I've been to a few weddings in Hong Kong, but last night was the first time that I had charged on and actually attended to formal banquet. One of our group's secretaries (Queenie) got married yesterday (well, technically they had a wedding sans the legal wedding ceremony - it's a long story), and she very kindly invited me along. Wedding banquets are relaxed affairs, but the order of events and the food served is pretty much set in stone. I was lucky enough to be sitting with my workmates, who were all very eager to talk me through the whole thing.
The whole shaboodle kicked off at around 5pm, when the mahjong and cards begin. This is called the "reception", and if it wasn't for Philip letting me know that it wasn't the Western "reception" (i.e. drinks and nibbles), I might have ended up relearning to play mahjong and losing all of the money in my wallet (oh yes, they play for cash...)
Ok, so the shot of the fish head probably wasn't necessary, but I couldn't resist.
During the games component of the reception, the bride and groom are pretty much a fixture at the front of the room, and as people enter the venue, they get shuttled to where the bride and groom are so that they can get formal photos with them (every guest has at least one formal photo with the bride and groom - it's pretty cool). I got my photo taken with them, then Philip and I had one with them (Philip and I both work with Queenie), and then the entire table from my work joined in for a group shot.
After that, there's a little bit of milling about before the banquet begins - videos and slideshows were played, and Queenie and Calvin left the room and then reentered it for the dinner. Here's a fairly random assortment of photos from that time:
Top left is mother of the bride, bottom left is the rose petal holders that were used for Queenie's entrance into the banquet room, and bottom right is a pack of cards from one of the card playing tables.
After the brief speeches and whatnot, the banquet formally began with a suckling pig served at each table. Bloody delicious. This was followed by shark fin soup (which I passed on), and then a trainload of other dishes - but the suckling pig really was the standout.
Once dinner was over, the bridal party circulated around the tables for toasts and photos, and then dessert was served up (along with a plate of oranges - I think there is some traditional reason for this, but I'll have to check). To end proceedings, Queenie, Calvin and their families lined up by the door to say goodbye and thank you to all the guests on the way out - a nice way to end the evening.
Here are a few more photos from the night, in no particular order:
The girl with the wine glass and in that last photo is Suki - Queenie's sister and the other group secretary.
Finally - and this was actually taken before the wedding - here's one of my partner in crime last night, Philip. I took this one of him in his new studio in Causeway Bay. How cool are those purple walls?