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Bren is presently married to a Chinese woman after meeting her on CLM. He's a Production Manager/Designer by profession. He enjoys writing on topics of personal experience and observation. From the "meet & greet" to "married life" with an intercontinental relationship, he hopes to create interest and discussion with all of you. Feel free to say, "Hi!" He also welcomes your messages, questions and feedback through CLM (thedragonb1).
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Help! How Do I Plan A Wedding?    

By Bren
4767 Views | 11 Comments | 8/11/2010 12:27:04 PM
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Ok, I'm at a very odd time in my life. I felt I should share with everyone my first month and a half with my fiance and what it has been like. It's been happy, lovely and romantic but also crazy, trying and under pressure. As with anyone meeting someone online there are many things to learn about and if you think you know your wife now.. WAIT till you live with her! There so much more to learn and deal with! :)

Today, I have to do something a man normally does not dare to attempt in America. Plan a wedding! Never in my life did I have to think about how to plan for a wedding. Where to have it? Who to perform it? What steps are involved. Catering? What kind of food. It's something a man never thinks about. Do we MEN really care about planning a wedding? Hell no! I don't recall once having a conversation with my boys, "You know, man, I would love to get married on a beach all dressed in white." Come on, men don't dwell on wedding plans. Let me kiss my bride and let the party and drinks commence!!! Women love to plan their wedding. They get the mother and their girlfriends involved in the entire process. What dress to pick out. What venue? Who to cater? What kind of music, food. etc. and they can take a year or more to get it all organized and perfect for them!

I think it's assumed that we know all BRIDES love planning this big day for themselves and if we men get involved and start picking out things without their approval, it is your ass! Yes, she will chew it up, cry, get upset and make you regret ever thinking about choosing what you wish on her wedding day. We are just the fools that stand at the alter, wait for her to come, shut up and do nothing to embarrass her until we asked to talk and say, "I Do"!

But my predicament is different. Very different. As with most men who meet a woman from China, your future Chinese bride may not be too familiar with the rituals and steps of an American wedding. My fiance is definitely unaware and didn't even know about the vows - except what she sees in the movies. So she expects me to do all the planning for a wedding. WHAT?!

"What! Come on?!!! You want me to do this? Guys don't plan the wedding!"

Ok, so I'm not every guy. I'm pretty well versed in management. Planning. It's a piece of cake! I've been quite independent in my life growing up. My mother schooled me. She taught me how to cook my first scrambled eggs at 6 years old. She had me cleaning the house by 8 years old. By 12 years old I was cleaning the house, making full dinners and taking care of my younger brother and sister getting them ready for bed while my mother attended work and school. I can't say I regret it. It made me very self sufficient. I can cook anything from toast to a full Thanksgiving dinner for 15 people. "A brotha' can seriously throw down in the kitchen!" (Translation: I am a very good cook!) So mother had my butt domesticated. Job well done, mom! Plus with many years of Home & Garden TV I suffered to watch with an ex girlfriend, I can rip a house apart, sand and refinish floors, tear walls down, construct walls and decorate with various colors and themes with the best of them. It may be the creative artist in me. So although being asked to plan this wedding is a surprise to me, I think I can handle this new task, right?

But this is not easy. First off, spending 7 months just to obtain a Fiancée K1 visa is already a long and drawn out process. It's exhausting and mentally pressuring. When she came to America finally, I was relieved, but we now have the pressure to get married in 90 days or she has to leave the country! This is not a bad thing, but the usual time frame to plan a wedding is usually from 6 months to a year or two to prepare. And my task is even harder because I'm in the hot prime season for weddings now???? Mostly every venue is booked! There are no open slots to have a wedding anywhere in the warm summer months. So time and full scheduled venues are against me. Ninety days, it's not even enough time to invite all who I would like to invite. So you got to make good with what you have. We can have a simple wedding. But, I'm an old romantic and I would like our big day to be a little more than a basic going to city hall and married by a Justice of the Peace. Yet, with the limited time it is hard to pull off something lovely as I would like. It's frustrating.

Yet, maybe I should accept the city hall wedding option. It costs $100 with minimal hassle. It is similar to what most do in China. Go to a government office and just get legally married and over with. Then later we can celebrate it with a dinner party. It is not the lovely walking down the isle wedding with weeping, crying guests, that I hoped for, but does it really matter?

Wish me luck.. no wait, is it bad luck to say that? Fingers crossed? Break a leg? Gung hay fat choy?! Haahaa! Whatever is good...just think and send good thoughts!

