Venus World Bridal (5/5) I eagerly anticipated the day I’d get measured for my custom cheongsam. As my auntie told me, the traditional silk “long dress” that’s worn by Chinese brides everywhere, is very much a family affair.

Growing up in my Cantonese Chinese family, there was nothing more special than seeing the bride appear at the reception wearing this gown. I saw a few in gold and blue, but it was almost always red. The loud cheers, applause and beaming smiles of my grandparents meant that I too would be destined to follow this tradition when my big day arrived.

It’s crazy how cheongsam shopping mobilized my aunties. One made herself in charge of researching the latest trends, styles and colors. Another was tasked with calling friends and family back home for referrals they might know of in the States. The last aunt followed up on those referrals, vetted them and selected the dressmaker.

The winners were Mr. & Mrs. Du from Venus World. At $300 for mine and $400 for his, a considerable amount for our already busting-at-the-seams wedding budget, we put in a lot of time researching what we liked. After looking through countless pictures, Mr. & Mrs. Du stated with a smile and nod that not only could they make it, they would make it the most beautiful.

After the designs were chosen we went upstairs to wade through a room full of fabric. While color is very important, equally important is the print on the fabric. “Oh, this one has bamboo!” said my aunt. “This one is lucky because it has the Chinese coins.” Another one had something that looked like leaves and feathers. “This is the latest trend,” she said, “you know all the famous ladies wear it in Hong Kong.”

After settling on fabric, we went back downstairs to get measured. All I can say is make sure that if you go, don’t go commando and definitely wear a bra–yes, I was prepared. Measurements are taken while you’re clothing-free behind a curtain. Twenty plus measurements were jotted down to ensure every stitch hugs every curve. He got 5 measurements, while clothed, and no reminder that he shouldn’t have had that donut and large Orange Bang over the weekend.

Venus World Bridal, 619 W. Las Tunas Dr., San Gabriel, (626) 291-5400

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