囍: Our Wedding Story, with a Plot Twist

Monday, May 20, 2019

Before I begin this blog post, I wanted to tell you why I'm trying to be more open and honest on this blog moving forward. 3 weeks ago, I realized I have been dealing with dyslexia my whole life, but just hid it from myself. I wrote about that experience in a very "venty" blog post here.

Since making that realisation, I've been going through an emotional journey that has brought me to this newfound, "I give zero fucks" mindset. It's been very liberating and theraputic to think about things in this way.

May is Mental Health Month.

Mental Health can mean many different things to different people. For me, I've been dealing with all these feelings I've had bottled up inside. It's gotten to the point that it's a bit crippling and not healthy for me. So, I'm going to use this blog to talk about my feelings more and just putting it out there. I know that I'm not alone in dealing with this, so I wanted to share what I'm dealing with, on the off chance that it also helps you feel less alone in whatever you're going through.

As a result of me being more vulnerable on this blog, I'm also expecting a certain level of civility and respect. The world and the internet is full of negativity and trolls, but that should not be a reason for me to stop sharing what I want to share.

**gets off soapbox**

What’s in this post

  1. Thoughts on Wedding Economics as a 'lifestyle blogger'
  2. Double Happiness: A Tale of Our 2 Weddings
  3. Why I waited two years to share our wedding on the blog

Thoughts on Wedding Economics as a 'lifestyle blogger'

As a "lifestyle blogger", I know that there’s no content on a blog that's quite as juicy and delicious as Wedding Content.

I don't know about you, but whenever I stumble on any lifestyle blog of a married person, their blog posts about their wedding is one of the first things I read. A well done wedding series on a blog is the cliff notes version of a person's lifestyle. You can get SUPER personal real fast and go deeeeep into the details of someone’s life without having to do the work of going through all the blog posts to learn about it in piece meal.

Love life. Family life. Personal aesthetics. Is their life #goals? Do you wish you were their friend in real life, just so you could be invited to a wedding like theirs? ALL OF IT. You can make a lot of assumptions pretty quickly and decide if you're going to like this person or not.

Besides being able to judge someone quickly, wedding content in general is a thirst trap for the nosy people of the internet. Thrist trap content is content that is guarenteed to give a boost to your metrics: VIEWS. LIKES. ENGAGEMENT (web engagement, not just the marriage kind). Weddings, it’s just good blog economics with a decent amount of return on investment. We paid for it, why not share it? Definitely a win-win for everyone involved.


So, this “Our Wedding Day” series was something I was looking forward to posting and sharing on the blog. Besides all this "wedding economics" mumbo-jumbo, it's also good for me on a personal level as well. I was looking forward to writing these blog posts because I was going to get to share the tiny tiny details of things that I spent months pouring my heart and soul into.

These are tiny details that literally NO ONE WILL NOTICE, but when put all together, it makes for a beautiful image which just brings me so much joy. I also I know that there will be a few handful of people out there who will see these tiny details on IG, Pinterest, or this blog and appreciate the beauty in something that people who actually went to the wedding just glossed over. It makes me happy to know that I could potentially be a spark of inspiration for some like-minded people.

This series of blog posts is as much for me as it is for you.

I put a lot of thought and creativity in balancing the fine line between ballin' on a budget (lots of DIY) and forcing J to help me make decisions for our wedding. Planning a wedding is a lot of work, ok? So, I wanted to share the beautiful imagery that came out of this year-long process as proof that I managed to come out of this experience as a sane person.

Yet, here we are. Two years post-wedding and I still have not shared much about our wedding.

Why?

In short, it's because I'm still emotionally processing the series of events that happened leading up to our wedding day. Trust me, it's going to be a lot, but I'm finally ready to share. In the next few posts, I'm going to spill and give you an unfiltered view on all this juicy wedding content that you never asked for, but likely super curious to know.

Here's our wedding story, but with a plot twist. What's a good story without a plot twist anyway, amirite? Unfortunately, this plot twist to our wedding story isn't nearly as fun and exciting as you think. It also comes with a lot of hurt and pain for people around me who I love very much.

