Real weddings: Bernice and Ray Wong

A classic Hong Kong love story, Bernice and Ray met over dim sum. The two were dining with their parents, hit it off – and the rest is history.

How did you stumble upon The Secret Kitchen by The Butchers Club?

Bernice Wong: It actually took us a while to find the perfect venue. We wanted to have about 160-190 guests there for a late afternoon cocktail session, followed by dinner – all in the same place. Plus, we were getting married during the rainy season, so we needed a Plan B. At first, our parents thought the venue, which is located in an industrial building, was a bit avant-garde, but they warmed to the idea! 

Why didn’t you go with the usual banquet hall?

BW: We wanted the day to be a party rather than a formal affair for our guests – and for us. In the end, it was perfect: fun, energetic, simple and refreshingly atypical.

Did you incorporate any Chinese elements?

BW: We didn’t spend time or energy on the usual Chinese games and ceremonies, which we didn’t find meaningful. That being said, we ended up doing the Chinese tea ceremony, which was very important for our parents and grandparent. I also thought it would be fun to be in a traditional Chinese wedding gown, and I was very glad that Ray agreed to play along – not a lot of Hong Kong guys do!

How were your personalities reflected?

BW: We both like things to be simple and not too stressful, so I would say, as far as wedding planning goes, we aced on both fronts! As for the decor, it was more of a woody, natural theme with very simple colours, such as white and green on wood. The signage was accentuated in neon pink. Ray was also very excited about the pick-up truck, which was provided by the venue – the back was filled with ice-cold beers to welcome our guests.   

Any advice for other couples?

Take it easy, and enjoy the planning. You are supposed to do this once in your life, so make it fun!

In hindsight…

Glad I spent on: Portable fans and air conditioning for the alfresco area. It turned out to be a very hot day!

Glad I saved on: Simple decorations. Our decorator knew how much was “just right.”

Venue & Caterer: The Secret Kitchen by The Butchers Club, thebutchers.club/wong-chuk-hang

Decorator: The Wooden Fox, instagram.com/thewoodenfox.co

Photographer: KC Professional Photography, www.chankichun.com

Cake: Sift, www.siftdesserts.com

Wedding dress: Spring Wedding, www.springwedding.com.hk

Hairstylist & Makeup: Bart Ko, www.beaute.com.hk

Real Weddings: Nissa and Andy Cornish

Nissa and Andy met while both were working at environmental NGOs. In 2015, the pair celebrated their marriage on an organic farm in Fanling.

When you started planning, which details were most important to you?

Nissa Cornish: It was important that our wedding be not just a beautiful event, but a reflection of who we are. We considered a destination wedding, but quickly realized that with many of our friends and family living far away, Hong Kong is a destination… and a great one! So we decided to do right it here, where our story is. We knew we didn’t want a typical Hong Kong wedding, in a hotel or restaurant. We also wanted to do it as sustainably as possible, and incorporate the outdoors if possible.

Which venues did you settle on?

NC: We had our ceremony at WWF’s Island House Conservation Studies Centre, in Tai Po. It’s a beautiful colonial-style heritage building built in 1905, and has an enormous private garden overlooking the sea. Our reception was at Zen Organic Farms in Fanling. I loved the idea of a rustic barn wedding. At first we didn’t think it would be possible, but then we visited Zen and discovered this open-air shed overlooking the fields… and something in our imaginations just said, “YES.”

How did you discover them?

NC: At the time, the Island House wasn’t open to the public [though it’s now open for event bookings], so very few people knew of it. Because Andy worked for WWF, we were able to make a special request to book it. As for Zen, we knew that the farm supplied organic produce to one of my favourite restaurants, Posto Pubblico. So we asked the kind folks at Posto (who also ended up being our caterers) to connect us. 

Did you encounter any complications?

NC: At first, Zen flat-out refused because they had never hosted anything like a wedding. It took a lot of coaxing from us and our amazing wedding planner to get them on board. But once they agreed, they were super kind and helpful all the way.

