Chinese weddings are known to be elaborate. It's outrageous how things have blown up, now, a wedding would cost roughly a million... let's say, P350k for the wedding reception for 500 guests, P120k for the bridal gown and entourage by a reputable designer, P100k for the flowers and ceiling work, P120k pre-nup, nuptials and post-nup photographer and videographer (having AVP is the in-thing), P50k for airconditoned church venue on a weekend, P30k for multi-tiered fondant cake, P25k for the wedding invitation, P20k for the wedding coordinator, P20k for entertainment/choir, P20k for ang-pao (red envelope) as token for the entourage these plus the engagement ceremony and the despedida de soltera. One can cut that into half, but that still is half a million.
Two of my friends just got married, they are quite opposite yet alike in many ways. The groom is quite skeptical about a lot of things, while the bride is quite in touch with tradition.
But what makes a wedding complicated? I'm not speaking about feuding in-laws, shot-gun weddings, us-against-the-world romance... It's about how wedding tradition complicates simple things. Common tradition includes:
PRE-WEDDING: to send your daughter a watercloset, it's a privilege in old China to have one (common people use holes on the ground right?), put up a chinese lantern in your room til your first child, a male born on the year of the dragon shall sleep with the groom to be for a night on the matrimonial bed to be blessed with a son, siblings of the same sex are not suppose to marry on the same year.
WEDDING DAY: the bride shall be combed by her mom using the finest bristle (those wooden comb use to remove lice), pregnant women are not suppose to attend weddings so are newly weds, younger siblings who marry first should pay their single older siblings otherwise the older ones won't marry.
POST-WEDDING: the bride can only visit her parents house three days after the wedding, newlyweds are not suppose to attend funerals, weddings for the next year.
Chinese (in particular) wedding tradition has evolved through the years, making things more complicated with different version, sometimes contradicting the other. It's funny how Filipino-Chinese remain to give a big fuzz out of it when these are no longer practiced in China.
So to settle any contradiction, my friends got this palm sized book called "My little Kan Chiu Book" (my little wedding book):
They say, it has everything you need to know including Chinese dowry, reception, Chinese Astrology charts for choosing an "auspicious date". Tradition dictates to find that auspicious date, a good date that matches not only the couple but also their parents birth dates and signs. I just learned that these auspicious dates are released only sometime in August for the next year's date. With limited choice of dates, it can also be difficult to match those good dates on a weekend, with available church and reception venue. So we jokingly suggest that it's best to propose in July, be the first to find a date when the dates are released in August, plan, then marry the following year.
My girl friends has their own version, but this was more of the to do list filed in a ring binder. We promised to hand it over from one to the next. Having gone through four weddings, that sure does have all important and not so important details listed down. On the other hand, it could also be outdated. It's been 6 years since the last one.