Biggest life lesson learned and lived: When life gives you lemons, you just have to suck it up and eat it. Life just really doesn't happen the way you imagine it to, no matter how much you try to plan and control it.

Double Happiness: A Tale of Our 2 Weddings

First, Double Happiness 囍. Here's wikipedia explaining 囍  better than me:

"Double Happiness, sometimes translated as Double Happy, is a Chinese traditional ornament design, commonly used as a decoration symbol of marriage.

Double Happiness is a ligature, "囍" composed of 喜喜 – two copies of the Chinese characters 喜 literally meaning joy, compressed to assume the square shape of a standard Chinese character (much as a real character may consist of two parts), and is pronounced as a polysyllabic Chinese character, being read as 双喜 (shuāngxǐ)."

But, when I talk about "double happiness" in our wedding story, I'm not just talking about a Chinese wedding. The source of J and my double happiness, is that we had two weddings.

Double the weddings, double the fun, right? :) But seriously, TWO weddings? WTF,  why!?

Well, let's start this off by saying that I'm a people-pleaser.

I was raised to be an obedient Chinese daughter who loves her parents, but I also do not really want to obey and play by all the Chinese rules and tradition. You know all those people who tell you that your wedding should be about you and your spouse, screw everyone else? Well, those people probably had parents who had the luxury of having a beautiful wedding of their own.

Our parents on the other hand, did not have such a lavish celebration when they got married. They spent their whole lives living modestly, just raising us with the hopes that we have a better life than they did. So, it would be very selfish of me to believe that "our wedding", wasn't actually really "their wedding" as well. This is one of the biggest moments of their lifetime, one that they have been looking forward to for the last 30+ years since we were born. J is Chinese as well, and this is just a fact of life that we grew up with. Personally, I'm happy to accept this fact because I love our parents and want them to be happy too (within reason, because sometimes the shit they want be cray, ya know??).

The compromise? We just had two weddings. I know. That's hella extra. If this is you right now: 🙄, then just stop reading. Because you're about to have your eyes roll so far back your head that you won't be able to see tomorrow. That's not good for your health. I'm not a professional, but don't say I didn't warn you.

So, the first wedding was to make our Chinese parents happy. As I was planning this wedding, I planned this wedding for our parents. This is literally a celebration for them. I put my "Chinese parents love this shit" idea hat on, and just went for it. No details spared. This is my vision of what a beautiful Modern Chinese wedding looks like.

BTW, if you searched for "Modern Chinese Wedding" on Pinterest, you won't find much inspiration because weddings like this doesn't exist in the collective American consciousness. This is why I thought it was important to share what my vision of this looks like, so that if you stumbled on this blog and also have Chinese parents who want you to incorporate super Chinese details in your wedding, and you had no idea how to keep it classy, this can be a good starting point for you.

  • 8 foot double happiness symbol to take selfies with? ✓
  • Red and Gold everywhere. ✓
  • Lion Dancers. ✓
  • Chinese Banquet Food. ✓
  • Dessert station with Mochi? ✓
  • I'm telling you - THE WORKS. 
  • This blog post isn't about all those details though, this comes later in it's own "Modern Chinese Wedding" blog post, for SEO purposes. ;)

So, here we have the second wedding. See how happy we look? This second wedding we planned was just for us. A wedding that truly represent who J and I are as a couple. This is my dream wedding, but unfortunately, one that would have resulted in me arguing with our parents for an entire year.

Here's some highlights on what those "discussions" would sound like had we gone with planning our dream wedding as our only wedding:
  • San Sebastian. - Destination wedding? What about our 90 year old great aunt, she can't travel?? 
  • White flowers. - My dad, who never shares his opinion on anything, told me as I was wedding planning. “Michelle, No white flowers.” “Okay Daddy, I won’t have white flowers at your wedding.” :). See how this two wedding thing resulted in me not ruining my relationship with my father because we have such conflicting POVs? 
  • A jamon cutting station - My mom, a taoist vegetarian, would NEVER approve of an entire leg of a pig being carved at our wedding. She would SMH the entire time while our friends crushed this station and then some. I would have felt guilty. Lose-lose.

