Incorporating Asian and Chinese themes in fusion weddings
Fusion weddings celebrate the heritage of both the bride and groom. Two families from different traditions are joining and fusion wedding celebrations offer something for everyone. The blending of Asian, Chinese or Japanese with Western customs can lead to exotic, colourful and rich festivities, which are unique in representing the couple and their values.
If the marriage is taking place in a western setting, you have the advantage that many of the guests will already be aware of the traditions that apply in this part of the world. This is the ideal opportunity to feature the best of both kinds of celebration with your respective families.
Some of the possibilities are so decorative and colourful that brides and grooms choose to adopt them, despite having no immediate connection to eastern heritage. Here we describe just some of the themes you might like to include.
Traditionally, once they become engaged, a Chinese groom’s family will present impressive gifts to the family of the bride. A typical gift may be money in multiples of nines (999 or 9999) since the number nine in Chinese has come to represent the concept of a long future together.
The reception space is often graced with floral streamers, paper lanterns and parasols, hung upside down above the guests’ heads. The table also features paper lantern or cocktail parasol decorations and of course, fortune cookies. Suppliers such as Anna Newman of Sugar Bowl Bakes and Cakes - Www.facebook.com/sugarbowlbakes can tailor the decoration of the cookies and even the messages they feature to match your theme.
The bride might choose to wear a traditional red costume and decorative floral or embellished jewelled hairpieces. Actually it’s all about red - red and gold table linen and settings, red bouquets – almost anything red!
At the wedding banquet, guests traditionally bring red envelopes with money or a fruit gift comprising dates, peanuts, longan fruit, lotus seeds and chestnuts. The Chinese wedding breakfast is a true banquet (traditionally held in a restaurant, but in fusion weddings the venue is also acceptable) with many choices of Chinese food. There is alcohol for the toasts and the bride and groom drink from glasses tied together with red ribbon.
The Chinese give dragon and phoenix cakes to guests instead of wedding cake but you if you’re determined to include a tiered cake, perhaps a dragon feature or Chinese message such as the ‘double happiness’ symbol cake topper would lend a touch from that culture.
For the purposes of this blog, Asian means Indian, Sri Lankan, Pakistani and Bangladeshi - a huge geographic area with a multitude of traditions. There’s only space to mention some of them here.
Asian ceremonies can last several days – select aspects of the tradition if you prefer to have a shorter celebration. Also, your groom may choose not to enter the ceremony on a horse, perhaps choosing a more practical Indian themed transport option.
You’ll often see elephants represented for good luck in table centres, place settings, cake decorations and fabric embellishment and made of every possible material from flowers and wood to icing.
Cala lilies and orchids, and elaborate decorations involving petals and coloured spices are popular. Floral garlands are used for decoration or worn around the neck by the principles. Intricate henna mehndi patterns adorn the hands and arms. The bride will wear a set of choora bangles up the arm, which are usually red and white. They are given to the bride by her maternal uncle and must be worn for anything from 40 days to a year after the wedding.
A stage or Hindu mandaps provides a dramatic setting for the ceremony, with pillars, royal chairs for the wedding party and carpet decorated traditionally with water jars, garlands of flowers and leaves and more modern fairy lights, draped fabric and crystals. There’s informal seating with brightly coloured cushions and decorative rugs for guests.
White is not a traditional colour for brides from many cultures. Despite this, modern brides are often choosing to wear a traditional costume for the ceremony and a white bridal gown for the reception afterwards. We can’t fault their reasoning!
Clevedon Hall’s wedding planners are experienced in planning Asian and Chinese fusion weddings. Whether you want to incorporate some or many traditional aspects into your special day, we’re happy to help. Get in touch to start planning today.
Photo credit – Anna Newman of Sugarbowl Bakes