What else was special about your wedding?

NC: We enjoyed adding a lot of homemade touches. I designed the invitations, and found a woman who hand-made amazing fabric bunting to decorate the barn. Andy designed and built custom lighting for the head table, which went perfectly with the vintage mirrors we used as a backdrop. 

How were your personalities reflected?

NC: Our ceremony “altar” was decorated simply with two potted banyan trees, which now live on our roof as a memento. Andy hung vintage Hong Kong romantic-film posters from his personal collection in the barn, and selected organic wines and locally-brewed beers to serve.

What other details did your guests love?

NC: The kids’ area seemed to go over well! We had fun things like a teepee, wedding-themed colouring books, games, sidewalk chalk, and bubbles. Guests also made their own pizzas in a wood-burning oven. 

In hindsight…

Glad I spent on: A wedding planner. Sonya from Bliss Creations took care of all the boring details, which left us free to do the fun stuff.

Glad I saved on: The dress. It was a simple, classic dress by a local designer, and that’s all I needed. 

Wish I spent on: Live music all night. We hired an amazing live trio to serenade us during sunset, then switched to a DJ after dinner.

Wish I saved on: Nothing I can think of! 

Wedding Planner: Bliss Creations, blissweddings.asia

Caterer: Posto Pubblico, www.postopubblico.com

Photographer: Sean Creamer, facebook.com/SeanCreamerPhotography

Transport: Tesla Motors, tesla.com

Bouquet Flowers: Tiffany Flowers, www.tiffannyflowers.com.hk

Venue Decor: DIY

Makeup: Liz Bohan, bit.ly/2krm85S

Hair: Catherine Law

Entertainment: Cecillia Tang, facebook.com/CecilliaTangMorgana

Rings: Nathalie Melville Fine Jewellery, melvillejewellery.com

The Peak Suite at the Four Seasons

The Vibe: If you’re looking for all-out luxury, The Peak Suite is designed to wow. On the 45th floor of The Four Seasons hotel, the suite is subtly decked out in romantic cream and beige hues, while ornate chandeliers add to the glamorous vibe. Known for its excellent service and Michelin-starred cuisine, the hotel caters to both epic blowouts and smaller celebrations.

Wedding Style: Urban beauty, refined romance.


Best Part:
As part of the Intimate Wedding Package, Four Seasons executive chef Chan Yan-tak (from three-Michelin-starred Lung King Heen) crafts bespoke Chinese banquet menus – think whole barbecued suckling pig and baked crab with black truffle. Western options include lobster salad, pancetta risotto and roasted Nordic salmon.

45/F, The Four Seasons Hotel, 8 Finance St., Central, 3196-8888, www.fourseasons.com.

 

The Den at Mr & Mrs Fox

he Vibe: This three-storey restaurant in Quarry Bay is effortlessly cool, with a small outdoor area, an all-glass facade, and a sense of whimsy in the decor. The most stylish weddings take place in The Den, Mr & Mrs Fox’s private dining room located on the second floor. This secret spot comes with its own private entrance, personal chef and sommelier.

Wedding Style: Old world whimsy, perfectly private.

Best Part: There are secret taps for beer and wine!

Psst… Guests can toast to the evening on The Den’s private balcony.

Catering: Chef-designed sharing menus feature signature dishes such as foie gras torchon and Wagyu beef crostini. Canapes are also available.

Capacity: 24 guests seated, 70 standing.

23 Tong Chong St., Quarry Bay, 2697-8500, mrmrsfox.com.

The Lawn and Sky Lounge at The Upper House

The Vibe: Looking to get married surrounded by greenery and skyscrapers? The Lawn, located on the sixth floor of the minimalist Upper House hotel, provides a relaxed setting that’s perfect for romantic, garden-style nuptials. But if you don’t want to take a chance on the weather, The Sky Lounge on the 49th floor is another intimate option. With sweeping views of the Hong Kong skyline, the lounge features a cosy fireplace, soft green and blue hues, and floor-to-ceiling windows.