This decision to have two weddings was very indulgent on my end. I recognize that. But like I said, I’m just an obedient Chinese daughter who wants to please her parents, and not ruffle any feathers. I couldn't bare the thought of arguing with them for an entire year, especially not during a time that’s supposed to be the happiest time in our lives. We were very lucky to have made all the financials work, and I was lucky that J gave his support to this crazy idea. Good thing he knows that a happy wife = a happy life.

While planning two weddings doesn't sound like the best financial decision, by not going for the "traditional" wedding that I originally had in mind (think: Napa, SF venue, etc.), we were able to save on certain parts of our budget and rework it so that we had our cake and ate it twice.

The cost of our two weddings ended up being similar in cost of some of the more pricey weddings we’ve been to. This is my story and I'm sticking to it. :D

In the past, I would stay away from talking about the financial side of this decision on this blog, but I'm just going to call it out given my new "Zero Fucks" mentality. Here's what the negative inner talk track sounds like as I make the decision to even share information like this so publically on the internet:

  • What if people judge you for having two weddings? (My mom's favorite phrase to me to convince me I'm doing something bad: "What would people say???" I would ask her, who? Which people? 🙄Do I even know them? Why do I have to care about what they think?!?)
  • There are people out there in the world who are barely getting by and here you are showing off your two weddings. You're such a spoiled brat.
For every person out there who wants to make me feel bad about what I'm doing with my life, I can assure you, that I've already thought all the same shit myself. In the past, I might have just decided to censor myself and not be as open and honest about this, so that you don't feed the voices in my head with more ammo for more negativity and bullshit.

But, I've started to realize that every single person is struggling with something in their lives, and I think it's important that we start sharing what that is. I don't want you to see this perfect image of what you think my life is like, without me also telling you about this crazy inner voice in my head that makes me feel more bad about myself than you would ever be able to make me feel.

So yes. I feel a little guilty about my decision to have two weddings. But also, I'm not harming anyone, and the wedding industry in the US is a $72B business for a reason. :)

Okay, this is the double happiness part of the story explained. I'll write some blog posts sharing actual details of the wedding later, because #inspo, but let me move on to the part of this wedding story that actually puts me at a lost for words.

Why I waited two years to share our wedding on the blog

Surprisingly, as if the long winded explanation of why J and I had two weddings was not enough, that isn't the plot twist. I was prepared to overshare about the two weddings on the blog. As self-conscious as I felt about having two weddings, I don't think it's so "OMFG" that I would keep myself from just putting it out there on the internet.

So, why have I been pretty hush hush about our weddings? I didn’t even share an engagement photo on Instagram! That is very out of character for me, a wannabe “lifestyle” blogger - paying thousands of dollars to have these super cute pictures taken, but then not even posting them. WTF right?

Well, there’s a few reasons. The main one is that I have been spending some time emotionally dealing with this "plot twist" that I keep talking about. I’ve also been worried about what it sounds like to put these thoughts out on the internet. I wanted to be respectful to my family given that this is a very personal matter. Chinese people are all about ‘face’, and what I’m about to talk about will be VERY taboo (to them at least, not sure how everyone else might take it).

To my family members who end up reading this, I love you. Thank you for being the most supportive family ever. I think we’ve all been through a lot in the last few years, but I think it’s time that we evolve into a family that starts talking about our feelings instead of just pretending like everything's okay. Because, it’s not okay. I’m not okay.

I touched on this half a year ago in my blog post, Begin With The End in Mind, but I'm finally ready to tell you the story of our wedding. But first before I get to that part, I must talk about the death of my dear Uncle Kent that happened just two months before our wedding. BOOM.

Uncle Kent meant so much to me that I did not think it was okay for me to post these seemingly happy experiences (Weddings! Beauty gram life!), without first sharing with you the struggle behind the smiling faces.

More on that in the next blog post.

If you made it all the way down to the bottom of this very very long blog post, I want to say thank you. I hope you have a wonderful day and thanks for letting me share.

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