Wedding preparation adventures
Did I tell you that I got married? Haha! I’m just joking. I don’t want to be too annoying talking about the wedding in too many posts. To be honest, I didn’t even feel like sharing the pictures on Facebook, I don’t know why. But I wanted to write a bit about the things I had to prepare for the wedding. Which, luckily, weren’t many, as C. and the wedding planner took care of almost everything. However, some details required my opinion and sometimes even my presence… like the wedding dress!
Did you know that 80% of the world’s wedding dresses are made in Suzhou? (at least, according to the BBC). I thought finding one that I liked was going to be a walk in the park. I was wrong. It seems bridal styles are quite different in China and in the West, and all the gowns I could find in China were… too Chinese. This means they were too princessy, with puffy skirts, lots of bling bling and huge trains. So, basically, what I didn’t want. I first browsed on Taobao, selecting to display results from shops that were located in Suzhou. My logical mind thought that, if these shops were in Suzhou, they must have a physical store or at least a workshop where I could go and try the dresses on. Again, I was wrong. I found a few dresses that looked nice, but when asking if I could go to their place to try them on, the answer was no. I had to send them my measurements, they would tailor the dress and then send it to me. There was no way I was going to buy a wedding gown without seeing it on me first, so I had to change to plan B. Which was going to the bridal malls in Suzhou.
We went to two different malls, on two separate weekends. The first was the Tiger Hill Bridal Mall, which is a mastodon composed of 5 buildings. I only checked two and then gave up, as all the shops had similar things. Just eliminating the strapless (no thanks) dresses and the ones that had a train meant that I had very few options available… I did try some gowns on and some of them looked good (or at least I think they did), but, OMG, most of the dresses were SO HEAVY I could hardly move. I also tried a mermaid style one, which was way lighter, but I looked a bit fat in it and I would have needed to wear high heels, which was not going to happen. I chose the final dress from the second mall, a smaller one located in Xiangcheng district and which name I cannot remember. This dress is still way more princessy that I would have liked, but at least it was not strapless, it didn’t have a train and it didn’t feel heavy. After wearing it for 3 hours it was heavy as hell, but that’s another story. Oh, it was also pretty cheap. At least 4 times cheaper than a discounted wedding dress in Spain. I guess the quality and the materials are not super good, but I don’t need to break the bank for a dress that I am going to wear once (actually, twice!).
The red qipao which I wore for the banquet was easier. In fact, it was basically the first one I tried. I didn’t even need to have it tailor made as the size they had in the shop was fine. It’s not made of real silk, but as the dry cleaners completely destroyed the silk dress I had made to attend the wedding of a friend a few years back, I’m fine with it. This one is sturdier.
In the bridal malls there were some shoe stores, but I am very demanding with shoes and I cannot stand high heels. So I completely relied on Taobao and got a pair of rice-white leather shoes with a 3 cm heel for the wedding dress, and a pair of cream-coloured embroidered cloth shoes for the qipao. Both very cheap! (I’m starting to see a pattern here…).
Regarding the accessories, I also turned to my good friend Taobao. I found a vintage jewellery store from Hong Kong who sold many interesting things. I bought a necklace and a bracelet, but in the end I chose not to wear the necklace as I thought it was too much (it’s the necklace I posted on Instagram last weekend). I did wear the bracelet, a pair of long earrings with a pearl which were a present from my late grandma, and a diamond and white gold ring that my mum had made for me (C. didn’t really know that such thing as an engagement ring existed). I bought hair accessories in Taobao but the ones I ended up using were from the make-up artists. I bought a golden olive leaf tiara that looked very pretty on the screen, but when I received it… it was a total failure, with a horrible colour and terribly bad quality. And it hurts on my head!
The gift for the guests was also bought in Taobao. We also needed to give gifts to everybody in C.’s company (because that’s how they roll, everybody does it) so we had to prepare 800 sets. In China, wedding gifts are almost always a small box with some chocolates or candies inside. We chose a red wooden box with a cartoon couple on two sides and the character used in weddings (囍, double happiness) in the other two. Inside there were two Ferrero Rocher which were also bought in Taobao (but in the official Ferrero online store, don’t worry).
For the wedding invitations we followed the current Chinese style, which is doing e-invitations with music and several pages of pictures and text that can be easily shared on WeChat. People usually put their pre-wedding pictures here, but as we didn’t have pre-wedding pics taken we used normal pictures. I quite liked the final result! Curious? You can see it here! It might take a bit to load as the server is in China. Don’t try to RSVP though, that wedding already passed :D