I posted a funny thing that Bill and I are dealing with on the Chinese Weddings message board. Yes, there’s a message board just for Chinese weddings. It basically described the guest list that we got from Bill’s mom and how extremely vague it is. The list accounts for roughly 80 people and goes a little something like this: (it’s been abbreviated)
1st uncle, 8 ppl
2nd uncle, 8 ppl
3rd aunt, 9 ppl
5th aunt, 4 ppl
1st aunt, 3 ppl
2nd uncle, 2 ppl
3rd aunt, 3 ppl
6th aunt, 3 ppl
Then random people called Auntie and Uncle Lee, Auntie and Uncle Chan, and Angelina’s
Parents, Susan’s parents, and Sherman’s wife. There were hardly any names!!! Bill and I were totally cracking up as I tried to enter everyone into my guest list spreadsheet. Needless to say, it was a challenge. Bill doesn’t even know the first names of many of his aunts and uncles. Of course, it’s mostly because it’s disrespectful for Bill to address his aunts and uncles by their first names. Even calling someone Uncle Mark, would be disrespectful. Instead he would be addressed as Uncle Number One on Mom’s side, or whatever number in which he was born and what side of the family he’s on. My Aunt Jan would be Auntie Number Two on Mom’s side. In Chinese, I think it ends up being only three or four syllables.
The response to my post on the message board was hilarious as there are apparently many other brides with similar guest lists. Many said their moms or FMILs (future mother-in-law) said, “just give me 20 invitations to give out.” The scary thing with some Chinese families is that 20 invitations can result in 80 RSVPs! One woman said her grandfather RSVP-ed for 14 people… apparently he’s bring his whole village. Another bride’s FMIL said she had to invite 150 people knowing full well that 80% of them wouldn’t come. The bride is trying not to freak out, “What do you mean they won’t come? What if they come?” Thankfully Laikwan has been awesome in this department. She knows that we will need names and addresses. She just wanted to give us a list so we can keep track of our numbers. Eventually we’ll know who Sherman’s wife is and the names of Uncle #2’s children. Laikwan actually has some friends whom she hasn’t told of our engagement yet because they will expect to be invited. And it would be insulting for her to give them the “we’re only inviting close friends and family” line. She’s waiting until she has some confirmed no’s from family overseas before she tells them.