Monday, May 15, 2006

Choose your battle: the invitation

After months of contemplation, design, and tweaks here and there, I still can NOT say that the invitations are done or even close to being done. We're not even at the assembly stage! Nope, we're hung up on the invitation wording! Those who know me know that I like to be unique -- I hate cliches, blending in with everyone, following stereotypes, etc. And since words are my thing, I really wanted our invitations to be worded differently. Instead of the traditional "Mr. & Mrs. ____ request the honor of your presence" I made a simple change of "J___ & R___ together with their parents, Mr. & Mrs. ____" because it was different and I thought that we were primarily hosting (i.e. paying for) the event (which I also later learned is what the Knot suggested for situations where everyone pitches in, which isn't exactly the case for us but close enough). However, the outlaws thought differently and told me that's not how it is done traditionally with Chinese ppl (ironic, since these words are NOT in Chinese) but that no matter what, the parents' names should come before the children's, even if the kids are hosting it. Fiance later told me that that is their way of saying it is borderline insulting and that b/c that's what everyone does, they think it can't be any other way (nothing like other ppl's judgements to shame you into behaving like lemmings). So I tried the various permutations: "Mr. & Mrs. ____ together with their children J___ & R____ request the honor of your presence at their marriage" (sounds like the parents are getting married) or "Mr. & Mrs. ____ together with their children request the honor of your presence at the marriage of J___ & R___" (close, but not quite clear that we are, in fact, the "children" being referenced). I can think of no compromise here (any thoughts before Friday, the day we go to print, would be helpful!!) -- there is just no way to add "together with their children" after our parents' names w/o it sounding weird. So as of now, we are stuck with the traditional wording with the parents' names first, with no mention of us also inviting ppl to our wedding.

And that's not the whole story -- the battle began earlier with the RSVP. First of all, I'm not getting the postcard RSVPs that I've always wanted and always thought to be the next coolest trend. They found it tacky and insulting b/c ppl would think we're too cheap to pay the full postage, that ppl would not want others to read what's on the postcard (b/c there are such deep secrets enclosed within postcards), etc. Besides that, they had issue with
the wording "__ of # will be attending." I purposely chose this wording b/c I know that there are ppl out there who think that receiving an invitation means that they can bring their entire extended family and of course, give a meager $20 gift. The outlaws and my parents think that this will never happen (I know it happens b/c ppl who recently got married told me and I know of ppl who do this). And the old standby, they thought this wording was insulting b/c it limits ppl (hello?! that is the whole point!!); my mother went so far as to say you want to celebrate so the more ppl who come, the better (yeah and their seats will magically fit inside the restaurant and be magically paid for). Have you noticed how everything they have objection with is b/c it is "insulting"? Ppl have to stop playing the victim, stop being so concerned about "saving face" (if there was any to lose in this instance), stop finding reasons to be insulted -- they just need to stop. And the objections to the RSVP didn't stop there. The details are now blurry, but I remember instances of FFIL picking out little things he misinterpreted as being grammatically correct. Just in case you ever wanted to try, there's just no way to explain the rules of English grammar and to reconcile that with Chinese "etiquette"/logic.

All this(!), to say, I'm not getting the words I wanted and as a co-worker said, this battle is not worth it. She thinks this is petty and that invitations are such a minor part of the wedding and ppl just look at it twice (unless you're me, I peruse and peruse, picking out flaws to amuse myself with) before they rip it up and throw it away. Gee, thanks. That kinda makes me feel better.


Plumsauce said...

Eek! Your wedding invitation is freaking me out! I have started to fret about the wording of the invitation as well. I want to make my own invitations and have some Asian flair w/ modern look (don't want to have traditional ones you buy in store). I'm worried that my folks will go against it and like you, the wording is bugging me.

The thing w/ Chinese weddings is that they are a "family event". You end up inviting whole families and not # of ppl. That drives me nuts b/c I know FOR SURE they will in insulted. I need to know how many ppl are gonna show! The hardest part is, my bf is not Chinese and so planning our wedding is gonna be interesting to say the least. They are never gonna understand!

Your fiancé is Chinese American as well right?

myBFCW said...

Sorry, I don't mean to freak you out! Hopefully you can learn from my experience and just be prepared that the parentals may object to stupid little things. Who knows, they may surprise you and be OK with other things. For me, though I lost on the wording, the 'old folk' were OK with my design which is very unconventional (horizontal bi-lingual lines).

And yes, my fiance is Chinese American too. But that doesn't make it any easier. :( I had an example of someone who used wording similar to what I wanted (no mention of parents' names) and the outlaws still shot it down b/c "she is marrying a Caucasian person" so it may work in your favor....

ABC_groom said...

I completely agree with the parents on this one. I can't believe how selfish you're being. Chinese wedding banquets are about celebrating with family and friends, regardless of it they can afford to give you something or not. You're the one playing victim here. I am so glad you're not marrying into my family or I would be deeply ashamed by your behaviour.