We wanted to do a simple lunch or dinner with my mother’s side of the family. It turned out to be a mini-banquet with 40 people. The 40 people I was not surprised about (we are close-knit) but the 12-course meal at a fancy hotel was not what I’d expected.
We had lunch at Grand View Hotel (昇財麗禧酒店).
Normally at a banquet, the bride changes gowns 3-4 times.
My mom knew we wanted it to be simple, so I was allowed to wear something more casual but nice (and red).
Even though we only had four tables, they decorated one of them as the head table and had a personal server for that table. The server would present the food in front of us then take the dish to a side table to divide into individual portions. Such service!
Normally, there would be around 30-40 tables (each table seating 10). Food is a very important part of marriage ceremonies! To be honest, food is an important part of Chinese culture in general. People will ask you 吃飽了沒 (have you eaten) rather than how are you when they see you. Usually 12 dishes are served (like above) including abalone and shark fin soup. It is normally more for the parents to invite all their relatives and family friends, to pay them back for their kindness and friendship over the years. As I said before, the bride will change into 3-4 different gowns throughout the night. It’s customary for the bride and groom to go to each table and toast each table (and introduce members in each table). At the end of the night, the couple will stand at the door to give out wedding candies. The guests do not give presents to the couple, it’s tradition to give monetary gifts in red pockets and that is used to help cover the cost of the banquet.
Some of the stuff in the movie, The Wedding Banquet, is not far off from real wedding banquets. It’s very 熱熱鬧鬧 (hot hot noisy noisy).
I am glad that my parents and relatives just want us to be happy and are very flexible (compared to certain families).
It was a good lunch. The food was delicious. We got to see almost everyone.