The Pouching Red Dress Asian Wedding

16 Jun How To Survive An Asian Wedding

We can’t choose whom we love, and on Asian soil, we can’t choose how we marry. Enter the Taiwanese wedding; it’s the penumbral, family-driven yin to the American wedding’s phosphorescent, individuality-driven yang. Curious about the difference between the two types of celebrations? Watch our informative video here.

After the last batch of koalas and cake from our Villa Montalvo reception were loaded into Wayne’s parents’ car, we hopped on a plane to Taiwan for the Asian component of our nuptials. Here are five keys for surviving the trans-Pacific culture shock:

1) Use food to self-medicate (unless if you’re a girl)

Seahorse Live Crab Taiwanese Cuisine

Taiwanese food is delicious and cheap, and your extended family will be anxious to backfill your maw with the island’s heartiest offerings. Which may include, uh, seahorse soup at a particularly extravagant 10-course dinner at the neon purple private dining annex/apex of the W Hotel in Taipei. If you’re a gent, your directive ends here: go to town on that beef noodle soup or sticky rice or oyster pancakes! If you’re a self-identified lady, you have a tougher row to ho(e): you have to eat just enough to not offend your hosts, but not exceed the bounds of feminine delicacy & respectability. Drink lots of tea and keep snacks in your purse.

2) Pick your battles wisely

The Pouching Taiwanese Asian Wedding

You may notice that some of these photos are courtesy of Adriana Klas Photography, and were therefore taken at our American wedding, where everything was distressingly true to us and executed exactly the way we wanted it (thank you, vendors!). That whole notion of autonomy and vision and articulated personality in planning? Whump it with a meat tenderizer, dump it into a stew, boil it for the length & viscosity of a 15-hour flight, then take the entire stewpot and toss it off the rooftop of Taipei 101, because those things don’t apply here, baby.  

3) Pick your allies wisely

The Pouching Tony Tina Chien Villa Montalvo

When you are in unfamiliar territory, latch on to people who have been through the matrimonial process and can offer practical advice (long bang, heavy powder, head down, walk fast, they’ll never know). Wayne’s god-siblings, Tony and Tina, pictured above, have been forged in the fires of Mordor. They were total fellowship bros and journeyed to both of our wedding celebrations in California and Taiwan. Thanks, Tony and Tina!

4) Someone is always having a worse time than you

Andy Hwang Mayflower Hotel W Hotel Taipei Taiwan

One byproduct of being the center (and yet not) of attention: other people will be tasked with handling everyday affairs while you’re propped up like a set of porcelain dolls. If you examine the above photos of Wayne’s brother Andy, you can see the curls of steam where his soul is departing his body. Also, ask Andy why he refuses to eat creamy foods now.

5) Think of your honeymoon

Reasons To Go To Koh Samui For Your Honeymoon

As you trudge from table to table with a fixed grimace (they asked you to be beautiful! They didn’t ask you to be happy), keep in mind that this is the proverbial dash of salt on the watermelon that makes the fruit all the sweeter! Wait, that’s a Taiwanese thing, right? Putting salt on cubed watermelon?

Point being: we can’t choose our cultural traditions, but we can moderate our reaction to them and accept that they have a place in our lives. Especially considering our relatives made it rain on Joyce’s veil, effectively paying for our honeymoon in Thailand. What are we, hourly? (Yes.)

Joyce + Wayne holding The Pouching lantern


Joyce + Wayne


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