Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Here goes....

This is my first foray into the public world of blogging, where I hope to spread any wisdom that I may gain from planning a crazy shindig; to record what is supposed to be a memorable (and hopefully fun) time in my life; to share with the world the seemingly odd customs, processes, trials and whatever else, that is known to many Chinese brides (and what I believe to be especially unique to Chinese American ones); and at the very least, to vent.

So, here's to catch you up to speed. We set our date a few months ago when it was still warm outside (maybe back in August or September) because we knew that we had to book the banquet hall early (some said more than a year in advance). And I believe that they were right because 2 weeks after we checked the place out, the place was pressing FFIL (who knows one of the higher ups there and suggested we pick that place) for a deposit because another couple was interested in the same date.

That leads me to the headache of actually picking the date. My mother insisted that we have an 'auspicious' date, something that can be ascertained from a Chinese almanac (which are printed only certain times of the year). The trick was to get this information early so that we could book the date because every other couple would be thinking the same thing and there are a limited number of Chinese restaurants in New York that can have such big events (even fewer with food/service that passes muster). What made it trickier was to get a weekend in the desired month (we wanted something in the fall, when it's not too hot and not too cold). I still think this whole thing is a scam because the gods (prophets, or whatever you want to call them) that supposedly determined this long ago could never have made so many 'good' weekends and I really don't know of many weddings that are NOT on weekends. Add to this the shadiness of unavailable almanacs and when my mother inquired of a fortune teller, he would need all our birthdays (ILs, my parents, and fiance) and of course, $60. I refused to go that route, especially since this fortune teller business runs contrary to my Christian beliefs, and alas, the almanacs came out soon thereafter (we were set to pick a date without consulting it). So after settling on a 'good' Saturday, I think one other person had conflicting data for me (I didn't tell my mother) and it was too late by then anyway.

While waiting for a date decision to come around, we looked for possible restaurants. We were pretty set on having it in Manhattan because my family primarily lives in Brooklyn and his family, in Queens and it would just be unfair to favor one borough over the other (even though there were some choices that were tempting). Ideally, we wanted a restaurant where we know someone who works there so that we could get a deal. We wanted to try a place on Mott Street, since FFIL knows someone there (he seems to have a lot of connections at several places) but the day that we were to go, there was a wedding banquet going on and there was no room for us. So we decided to try Golden Bridge, newly renovated, with a view of the Manhattan Bridge. We were pleasantly surprised by the decor (clean bathrooms!) and the food was not bad. There also happened to be a wedding there but the place was big enough to seat us (I believe the manager that spoke to us said there was room for 900 altogether, though there is a separation in the middle -- essentially 2 rooms connected by a short hallway and large screen TVs). They even had a little room to the side which would be useful for storing stuff, for me to change in, or for kids to be entertained in. So we were pretty happy with the place until we were ready to leave and there were protesters outside. The protests hark back to the previous owner, who had labor disputes with his workers. Supposedly these were settled when the restaurant was bought by someone else, but protests continue on similar allegations. I wouldn't've minded these (I discovered on a website that protests only occur on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, I believe) but my mother was against this because in past years the protesters have used attention-getting techniques such as rolling a coffin to the front of the restaurant. Of course, this would be a terrible sight for any Chinese person to see, especially on their wedding day. So it is a good thing that we checked this restaurant out on a Sunday and not some other day of the week.

Getting the actual restaurant that we are having the banquet at is less interesting but not without a story either. As we were waiting for the waitress to fetch the reservation book (she walked back and forth several times, not producing anything), she mentioned casually that the restaurant would undergo renovations (it does need an update -- it reminds me of a Hong Kong movie set in the 80s) sometime next year, which would be terrible if they were not ready to open in time for us. It also didn't help that even though FFIL had spoken with his contact and told him the date, the contact still had not even noted us in the book. So during the week, FFIL walked over, talked to him, learned that 'renovations' meant changing the carpet and other small things, and paid him the deposit (in cash) the following week. The weird thing is that we also know ppl using that restaurant in June for a wedding and they didn't know anything about the 'renovations.' They just better be open for business that day!

So, after settling the biggest thing, we thought about ceremony locations. I won't elaborate on that for now because it's just complicated. My next big task, which hopefully I can describe in detail soon, is the wedding gown. Let's just say that things are never easy for me.


Sam said...

who is ffil?? hahahaa i'm just nosy :)

hmm.. yeah, the coffin thing is NOT good at all... but popeye's is just downstairs!!! if the food sucked we could go get some fried chicken! ;) but it's aight, my fave rest in ctown is near ghp too so it's all good :)

myBFCW said...

popeye's is no longer there! well it is, but not open anymore. i think fried chicken never caught on in ctown.