One of the reasons I went to Hong Kong is to attend a wedding. The groom and the bride were two bankers, the reception took place at one of the Shangri La hotel, so my expectation of the event was pretty high.
The event started by each guests writing a short note to congratulate the couple, but the first cultural difference I notice was the gift tradition; indeed, in a Chinese wedding you’re supposed to give a red envelope containing monetary gift to the newly married couple. (I was aware of that, so I have my red envelope 🙂 ) A Chinese buddy of mine told me the red color of the envelope symbolizes good luck and is supposed to ward off evil spirits.
As expected the wedding venue was magnificent, it consists of a small stage and several round tables across the room. The main table was easily recognizable since it was in front of the stage, but mostly because it was the only one with chairs covered in red cotton. Similar to above red is traditionally also a symbolic color of happiness in China.
Nothing was particularly different when it comes to the course of the wedding, like in the West it was made of video explaining how they met, an animator making jokes, pictures etc. And yes everything was in Cantonese so it was quite interesting trying to follow #!?%. Anyway – one thing great and most noticeable to me was the food. There were about a dozen small size dishes.
After the fifth dish or so, the groom and bride and their families approached each table to toast with us. Then, the food came back yummy!
About maybe ten to fifteen minutes after the last dish was served, the groom and bride lined up at the entrance to bid the guests farewell and thank us for coming.
The reception lasted for four hours, I was surprised there was no party or dancing, I guess I had always assumed it’s customary at all weddings. My understanding is that due to some older guests attending the event, there is a kind of respect, hence things must be quieter than usual but still very much in a festive atmosphere. Anyway, it was a great experience and a great insight into a different culture.