One of the main tasks on my to-do list for the China 2007 trip is to order a wedding gown. Before we took off, I found out my favourite wedding gown from internet, printed it off in photo-studio quality and hoped that I could wear that one on my wedding. My beloved gown costs only about 160 euro to be tailored in a gown factory in Shanghai. Certainly the material they use for shell won’t be exactly the top class silk, and the lining won’t have a second-skin-like feeling, but I will wear it for once only, as long as it can sustain a good appearance for one day, I really don’t care that much except the style. For daily wearing I would strongly prefer materials only from cotton, line or silk though.
My parents were overjoyed when saw Dirk and I visiting home together. They treated us with classiest things available in my hometown, of course they also tried to arrange every possible activities for us. When father heard I was looking for a wedding gown, he told one of his secretaries and then the gown affair turned out to be quite out of my control. His secretary, Mr. Lin, happened to be in charge of a big real estate project which was just for wedding business. Thus he knew almost all the people in the wedding industry in my hometown. It seemed that he was quite exited for the task of choosing a wedding gown for me, he said I could first look in my small hometown (which has 5 million population), if nothing attracted me, he knew also many couturiers in Shanghai and Beijing, I should not have any problem to get my ideal gown. So dad made an appointment for us to shop for the wedding gown.
I said to Dirk that I have already found what I like, I would just show the picture to them and all they need to actually do is to find a couturier, who is specialized in gown-tailoring, for me. Dirk was very upset when he heard that. In his opinion, a girl needs at least a week to visit dozens of gown stores and try on every good candidate before making the decision. (Later I figured out that the whole process is in fact a big fun for him, my fast decision-making obviously deprived his right of having such fun….:-) So later I agreed that we shall visit many jewel stores prior to placing the order for the rings)
The day came, I almost fainted away when seeing there were actually 5 people in the gown-choosing team for me. Plus my mother and Dirk, totally 7 people were either giving speeches on how to choose a wedding gown or commenting about my figure. I knew it was really Mr. Lin’s courtesy and great consideration to bring a team of specialists, he treated me like a VIP. But in my impression, choosing a gown is quite personal thing, I was not that excited to see so many strange people making the decision for me. (Now I realized that wedding is in fact not a personal thing, I was really expected to give a good performance in front of my big families, and the friends of our families. In China, wedding is in fact a festival for parents. If done too simple, my parents will feel very sad. One of my main jobs in the wedding is to make our families and friends happy. Hence their opinions on the gown are at least as important as mine.)
Then I was taken to try on the gowns they had in a professional store. Mr. Lin kept saying that I was too fat for the style I loved, I told them my weight will drop dramatically in summer, it’s like a sine function every year, with the positive peak in winter and the negative peak in summer, sadly nobody listened to me. All the gowns they brought to me had really complicated patterns on it, either with a lot of small plastic “pearls” or sparkling things on it. I told them that I hate anything that is sparkling on my clothes, I do not want to look like a Christmas tree with light tubes, they said those patterns draw the attention of other people to the gown but not to my fat body, I was so, so upset when they said again and again I was fat. Sigh, I weigh 55 kg in winter and 50 kg in summer (167cm height), I wonder if that is overly fat for a simple gown. They saw my wide shoulder but it is my bone which is that wide on the shoulder….at the end of the day they measured me, the waist read was 60cm, it surprised everybody. Maybe the Chinese people are really used to girls with small shoulders, they also kept saying that my wide should is a “fault” of my body, and tried their best to make my shoulder look narrower. They also suggested that I should wear an extremely bright and huge necklace, so that people won’t feel my shoulder is too wide.
Dirk did a lot in the store. He picked out at least 4 gowns for me to try out, and every time when I asked for his opinion, his comments was always as detailed as his correction for the homework of his students. He has nothing to do with high fashion and never watched any fashion show, but I was really surprised how professional his comments sounded like. One A-Line gown he chose for me fit me really well, the pattern was not overly complex, nothing was sparkling on the gown but I didn’t like the lace on it. He told me to first pay attention to the overall “feeling” of a gown, the details on the gown is kind of secondary….The team were watching us when we were talking in German, a girl said “Oh hoooow sweet, they discuss about everything, he is so serious, a real German!” What a pity Dirk is not in the fashion industry, otherwise he may well be another Armani.
At the end of the day, the gown we ordered was chosen by Dirk (!!!), the boss of the store said Dirk had a really good eye, the gown he picked happened to be the most expensive one there (the hanging gowns for trying on had no price tag on it).
Looking into the mirror, I really look like every other bride in that white gown. But I do not really care. After all, an outstanding gown doesn’t guarantee a happy long-lasting marriage, a happy long-lasting marriage needs much more than a wedding gown. Finally the gown we ordered is completely different from the one I chose from internet, however I was so happy that Dirk was always by my side and “mitdenken”, that works much better than a good-looking gown in our future life. I always smile when the memory of the gown-choosing day came to my mind.