I'm going through this myself. If our marriage can survive the wedding, I think it can survive anything.
I'd always wanted a small, quiet, dignified wedding. Just close family and friends, not too much money.
The thing is, the gf has about 300 close friends and relatives who absolutely must be invited. (Compared to about, oh, less than ten of mine who are likely to show up.) So much for small.
Chinese weddings have all the dignity of your high school prom. To us, a wedding consists mainly of an exchange of vows, given by some authority figure who will remind everyone what a serious decision this is. To them, a wedding consists mainly of what we would call the reception...except none of this brunch-type idea, it has to look like a disco-style Roman orgy.
Oh sure, they've adopted some of the more garish elements of Western weddings, like the dresses and the music. But they pipe the music through amps, like a DJ. Some mixed Chinese/Western couples solve the problem by having two distinct events, one of each kind, so the Westerners can consider the Chinese wedding banquet to be a kind of overblown reception.
Let's see...the gh informs me that wedding fare must include alcohol, and three kinds of meat. For those of you whose medical or religious backgrounds disagree, welcome to your impending culture clash.
Did I mention religious differences? Her mother wanted to know if my parents worshipped their ancestors. Meanwhile, my mother wanted to know if they were Muslims.
Finally there's the red-envelope, bride-price (not a dowry), and all the other traditional and fairly crass emphasis on moolah which your values may or may not welcome on your special day.
I guess the trick is making everybody treat your values on an equal basis, and not just railroad over them on the basis of superior numbers or a louder mother-in-law!