I was just looking at Cowboy Caleb's call for help to get more information on the workings and protocols of a Chinese wedding ceremony, and it got me thinking of the kind of wedding I'd like. Not like it really matters because I don't even have a partner to marry and I've real doubts about the institution of marriage itself, but just for the sake of wondering aloud...
I once attended an acquaintance's wedding at a huge open space/void deck, and hundreds of people were invited. Seriously, I can't imagine going through that myself; I figured the groom knew personally only about 10% of the guests. The rest were neighbours and friends of friends and total strangers. These people were only there because traditions dictate they should attend the function.
My ideal wedding would be a simple affair at the Botanical Gardens, or maybe one held at the zoo. And I would also ban everyone from bringing gifts and red packets. So I'd print on the invitations: PLEASE DO NOT BRING GIFTS. ALL GIFTS AND RED PACKETS WILL BE FORWARDED TO THE NKF. JUST BRING YOURSELF AND ENJOY THE FREE FOOD AND ELEPHANT RIDE.
So probably you can imagine my angst at the current state of things, primarily on the issue of 'the market value of gifts'. What is this, the stock market of best wishes? Today VOCC (Value Of Close Colleagues) is trading at $60, POTN (Price Of The Neighbour) is going for $40, COIR (Contributions Of Immediate Relatives) is moving at a six-month high of $80 and projected to climb even higher next week, and MSFT (Met Someone For Tea) is trading for a peanuts $30.
I think gifts are fine; it's just this whole business of feeling that state of despair when a wedding invitation is received and one doesn't really want to go because of the bonus monetary hardship that attending it entails. There shouldn't be any feeling of sorrow when attending a wedding!
The other thing is the quantification of good wishes. Frankly I don't care if anyone even brings gifts to my wedding. Your voluntary, unstressed and happy presense alone is a far, far better gift than I could ever hope for, or could ever deserve.
Of course, there's the other economics consideration. Given that the venues for weddings cost money, there is a purpose in these sorts of calculations, to achieve a not so unfavourable outcome in the bookkeeping. So one would constantly look at the balance-and-loss sheet and hope for only a slight loss, if not to break even. I really don't like this sort of thing. It's a wedding!, not a 'my friends should help me cover my losses' activity.
But when all is said and done, traditions still matter to a large extent (maybe the article HuiChieh points out can save me lol) I wish Cowboy will eventually find the information he needs and plan the perfect wedding!