My size XL Chinese Wedding Gown (Kwa) Has Arrived


My grandmother’s wedding gown

Growing up, the only photographs I’ve seen of my mother from her wedding day was of her wearing a traditional “kwa” – a two piece Chinese wedding gown worn mainly in the south of China. Since I grew up with that image instilled in my upbringing, I always thought it would be nice to wear a kwa on my big day too.

But unless you live in New York or Los Angeles, finding anything authentic or traditional in the US can be a challenge. At first I wasn’t too keen on buying an actual gown – what the heck am I going to do with a kwa after my wedding? It’s not uncommon for Chinese brides to rent  kwas. However, between a smelly selection of bride gowns (one store in Boston didn’t even bother cleaning their kwas), and another renter asking to meet in March because it’s too cold in January (WTF?), perhaps renting isn’t a realistic option in this neck of woods.

Thankfully, a friend of my brother was in town earlier this year, and we decided to organize a way to order a semi-customized, size XL kwa from China.

The logistic would be: the dress would arrive at a friend of a friend’s house in somewhere China, that friend would bring it to another friend in Hong Kong so the brother of this person can bring it back to Boston. Easy peasy, right? I know… And guess what? It worked!

Photo Jun 20, 11 27 56Kwa-bottom

My brother picked up the jacket from this friend last week, and the jacket was a perfect fit! Although the bottom is a little big, it’s not too bad as it comes with straps for tightening. I’ll be wearing this little number during the tea ceremony on my wedding day.

For me, it’s not so much about: look at me! Here’s my red, shiny gown (honestly there are ones that are way way better than mine). However what made it interesting was how my brother and his friend was able to retrieve the gown for me from China. Thank you universe! I owe someone somewhere out there dim sum.


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