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#2010-08-11 18:47:00 by lifehurts @lifehurts

Hello Bren, it sounds rough....
When I was getting married, I didn't take the task, But I knew my Mom had spent more than 3 YEARS to prepare the wedding. Started making dresses (traditional ones), bedsheets (as more as possible), etc...Although no one knew who would be my husband....
Anyway, marriage is a big deal, a wedding is a part of the big deal.
I have no opinion to say...sorry..my marriage didn't work out and I just feel marriage is too big thing.....
Hope you will get your wedding organized perfectly !
My best wishes for you and Aisha.

#2010-08-12 07:28:51 by kahnsfury @kahnsfury

Good luck man, I wish you and your fiancee the best possible wedding. That goes for whatever direction you go with your wedding and also a long and happy life together.

#2010-08-12 21:58:37 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

I know I can't speak for every member of CLM, but I'm pretty sure they, like me, are really looking forward to receiving their invitations to this big bash! I recommend you save postage costs and just publish the invite on your blog. Personally I'll need a few weeks notice to book my flights.

Oh, and if I may be so bold, lobster thermidor chased by a quality Chardonay is always a nice choice for the main course at the dinner.

#2010-08-13 01:42:04 by thedragonb1 @thedragonb1

Haaaaha! Yea right, John, as much as I would love to have ALL the CLM members to join us in such a celebration...Forgedabauddit! But I will tell you what. I will go out and by a lottery ticket tonight. And if I win, I'll DO just that! Fly to China and host a BIG CLM wedding celebration! The lobster does sound good. I'm thinking maybe I may very well do the City Hall wedding. And with the money savings - fly back to China for a 2nd celebration. I know! How about turn one of your CLM social events into a partial Wedding party receptioin!! I can save money! :) Yup, I may just do that!!!

#2010-08-13 02:56:27 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Sorry Bren, I couldn't resist. But seriously I suggest that you have a nice celebration in the USA for the people who really matter - not your 300 best acquaintances, but the chosen few - for me that would be easy to narrow down to 20 to 30 people. Have a beautiful ceremony not at City Hall, but maybe in a nice park nearby, or in your beautiful new home ("new" as in "dramatically altered") that is now partly antique Chinese (yours) and partly American chic (hers). I'm guessing that this can be done for under a grand and done well. An evening neither your guests nor your Bride will forget, and she can actually get close to them and make friends this way.

You've saved enough for a trip back to China and a splashy affair here to celebrate with her crowd, for which she will never stop loving you. And if well planned (by her, now you get to sit back and simply monitor the budget) this can be a major event for not too much more than the amount you spent in the States. You can throw a bitching party in China for under $2,000 USD and a killer affair for $4,000. But I guarantee that putting on the dog for her family and friends will lock her in for life, spending a wad on your crowd will not be much appreciated. To a long and loving future to you, and sincere best wishes. Cheers, John.

#2010-08-13 13:43:47 by wanttofindyou @wanttofindyou

well Bren, i am very happy to got ur wedding news! Wedding party it does not easy to hold...Just do the most important things which both u r valued first... Best wishes.

Win...

#2010-08-13 17:46:31 by aussieghump @aussieghump

Hahaha Bren, never picked you as a Shanghai Husband, but it look's like Aisha has made a good choice!!!!

I wholeheartedly agree with John's comments - this might be a great way of broaching the whole issue with your new wife... small and special in USA, huge and extravagant in China! Would probably suit expectations of both sides of the family!!!
Also worthwhile considering is boasting rights/photo ops your wife might want/need to be suitably impressive back home in China - maybe you should consider a 'white wedding' in a small church, a small chapel wedding in a vineyard or somewhere special to your family... or a bbq in the backyard, and since you are cooking, it would be much cheaper catering!!!

Good luck with the planning!

#2010-08-13 21:54:20 by thedragonb1 @thedragonb1

Haaah! Thanks to both you Aussie & John. I think we will keep it small. Do a quick City Hall wedding to get it done and get her on my health insurance as it's a safer option or do a quickie on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and spend a under a grand and save for the $2000-$4000 China Splash!!!

Shanghai husband?!! NEVER! I'm not doing all the cooking and cleaning! Haaaaha! But I do not mind sharing the house chores. No, she's been doing most of the cooking in the household and damn is it quite tasty!!! Time to go to the GYM!!! I'll keep the CLM family updated!

#2010-08-15 22:21:55 by hello141 @hello141

If you can afford it, a wedding planner would be nice to have. Otherwise, don't give up.

aussieghump has a good point.

#2010-08-15 23:15:28 by mina @mina

Bren,
Let Aishan translate the following wedding felicitations for you:
Bai Nian Hao He
Zao Sheng Gui Zi

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