Our mothers are sisters. They've been talking about it since early this year, but it's only recently that anything serious is being discussed. We weren't explicitly invited, but two of our other Aunts (the bride's mother and another Aunt) are going and they want my Mother-in-Law to go with them. They also want to bring along someone who speaks English. That's where the Husband, the Brother-in-Law and I come in. =) Booking tours and doing stuff would go smoother with us there.
I've never been to South Africa and I'm wanting to jump at the chance. But I don't quite feel right inviting myself to someone's wedding. Having organized my own wedding, I understand these things.
Inviting people you don't know is less of an issue with Chinese extended family. We're more likely to accept that if there's a blood relation in there, no matter how distant, "they're coming to the wedding, end of story".
The bride's family is mostly in Taiwan and many of them won't be able to go. In Chinese culture, the more members of the family are present at the wedding and thus, supporting the marriage, the more respectable the couple is in the eyes of family and friends. It says they're well loved and, therefore, good, virtuous, honourable people.
I'm not sure how far removed they are from Chinese cultural attitudes. Sometimes, I find that people in Taiwan are quite removed from Chinese tradition to begin with, nevermind those who live overseas. I'm not sure how her fiancé feels about it either. What's more, if they were that serious about old customs, they could have insisted on getting married in Taiwan where the family is.
The other big issue is, I don't know who's paying for the wedding and I don't know what financial constraints they're up against. I'm not sure if they can easily just add a group of six people in their budget. And even if they are filthy rich and can afford it, it still doesn't make it okay.
Personally, I don't mind just going to see the bride, groom, family, just vacation around the area and not actually attend the wedding if there isn't the budget for us. But I know that isn't going to happen. If we're there, there would be way too much pressure to invite us.
One option is to not go. I don't know if the Aunts and my Mother-In-Law would go without us. If they do, that would mean they will brave the English-speaking territory on their own. I think they'd be fine, but I'm still not entirely too keen on that idea either. I'm not sure if the bride and groom will have time to play tour guide for them. They have a honeymoon to go on. I'm sure they have jobs and lives too.
So, if we go, I want to try to make sure that our red envelope more than covers our bit of the reception costs, and then some, to be a real gift for them. I've written to a few wedding coordinators in Cape Town asking about the average price per head for wedding receptions and Chinese banquets.
I still have to apply for my vacation time approval at Work. I think I can safely take two weeks off. I like taking time off that's not at the height of the summer vacation season. I usually take off in mid to late fall. It's easier to get the time I want without having to fight with others that have higher seniority than I do. And it's always nice when the office is quieter because it's down to a skeleton crew. =)