Subject: The Wedding - July 7, 2001
As this is the first time some of you will be attending a Chinese wedding, I thought it would be nice to give a little information as to what to expect at The Bride and Groom's wedding. If this is your first time, I hope this will be informative for you and I hope to have an opportunity to meet you, as well as answer any questions or concerns you may have.
The Bride and Groom will be having a very large wedding and they intend to take the time to talk with everyone at the wedding. Large weddings such as theirs may seem impersonal. Please know that they appreciate and thank you for being there on their special day.
The wedding ceremony at Shaughnessy Heights will start at 11:00 a.m. and will end at approximately 12:00 p.m. After the ceremony and outside of the church, there will be a receiving line.
Between the conclusion of the ceremony at 12:00 p.m. and the banquet beginning at Top Gun at 5:30 p.m., there isn't anything planned. Although this might be considered an etiquette faux pas, The Bride and Groom would like to explain and apologize ahead of time.
Subject: The Banquet
At the Banquet, you will be sitting at table N. Guest A, Guest B and Guest C will also be at your table.
The Bride and Groom have asked me to explain a few things with regards to the Banquet. We realize that not everyone is acquainted with Chinese wedding customs and there is usually some confusion even when everyone does know. So, we want to alleviate that as much as possible.
Upon arrival at Top Gun at 5:30 p.m., there will be a registration table near the entrance. Usually, this table is covered in a red tablecloth with another large piece of embroidered cloth on top of it. This is the Guest Silk. It is either red or pink and is equivalent to a Guest Book. There should be at least one person at the registration table, who will ask for your name. After you give your name, you will be offered a pen to autograph the Guest Silk. Please sign it anywhere you can find a space.
After autographing the Guest Silk, there should be a "reverse receiving line" that starts nearby. After the receiving line, guests will be ushered to their tables by one of the ushers or usherettes wearing small red, pink or yellow corsages or boutonnieres. If an usher/usherette is unavailable, please feel free to wait or wander in to seat yourself. The tables will have numbers on them as well as a list of the guests' names.
There is an old Chinese joke/rhyme that makes fun of how late Chinese wedding banquets start. Chinese weddings tend to average 300 guests and all the guests want to mingle with the two families as they are arrive at the banquet. There is also usually a lot of confusion as to where people are sitting, who is sitting with whom, people wanting to move, switching tables, people arriving late, etc.
Usually, guests arrive at 5:30 p.m. The banquet should begin at 6:00p.m. starting family introductions and the food should come out immediately afterwards at about 6:30 p.m. As with many weddings, the food may come out much later. Hopefully everything will go smoothly, but it might be advisable to have a small snack at around 3:00-4:00 p.m. just in case the banquet starts a bit late.
If you've had any experience with Chinese food at all, you'll know that the Chinese eat unique and interesting things. As a warning, there are dishes that may not appeal to a Western palate. However, please understand that the dishes served at wedding banquets have special symbolism and there are reasons why these dishes are served. The Bride and Groom hope that this will be an enjoyable experience for you.
I have attached a full listing (next e-mail) of each dish that will be served along with major ingredients. Please let The Bride and Groom know if you have any special dietary requirements or food allergies. You can contact The Bride directly at ... or The Groom at ... They will do their best to alert the staff at Top Gun to accommodate your needs. It is important to The Bride and Groom that everyone has something to eat!
The banquet will be trilingual: Cantonese, Mandarin and English. The Bride and Groom have made an effort to provide translations into all three languages, but there will be spontaneous jokes and exchanges that may be difficult to translate on the spur of the moment. Hopefully, no one will feel left out.
Chinese banquets usually end at around 10:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. with a toast. The Bride, Groom and their families will go around to each table and do a quick toast. Then, they will form another receiving line at the door to see the guests off. Sometimes, there is a dance after the banquet, but since The Bride and Groom aren't the dancing types, they will not be having a dance afterwards.
While we would love for you to stay until the end, we completely understand and would not be at all offended if you must leave before this time. Just make sure to find The Bride and Groom to let them know you are going, as I am sure they would like to thank you for being a part of their special day!!
Subject: The Menu
1. Combination Appetizer Platter
- Roasted Suckling Pork
- Stuffed Pork Leg
2. Pan-fried Prawn & Scallop with Vegetables
3. Stuffed Shrimp Meat on a Crab Claw
4. Shark's Fin Soup with Crab Meat
5. Lobster with Superior Sauce (cream based sauce)
6. Braised Chinese Mushroom & Sea Cucumber with Vegetables
7. Deep Fried Chicken with Prawn Chips
8. Steamed Rock-Cod
- garnished with ginger, green onion and cilantro
9. Honeymoon Fried Rice (shrimp & chicken)
10. Pan-fried Egg Noodles
11. Red Bean Soup (dessert)
12. 2 Dessert Cookies - I think the wedding cake will come out along with the dessert cookies.
Messages from MOH to Guests (Banquet Menu at the bottom)
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