Two of the most anticipated events of the week were the Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties, which took place at the same time on Monday afternoon/evening. In the two weeks beforehand, Dan, Tian, and I had spent a significant amount of time researching and planning everything.
While we wanted to make these parties very similar in spirit to what they would be in America, we also had to recognize factors that would make them different. For example, the parties by necessity would be very inter-generational and also include lots of relatives, including parents. Furthermore, language and cultural differences of group members would create different dynamics as well.
Given that these parties are an American tradition, planning them was a fun cultural experience for Tian. On more than one occasion, she greeted our ideas with a surprised, “You do what?” At times, we called on our female American relatives to help with planning games and other surprises for the bride that she obviously shouldn’t take on herself. We also knew that the experience would be quite different for Tian’s parents, but Tian assured us that they would be up for anything! Happily, she would be proven right!
I especially want to thank Dan for all of his ideas and energy when planning the Bachelor Party. He spent a lot of time biking around Beijing to find everything from a bike rental shop to a specialty ice cream parlor. He figured out logistics and negotiated prices (sometimes with Tian in support) in Chinese with all the vendors, which is quite the challenge for anyone let a lone a beginning Chinese speaker. He also spent time and money shopping for supplies. He was the best Best Man a groom could ask for!
The parties were an absolute blast. The next two blog posts will give you an idea of the activities both groups did. I promise I’ll spare our guests from the most incriminating photos! Also, on a side note, Jenny our friend and photographer partied with the ladies. We have a Chinese friend named Watson who joined the guys and took pictures along the way. Thanks again to them both!