Happy Chinese New Year, unless you are an April bride.
Why? It’s because of three little words. The global economy.
The Chinese New Year could thwart your attempts to get that perfect wedding gown or bridesmaid dress.
While you may have forgotten about the global economy amidst dreams of romance and flurries of excitement, it underlies all your wedding plans.
The global economy is no shrinking violet. Every now and then, it reasserts its existence making you stand up and take notice, usually with a word of profanity or two.
I got my rude awakening while shopping for bridesmaid dresses in December.
I’m getting married on April 18, 2009, the weekend after Easter. In the hopes of avoiding an Easter-themed wedding with more pastels then a package of Cadbury Mini-Eggs, I found the perfect black bridesmaid dresses with a touch of spring green detailing.
I explained to the shop owner that I had six bridesmaids to consult before making my final decision. She understood, but kindly urged me not to procrastinate. After all, bridesmaid dresses can take up to 12 weeks to ship after placing the order.
With that advice in mind, I searched for the best place to buy the dresses. I thought online might be the cheapest and fastest option, so I called HouseofBrides.com, a huge online wedding store.
A young woman with a strong Chicagoan accent explained to me that I had to get my order in by the end of the week. I wanted to wait until the new year. My bridesmaids hadn’t even been sized yet.
That’s when the global economy butted its ugly head. The sales assistant explained that I needed to get my order in before Boxing Day so my dresses would be cut before the Chinese New Year.
It turns out that bridesmaids dresses, like most of the other products found in North American stores, are made in China.
The Chinese New Year is an enormous 15-day celebration observed by the entire country and most Chinese diaspora worldwide. The Chinese New Year is China’s most important holiday and includes traditions like visiting family, receiving red envelops filled with cash, indulging in culinary delights, watching lantern festivals, cruising New Year’s markets, and, of course, seeing fireworks.
With all this celebrating, production slows and factories, including wedding dress factories, close for the holidays. At the beginning of January, dress companies begin to post notices on their websites letting customers know about impending factory closures.
Knowing the global economy wasn’t going to reroute itself around my wedding plans, I rounded up my bridesmaids to get sized during the Christmas holidays and ordered the dresses well before the new year. Sufficiently worried about how the global economy was going to affect my order, I quickly confirmed with the shop owner that I had ordered in time to avoid delays.
I had no reason to worry according to the shop owner. It turns out that the dresses I wanted were actually made in New York. Yes, that’s right. There are still some products made right here in North America.
If you are an April or May bride, I hope that you ordered your dresses early. If not, you’ll survive the Year of the Ox. After all, the Year of the Ox is “traditionally associated with calm, fortitude and success through toil,” according to BBC News.