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Lady in Red

8 Nov

I think I’ve mentioned before that my fiance, Sweets, is ethnically Chinese – his family emigrated from Taiwan when he was six years old. His parents speak some English, though their community in New York is primarily a Chinese-speaking community. Sweets doesn’t identify very much with the Chinese traditions – he goes by his English name, and that’s what appeared on our wedding invitations. But he said to me once, and I didn’t take it lightly, that he thought I’d be beautiful in a red dress at our wedding.

Well, I’m enough of a traditional girl that I really couldn’t see myself getting married in anything other than a white wedding dress. And there’s no way I could wear the traditional Chinese qipao – I’d be like a sausage stuffed inside the long column silk damask.

chinese wedding dressimage source:

The dresses are beautiful, and I admire them, but the tight and shiny are not my friends. They readily admit it, too.

As the wedding approaches (just about 50 days now!) we’re talking more about the ceremony, what music and readings, our vows, etc. And I find that my family traditions are the dominant ones. After all, my father, the minister, is marrying us. Sweets is happy with all of our choices so far, and he hasn’t asked to have more Chinese culture involved, so there’s not a lot about our wedding that is very Chinese, except for about 30% of our guests! I began to think recently about what little ways we could add to the familiarity and tradition for the Sweets’ family and their friends. I don’t want to pander, have anything feel insincere or inauthentic. And I don’t want the Chinese ladies at my wedding clucking and shaking their heads at the silly white girl who’s trying too hard.

Some things we’re doing that are “Chinese”:

  • Our rehearsal dinner will be like a traditional Chinese wedding banquet. Sweets’ parents are picking a favorite restaurant in Flushing, where we’ll gather our families (and some extended Sweets family members) for a family style dinner of traditional Chinese dishes.
  • We had a special piece of art made in the style of traditional Chinese paper cut art. It’s top-secret under wraps at the moment, because we want to surprise our families with it. We’ll incorporate that art into our paper goods, favors, and have it on display at the wedding.

I’m still hoping we’ll find more ways to celebrate his family’s culture.

The other thought I had recently was a not an entirely selfless one. I’m worried about spending eight hours in my voluminous, strapless, white wedding gown. I can’t see how I’ll be comfortable, and I’m worried about how I’ll maneuver in tight spaces. And what about when I have to pee? I really don’t want to have to ask anyone to help me in the bathroom. (Do all brides worry about this?) And then I remembered Sweets’ comment about the red dress…  I did a little more research and found that modern Chinese brides often get married in the western style – in white wedding gowns like mine. Sweets’ mother wore white, too! And then change at the banquet into the traditional red dress. As I said before, the qipao is out (I’m sure the Chinese ladies would cluck over that), but maybe I can do it in my own way. So I talked to Sweets about it again this weekend, and he seemed genuinely pleased at the idea: I’m currently on the hunt for a beautiful red party dress to change into after the ceremony. Something fun to dance in, something easy to move in. Something I can handle myself in the bathroom!

I’ll keep you posted on my red party dress search. Let me know if you know any great places to look!


I have officially cancelled on Kleinfeld

9 Aug

That’s right. I said “no” to that dress shop.  Everyone said they’d take great care of me — it would be so fun to visit — and I’d find beautiful, quality gowns, even in larger sample sizes.  They even said I should go, whether I wanted to spend thousands on a dress or not, just for the experience. Two weeks ago, when I’d finally psyched myself up for wedding dress shopping, I got the first available appointment at Kleinfeld’s. But it was nearly three weeks in the future — my appointment was scheduled for Friday the 13th (gah!) and none of my friends could come during business hours on a Friday afternoon. It didn’t sound like the ideal experience, so I made some other plans, too.

Now only two of the three weeks have passed, but I’ve now bought a dress, then exchanged it for another, better one, and I guess I don’t need to go to the place with the largest selection of designer gowns. And I’m kind of proud of the fact that I paid a fraction of the cost of their lowest-end dresses for a beautiful and special gown.  

Don’t worry, SAY YES TO THE DRESS, I still love you. I’ll be watching, but I won’t be visiting.

Another dress post

6 Aug

So last weekend I posted about the great time I had shopping for a wedding dress with three friends. Well, today I’m telling you about the great time I had returning that dress and exchanging it for a dress I’m even more excited about. Also, I fell in love with a veil while wearing the new dress, when I laughed one off my head in the first dress. It just felt so ridiculous. But this one was RIGHT. MUCH more like a bride now.

