All Happy Weddings Are Not Alike in the Same Way: 500 words

Is it too late in life to write about my wedding in the summer of 65? I felt my moʻopuna needed to know. I’m not sure why it took me so long to write this but here goes.


It’s an oppressively hot summer, in Honolulu, the year is 1965. I’m Faye Sing and I’m getting married to Gary Woo, a rich private-school boy, perfect teeth, nice car, went to a good school on mainland.


Planning a formal Chinese wedding easily turns to chaos in our family. Each one had their own idea of the ideal wedding. Mina, my kolohe baby sister cum thespian, would sing out at the top of her lungs TRADITION!  —- TRADITION!, whenever she sensed the friction, but when the conversation got explosive, she and Li Hing the cat, would run into the bedroom, keeping her ear glued to the door, hand on the handle ready to run out to see the sparks fly.

One day, I arranged to meet Pua, my maid of honor, at Coco’s Drive In. Halfway into our lunch, Pua tearfully confessed, she’s three months hāpai, she’s going to be about five months “along” by “Big Day”. Auē, I had to conjure up a quick plan. Tomorrow is the final fitting at the shop, all the bridesmaids will be there!


Fighting the shock of her confession, I struggled to reassure her.  “Listen, let’s go talk to Aunty Gogo, maybe she can fix us up with something that won’t show too much ʻōpū.”


I finally reach home to hear my parents arguing about money and how they’ve come up short on the wedding budget. Dad took on a part time job helping Uncle Wing on his watercress farm, Ma worked overtime at the lei shop.


I sneaked into my room and stared up at the cracks in the ceiling. Tomorrow is going to be an exciting day, the final fitting of my gown. Stay focused!


The following morning, we arrive early to be greeted by the owner who begins to bark at two sales girls to rush to our assistance. “It’s the Woo bride”, she says under her breath. One sales girl whispers to another that she had the hots for Gary Woo.


The dress is feeling way too tight and it’s taking a while to zip, snap and button, I’m too embarrassed to tell the girls I need a size larger. At this rate,  I thought I’d never be able to finish the wat gai min, my favourite noodle dish in this tight number. While giving it my final flat ʻōpū inhale, I overheard one sales girl telling another how Gary Woo could charm the tightest cheongsam off any girl in Honolulu. That was the last straw. I tore off that dress so fast, rushed out of the shop and ran to the nearest pay phone. Fireworks !


We decided to postpone the wedding. It wasn’t easy, but  after a year we agreed to get married. This moʻopuna, is the story of Pākē tutuʻs wedding.

Talk story

  1. mwmediaone says:

    love it! well done! reminded me that so many important conversations for many locals took place at Coco’s, whether in the bar or coffee shop- they seemed to be the place for an earnest and sometimes, life- altering decisions (like leaving my first husband). Mahalo

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