By Assunta Ng
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
The lavish wedding of Pippa, Princess Kate Middleton’s sister, was held on the same day as our nephew’s modest wedding — on May 20. While Andy’s wedding might have been much smaller, it was hilarious and touching. I never cry at weddings, but I did during this one.
There were no celebrities at Andy’s wedding. But he and his bride Shinny were able to present an intimate and lovely occasion. Astonishingly, he managed to get a 20 percent discount from Palisade, the restaurant where his wedding was held. A valuable tip for future couples to emulate.
How did they save money at the Palisade? It’s one of the most elegant restaurants in Seattle with a view to boot! Were there strings pulled? None. Did he have connections? Zero. More on that later…
The weather was perfect and the view was wonderful for pictures. They couldn’t have picked a better venue and date.
I have known friends who spent thousands of dollars just on the wedding gown and the tux. Let me assure you, those items like the gown, flowers, food, and decorations are important, but not the most important elements to make the event memorable.
What makes a wedding come alive? It is the personal touches — the love that the new couple express to each other, and how they share the joy and fun with their guests. Andy and Shinny aced it.
The singing vow
Music and action … “You are my destiny, my love…you are you are my everything, no matter where we are.”
As soon as Andy, a computer nerd and sports fanatic, opened his mouth to sing instead of saying his vows, we burst out laughing. It was worthy of a Broadway performance, and the melody was borrowed from a Korean drama!
We all cried — the bride, his mother, and me. Andy himself, too. But he insisted, that’s just “sweat on my face.”
“…You’re my delight of all the one I am searching for no matter where we go. Our fate had led us here our destiny.”
Wow, we had no idea that he could be so bold and funny. At the end of the song, he kissed the hand of his bride. Every detail was noted, and it made for great memories and of course, photographs.
Andy brought down the house with humor to surprise his bride and impress his guests. He also danced to lead the beginning of the ceremony. He and his best man danced to hip hop music to entertain us, and the crowd went nuts
The tea ceremony
The tea ceremony is part of a traditional Chinese wedding, to show respect and thank the parents by serving them tea. I persuaded Shinny to do one.
“You can get jewelry,” I said. And the couple also received red envelopes with lucky money. I am sure jewelry was not Shinny’s reason for doing it. It’s more fun for the guests to witness the ritual.
The couple also served tea to senior relatives including older brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, and grandparents. I did that at my own tea ceremony decades ago, by kneeling on the floor.
Today, couples usually stand during the ceremony. The bride usually wears a traditional red and gold dress, symbolizing good luck.
It could create embarrassing situations if the couple forgets to inform their loved ones about the ceremony, as the relatives might not have prepared the gifts. Shinny bought her Chinese bridal outfits from Modern Hair Design in Chinatown.
One sweet moment I will never forget was when Shinny switched from speaking English to Chinese, addressing her widowed mother. “You are welcome to come live with us. We sincerely invite you mom, to join us.”
Being a mother, I understand how weddings make some parents feel. While it is a happy occasion for the newlyweds, it is also a bittersweet time for goodbyes. Parents might feel like they’re being abandoned — when grown children fly out of the nest.
What a thoughtful gesture expressed at the right moment, at the right time and place, in front of family and friends! It meant a lot, not only to the mother, but to all the family members.
To save money, our nephew decided to have a buffet lunch, rather than a dinner. A dinner can cost double or thrice as much.
Andy invited 30 close friends and relatives, who traveled from Hong Kong, New York, and Los Angeles, to the feast buffet for dinner.
Instead of buying fresh flowers, one of his relatives made silk flowers for the wedding. Also, the smaller wedding cake was complemented with colorful cupcakes. I prefer my individual chocolate cupcake to a slice of wedding cake.
To pay for the wedding, Andy bought 44 Costco gift cards. Palisade is part of Costco’s gift card program. For every $100 spent, customers receive 20 percent off. Andy saved $880.
“You are so cheap,” I joked.
“No, I am being smart,” he replied.
Create your own fun day
I have seen brides and grooms look exhausted on their big day because they have overworked themselves to prepare for the event. But Andy looked sharp, and Shinny looked radiant. I have never been to a wedding with so much laughter from the couple and the guests alike. The bride giggled so much that I swore that she must have done it at least several hundred times. Her laughter sounded like music to my ears.
My advice to those planning their weddings — it’s your day, do whatever you want and have fun.
Most traditional weddings tend to be serious and formal. From the music, to the ceremony, to a romantic setting, to the flowers, everything is so predictable in most weddings. It’s fine if that’s what you want, I am cool with that.
However, if you want to make it unique like my nephew’s wedding, a little originality such as designing your theme song and ordering the kind of festive cake, which guests enjoyed, truly made a difference.
On your wedding, create something you can claim to be your own. Don’t just copy from another wedding.
Happy wedding day!
Assunta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.