I changed my mind! It’s the theme of the wedding now, I’m starting to think.

Still, HAPPINESS! It’s a beautiful dress, very fun, very exciting. Can’t wait for the Sweets to see me in it. I think he’ll be happy with my choice, and I’m happily looking forward to wearing it!

Dress Success!

2 Aug

I bought a dress this weekend! After my disastrous shopping attempt on Friday afternoon (another post for another day), I am still shocked at how simple it ended up being. I brought my sister and two good friends to the second shop with me, and we had a great time. I joked that the posse I had brought had three characters: the Skeptic (little sister, who thinks elopement is the answer), the Cheerleader (Vic, who would tell me what she liked about everything, and what made me look good), and the Opinionated One (Hannah, who doesn’t hesitate to say what she thinks). Add in a big dose of me wanting to feel comfortable and like myself, and I figured I had a formula for success.selecting a wedding dress

I tried on six dresses, the first of which was one I thought I’d like from pictures. It was NOT GOOD. But then the saleswoman took control and put me in a few dresses she thought would be better on. By dress four, I knew I’d seen the one to beat. Little sister took pictures of each dress and emailed to Mom,  then called for her reactions,so it was ALMOST like she was there.  Dress six ALMOST swayed me, but the Opinionated One shook her head and told me why she thought four was better. So I put it back on just to check, and I found she was right. The Cheerleader cheered, and the Skeptic agreed. Success!

I was so happy to be able to call Mom after I’d brought my dress home (YES, HOME! I got a great deal on the sample!) and have her know exactly what the dress was. She’s as excited as I am.

I’m starting to feel like a bride!

Tonight I’m seeing another possible venue for the wedding, and I have my fingers crossed in a BIG WAY. Once this falls into place, I’ll KNOW I’m getting married.

stepping out of my comfort(able clothing) zone

28 Jul

So you might remember from my previous post about undergarments (teehee) that I was planning to go shopping for wedding dresses. Hmm. I didn’t. I’m not sure what’s stopping me — or rather I’m not sure which of the reasons I’m putting it off is the best reason I haven’t yet gone and slung a white dress over my head.


ONE — I’m concerned about sample sizes. New York may have a lot of bridal stores, but still not a whole lot of larger sample sizes.

TWO — I have NO IDEA what kind of gown is going to look best on me. I’m not a super-fancy girl — I wore a little black dress to prom, and haven’t worn anything much fancier since. Neither am I a huge fan of the feeling of strapless bras, so how the heck will I wear a strapless dress? And I don’t do spaghetti straps — my shoulders are too big for those to ever look good. But really, there aren’t as many options once you move away from strapless. Maybe I’ll learn something and discover something wonderful in innovative support garments. (Wishful thoughts.)

THREE — My mom isn’t here in the city to go shopping with me. I have a few wonderful friends who would join me in a minute, and will, but I kinda want my mom. Silly, I guess, but it’s just one of those moments.

FOUR — I’m pretty sure I’ll cry in the dressing room. Not necessarily because I hate a dress, or love a dress, but… I’ll just cry. Let me put it this way: I’m famous for crying when I get a hair cut or new highlights or something. I think it’s partly the change, but maybe it’s also the long periods of time in the salon where I really have no choice but to look in the mirror, trying to decide if I like the way I look. Makes me feel too introspective, too self-aware, or something.

funhouse mirror angst


So, that’s my angst about shopping for a dress. But, if I think I’m going to get married in five months (from tomorrow!?!), then I better get on it, in case I have to special order something from a snooty bridal salon. Wish me luck on Friday for the first round!

I did!

25 Jul

I ordered those red shoes! Will update again when they arrive to decide if they’re keepers!

time out to try to win a gown!

15 Jul

I am not above chasing a contest win, if it’s for something good! So, please allow me to show you these beautiful wedding gowns from Bonny Bridal, and alert you to the contest for a giveaway — gown of choice! Plus-size dresses with style are hard to come by, and I like the look of Bonny Bridal’s gowns.   

plus-size bridal gowns

see for more


 See? Pretty, right? I think I love the one in the lower left-hand corner, but there are more at the website:–plus-size-bridal-.html. Also, enter the contest, through July 31, at   

UPDATE: On August 1st, the day I found I did not win this contest, I also FOUND MY DRESS!  Congrats to the winner!  

And then, if you are also a plus-sized (or weight-anxiety-ridden) bride, go and read this beautiful post today on A Practical Wedding. I needed this joy: