We love every opportunity when we can have the chance to address the specific nuances of Chinese weddings and how to incorporate Chinese wedding traditions while still being able to keep things modern and fresh. Here’s the article from the www.examiner.com. written by Renee Ferguson.
We’re giving you that Toronto multicultural greatness here on the Toronto Weddings Examiner page. Why live in a city with such beautiful culture and not explore it. So for the rest of the summer you will find Q&A’s with Toronto Wedding Planners who will give you expert advice on planning a cultural inspired (or culture fusion inspired) wedding. Today we talk with Toronto wedding planner Wendy Lee from Asian Fusion Weddings giving us the run down on the latest trends, great ideas, cuisine, and know-how for Asian/Chinese fusion weddings. You can also learn more about Wendy Lee and her favourite Toronto venue here.
Let’s start the Q&A:
1. Have you noticed more people incorporating their Chinese/Asian background into their weddings?
I would not necessarily say that I see “more” people incorporating their Chinese/Asian background into their weddings then before. I would describe it as seeing more people willing to step out of the traditional box and pushing the envelope a little more. Although all my clients do incorporate some cultural components into their day, there’s a more modern essence to it now. They are not as rigidly bound to all the “old ways” and more likely to create something that suits the couple’s tastes and personalities that represents the two of them. Most of my couples are not Chinese brides marrying Chinese grooms. They may be Canadian born Chinese marrying a different Asian background like Vietnamese, Korean, etc., and/or even someone with a Western background.
An example of incorporating Chinese culture would be the use of colour – the traditional Chinese red colour; which is actually a shade of orangey red. Now a day, we are creating wedding palettes with various shades of reds being featured and not just one particular shade of red. Other couples are incorporating subtle touches of red that do not necessarily overpower their decor elements. Red use to be the ‘must have’ colour, but not necessarily any longer. You’ll find brides using shades ranging from the lightest shade of pink to the boldest shade of fuchsia but combining it with other Chinese or Asian meaningful symbolism. An example would be cherry blossoms which have meaningful cultural symbolism. They are generally found in pink tones and many brides are incorporating them into their wedding decor; from the head table, to the centrepieces, to their wedding cakes and invitations.
Absolutely there’s more of a blend of the 2 or more cultures in all weddings that I now design. I let my clients know that the process of infusing the cultures throughout the day is more favourable and will seem more authentic and natural from the guests point of view. It’s like creating a water colour masterpiece painting. At certain points, the colours are distinctly different and as they merge together, they create a third colour. The wedding celebrations is about “two becoming one”, this means that what is “his and hers” should become theirs. It does take some experience to pull it off successful without your guests feeling that a certain element was just “plopped” in for the sake of having it being featured.
3. What are some of the trends you have been noticing lately in Asian/Chinese weddings?
Couples now want to create that ultimate celebration for their guests to enjoy. Chinese weddings are not just about the Chinese banquet food anymore. It’s not just about keeping the relatives happy anymore. It’s about the overall experience starting right from the moment the guests opens their exquisite invitation to the very last memorable dance. Couples now want to ensure that their guest have an experience like no other; making the couple the consummate host and hostess they really strive to become. They want their non-Chinese guests to have just as much of a good time as their Chinese counterparts.
4. How big a role does having authentic food play into a cultural wedding? What do you advise your clients when they want to incorporate a blend of Asian/Chinese food for their family and guest to try and Canadian/American style food?
Authentic food still plays a huge part in Chinese weddings. The traditional 10 course banquet is still often sought out. But that really leaves very little option if the couple wants to incorporate other items like appetizers, late night stations, etc. Therefore, making modifications and revisions need to take place if couples want other menu options included. Again, merging East and West menu options needs to be done carefully to ensure that each set of cuisine flavours are enhanced and do not clash with each other. It also means working with executive chefs who have the technique expertise and creative edge to successfully bring the vision to fruition. There needs to be trickling down effect that the service staff is familiar with presentation of food for both Chinese and Western ways of food service styles. There are so many other finer points that should be considered and are really too numerous to outline in this brief article. Hiring a professional Chinese wedding planner who is familiar with all these aspects helps ensure that the planning phases and execution of these intricate plans are outstanding.
5. What have you been noticing with venues and offering culturally diverse options in the Toronto area? Have you noticed more Asian/Chinese options amongst venues?
I might be dating myself, but when I was getting married almost 15 years ago – I was looking to have my own Asian Fusion wedding. I could not find a single venue that was willing to provide me a fusion cuisine and/or authentic Chinese cuisine that wasn’t in a Chinese restaurant. There are so many more options available now. Some work out better than others so couples still need to be cautious when the venue claims to be able to accommodate the Chinese cuisine. I toured one venue who salesperson did not know what difference it made to have 4 oz or 10 oz in a bowl of shark fin soup. I’ve been to another when I asked for a quote of a particular 2.5 pound fish, the salesperson emailed back asking if the one fish was for the entire guest count of 300 or for a table of 10. Couples really need to select the venue with care.
6. Give some examples of classic, must have items and ideas that a couple should include in their Asian/Chinese weddings?
Some “must have’s” in my opinion is the traditional tea ceremony. This is the most humble form of gracious gratitude any couple can offer to their parents for raising them well. It’s an utter show of respect in the most intimate fashion. (For more information about the Chinese tea ceremony conducted in Chinese Weddings, please refer to Wendy’s blog). Another must have would be a language considerations. If English was not your first language, how would you feel as a guest if the entire celebrations were conducted and you had no idea what was going on or what was being said. Likewise, if Chinese is not your first language- the same scenario would occur. Couples need to be mindful of the language complement of their guests and plan accordingly.
7. From your perspective, what’s the best thing about the fusion of 2 cultures and sharing that with your wedding guests?
What I love about the infusion of 2 or more cultures is that it brings more character and vibrancy into the wedding celebrations as a whole. It makes planning every wedding that much more memorable because all my couples are so uniquely different; that a very distinct occasion for each and every couple is co-created. I have never planned the same kind of wedding twice!
Wendy Lee specializes in Asian Fusion weddings where East marries West. You can find out more by visiting her website http://www.asianfusionweddings.com