The Venues


Another tricky one.

Initially Mr. Li’s father announced that he would be in charge of booking the venue in Inner Mongolia; this to me sounded like I was not going to be given much choice on my wedding venue in China, but would just have to go with what the future father-in-law deemed appropriate; almost certainly a room in the best hotel money could buy in Hohhot. Comments from my side directed at my future mother-in-law that it really needn’t be a very flashy hotel were met with

“Of course it needs to be a top hotel! For our son’s 12th birthday we booked the best available hotel in the city, naturally your wedding is no different!”

Again, mainly a question of face to impress; I thought the matter was sorted.

Then the German venue happened. Initially it looked like there was going to be a show-down between amazingly romantic and historic castle ruins in a village a twenty-minute drive from my parent’s town, and a restaurant just a five minute walk from the registry office. My parent’s place of residency being rather quaint to put it politely, options are slightly more limited than in big cities, so it all came down to these two places. The castle requiring a lot more work , time and money in terms of organizing decoration, catering and transport, and the restaurant being an incredibly beautiful location that embodies the feel of the little German town perfectly, on top of serving delicious cuisine, I thought the choice was made.

Especially since Mr. Li, upon hearing this, said:

“Oh we don’t need an expensive castle in Germany, we can just choose an imperial summer residency in Hohhot; my mother knows someone.”

This was very promising indeed; the Chinese guanxi (a form of networking and connections that is so much more powerful than in the west, as it dictates one’s entire life from getting a wedding venue at a discount to finding a job) could help us obtain a fair price. But before I could get too excited, it turned out that the acquaintance had fallen victim to a certain anti-corruption purge currently raging on in our realm, and so there went my China dream (harr harr) out of the window.

Back in Germany, the restaurant also fell through, due to a 10.30 pm curfew for their spacious outside winter garden, the limited space in the interior which would not even have allowed for 35 guests and a buffet to fit in, and cobblestones plastering the aforementioned outside, which mixed with high heels would have not been very beneficiary for dancing. After all, we don’t want the “something blue” to be the ladies’ ankles. Back to the castle ruins, then.

The current difficulty is that, being removed from both wedding locales, I am unable to go see any venues for myself, which is quite a frustration considering how deceptive professional photography can be. Working in the media business I learned that early on…

Plans of my flying home for Christmas are also turning out to be tricky due to ludicrous costs of plane tickets these days; an equivalent of 1.5 month’s salary will only get me as far as Frankfurt, another 2 hour train ride from my actual destination, and while my parents are offering to pay the bulk, I feel very uncomfortable about this, as a presumably independent grown-up individual.

Where I stand now, I think it will be the castle after all, as I definitely want a location where we can dance. The reason for this is that it is not customary to dance at Chinese weddings, as opposed to eating heaps of food and “d2d”, or drinking to death, as I like to call it; a predominantly Northern Chinese custom. Therefore, having a dancefloor at my German wedding is one of my top priorities (especially since part of my deal with Mr.Li as previously mentioned is me accepting unimaginable superstitions and him learning to dance for our first dance).

As for the Chinese venue, as much as I would love an imperial summer residency, I am finding that struggling with one wedding venue is already enough to keep me up until 3am in the morning pulling my hair out and writing blog posts; so I think I will leave the second one to the pros.

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