to go to the temple and visit a fortune teller to get a few dates for selections. Before we go, we had to prepare a few information like our date and time of our birth and both of our parents’ date and time of their birth.
According to the Shifu a.k.a fortune teller, Chinese Farmer's Almanac pre-calculates event's auspicious sign and ill omen for each day and to make sure that it doesn’t clashed with our horoscope signs as well as our parents’. Otherwise, this marriage is doomed to fail from the start. I am not very superstitious in this kind of tale however; Wei is very careful about this kind of stuff so I’ll happily sit back and watched him asked all the questions. The Shifu gave us 5 dates to choose from and from the 5 dates, he also gave us two time slots each date to pick the bride from the house, two time slots to serve the tea ceremony to our parents as well as the date to install our new bed. We will not be moving to a new house although Wei’s parents have already bought a small apartment for him before we even met! I was staying with my old grandmother and I wish to continue to stay with her and take care of her even after I get married, as she is staying alone. Hence, we need to install a new bed in my current tiny bedroom. My mother-in-law is not very happy about this and every now and then during our wedding preparations, she will frown and grumbled. My husband advice me to ignore this and go with my heart to do the right thing. Because of this, I believe I have chosen the right man to be my husband.
In China, everyone believes a successful wedding is location, location, location. My future parents-in-law and my own parents are pretty easy going when it comes to planning my wedding that is great for us. I have heard horrible stories where parents fight over the costs of the wedding and ended up the bride and groom did not end up with each other. One of my colleagues faced such challenge last year when she was planning her wedding. It was terrible for her, she cried everyday.
At first, my husband and I thought of having our wedding at some of the city’s famous restaurants so that our families and relatives can have a nice easy dinner to celebrate with us. We saw a lot of restaurants like the ones below:
Then Wei and I attended one of his colleagues’ wedding, which was held in a garden by the lake, and we both love the idea of having our wedding non traditionally and simple! It is also cheaper for us since we will be saving money for our honeymoon too.
To make matters even easier, just right across the street from where I am staying is a beautiful park!
So we started sourcing for the right procedures to book the venue and it is a headache going through so many departments! Fortunately for us, the same colleague of my husband had recommended us his wedding planner and he specialized in getting the proper license and decorating outdoors events. Immediately, we contacted him and he told us not to worry, he will handle everything. Both my husband and I were having worries that we are unable to marry at the location we want. The park is also more convenient to transport my grandmother since she is immobile. I really want her to be there to witness my biggest day of my life.
A week later after we submitted our particulars and marriage information to him, he called to say the venue has been secured! Yay!
With the location worries off our minds, the next step is that my eager husband wants to buy us our wedding band. I secretly think he can’t wait to tie me down, it is usually the other way round. Hehe! We searched some of the designs online and saw a few that we like:
I like this but my husband thinks it is too simple and western. He prefers to have it more traditional looking.
Both of us love this but it is slightly over our budget.
My husband love this pair of rings but it is grossly over our budget and I kept reminding him we have to spend more carefully.
One of my girlfriends is studying jewelry designing so she took our concept and pictures we found online design a draft for us. Below is the result and we love it! Although she did have to go back and asked the master to readjust the ring size as I have gotten it wrong for my husband (Opps!) but overall, he loves it as well.
Next, we put out heads together to think about what to engrave. Below are some of the phases we wanted to engrave translated the meaning directly from Chinese to English:
-两人一条心，黄土变成金If people are of one heart, even the yellow earth can become gold. It means that as long as people are unified, any goal can be achieved.
-有缘千里来相会 Fate brings people together no matter how far apart they may be. This points out that human relationships are decreed by Fate.
-一往情深 To love deeply; to be deeply attached to; to be head over heels.
In the end, both of us choose this sentence with the engraved words right behind our wedding year and before our initials.
This actually means “To be attracted and attached to one another deeply and forever”.
Speaking about my grandmother, my husband and I need to draw up the guest list soon. Since it is going to be a wedding at the park, we don’t have limitation except when it comes to food catering. Lucky for us, the wedding planner finds the food caterer so all we have to do is to taste the food. On our hands we have the list of food we can combine and customized to make it a menu. Before we come to that, we will have to figure out who is coming.
So with his family side in addition to his family, we have about 60 people. On my end, with my parents plus relatives add in my parents’ friends, I guess my number is about 60 too. Since I just started working, I don’t have many colleagues I know of, I will only need to invite 10 from my team and my boss. However, Wei has been working in the same firm for many years and most of his colleagues helped him a lot when he first stated out, so that counts for another 50 people. All in all without counting our friends, we already have 180 people coming for our wedding. We have not included the plus ones who will be coming.
Counting our friends, this inclusive of childhood friends, high school friends and university friends, we have about another 80 in total. That is 260 people coming!! The cost of the food is not going to be as cheap as we expected and it is going way over budget. Wei’s father came to the rescue with his contribution adding on to my husband’s saving, we might just have enough to cover the cost of the wedding if we scrimp on everything else. I rather have a less expensive dress than not having my friends to come and share my happiness. I know my husband shares the same feelings too.
It worked out well as the number of guests actually came on that day turned up to be 238, some of our guests could not turned up due to family emergencies and overseas business trips. But the ones that matters to us, closest to our heart has turned up that to us are more important than anything else.