Wedding Style: Panoramic nuptials, secret garden.

Best Part: Couples can hold an intimate tea ceremony or get pampered with the wedding party in one of
the Upper Suites.

Psst… Packages are completely bespoke, based on your wedding vision.

6/F and 49/F, The Upper House, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty,
2918-1838, www.upperhouse.com.

Bathers

Lantau’s Lower Cheung Sha Beach just welcomed a fresh face: Bathers beach restaurant. Awash in a chic palette of charcoal and white, the gorgeous waterfront property serves up quality cocktails and food to match – 900g steaks, salmon ceviche, and roasted red snapper headline the European menu. Better yet, the open-air space includes private packages for those booking engagement parties and intimate weddings for up to 100 people.

32 Lower Cheung Sha Village, South Lantau,2412-7744, bathers.com.hk.

Real Weddings: Janice and Francesco

Hongkonger Janice Ng and Italian Francesco Benazzi celebrated their marriage in the Chinese Garden of Kowloon Park, followed by a celebration at The Pawn, with about 80 people.

    

Why did you choose The Pawn?

JN: Since we’re from different cultures, we  wanted to have some Hong Kong and European touches on our big day. We had an intimate family lunch at Hullett House and a more lively and friendly dinner at the Pawn – two historical places with two completely different rhythms.

What did you like about The Pawn?

JN: The rooftop of The Pawn is a perfect spot in the heart of Wan Chai. We started with a welcome cocktail on the balcony and then had dinner in the main hall. We decorated the roof with colourful lanterns that we put together the day before – it was a lot of fun. We created a historical path through our lives with pictures of us from when we were born to now – a total of 88 pictures.

How did you put your own stamp on your nuptials?

JN: My husband and I are both creative so we tried to do as much as we could by ourselves. We designed our own wedding logo for our invitations, cards, boards and menus. My husband had the idea of sealing our invitations with hot wax – we almost burned the kitchen down but it was worth it!

How did your wedding veer from tradition?

JN: We had to merge two nationalities and cultures. We had a traditional Chinese wedding with a less traditional dinner. I think the furthest we veered from tradition was when we dressed our best man – Panda, our beloved husky – up in a purple bow-tie.

What was the most memorable moment of the day?

JN: The entire day was magical and memorable! I can still remember every single step from the early morning until night. The most touching part was when we had our wedding celebration under the Pagoda in the Chinese Garden of Kowloon Park – it was very emotional for us both.

Who helped us:

Cake: Jeffery Koo, facebook.com/patisseriejefferykoo.

Photographer: Anthony Ho, together.hk.

Flowers: Ines Weddings, inesweddings.com.hk.

Music: Kai Djuric, kaidjuric.com.

Makeup: Dickie Chan, www.facebook.com/pg/dickieworkshop.

Celebrant: Anna Hung, facebook.com/annahung.morethanhoneymoon.

Tuxedo: Luxe Tuxedo, luxetuxedo.com.

Auberge Discovery Bay launches a new wedding package

 
SEA YOU THERE
Hong Kong has no shortage of city venues, but it’s slim pickings
when it comes to coastlines. Shining a spotlight on sea views,
Auberge Discovery Bay is home to a gorgeous contemporary
chapel right on the waterfront. The hotel recently launched a new
bridal package, which runs until the end of 2017. The deal includes
nuptials in the White Chapel, as well as a celebratory toast, a
dummy cake for photos, a real cake for eating, personalised linens,
and a one-night stay in a Mountain View Room for breakfast for
the newlyweds. Choose from one the half-dozen venues, including
the romantic gazebo, waterfront terrace, and enormous Grand
Azure ballroom, which can welcome up to 576 for a banquet.
DB North Plaza Discovery Bay, 88 Siena Avenue, Discovery Bay,