Oct 02, 2008|
What is the eternal, ever-present, nagging question for any bride-to-be in Hong Kong? Is it whether you can bear to wake up to the man you’re promised to every day for the rest of your life? Or is it, if it’s really worth spending tens of thousands of dollars on a single day when you could have used the money to buy your first flat together? Of course not, it’s whether to get married in Hong Kong or overseas!
For Hong Kong couples, an overseas wedding can certainly seem tempting. With many friends and family members living outside of Hong Kong, why not do something a little different and get hitched on honeymoon? Plus, if you’re worried about unwieldy guest lists a destination wedding can definitely help streamline all those invitations.
Cost is another factor. Overseas weddings can actually be more cost efficient. Sonya Leung of Bliss Creations, a wedding planner that specializes in overseas weddings weighs into the debate. “Destination weddings are a great alternative if you’d like to incorporate a holiday into your wedding. They are also cheaper, unless you go for a ceremony in the high-end hotels,” she says.
But with a wedding and holiday rolled into one, there are some sacrifices to be made. “An overseas wedding is pretty logistics-heavy,” admits Yeung. “You’re at the mercy of local customs and culture and organizing remotely, you don’t have so much control over quality.” Paperwork is more complex overseas too. “It’s normally best to just conduct a ceremony there and do all the legal stuff when you get back,” she says.
Aside from the usual suspects in Thailand and Bali, where are people looking to for exotic wedding locations? “Cambodia is an increasingly popular choice”, says Yeung. “You can get a Buddhist blessing there to solemnize the ceremony. However, the wedding tourism industry there is quite new, so you might not get the full range of services that you want if you have very specific tastes.” She adds that the mainland market is increasingly interested in Western style weddings. “Sanya is an up-and-coming location, with its convenience and beaches,” she adds.
Then again, who says that you can’t get glamour and excitement right here in Hong Kong? You might find this surprising,” says Yeung, “but we get a lot of couples coming to Hong Kong to get married. It’s a beautiful city with lots of unique options, and it’s easy to navigate for people who’ve never been here before.” For a true Hong Kong experience, Yeung recommends a ride on the Aqua Luna junk, followed by dinner in Hutong. “It really is the quintessential Chinese experience, but it is stylish and modern too,” she says.
And if you know the right places, there are some great venues. “The private clubs have lovely facilities, and the beaches too provide a wonderful backdrop. And of course, the food here is second-to-none”. For a beach wedding, try Oohlala on Lantau’s Pui O beach, or charter Michelangelo, a super-sized junk that takes you on a day or night cruise. If you’re feeling more traditional, the Bethanie Chapel is a popular venue. Built by the French mission in 1873, its stained glass windows and adjoining studio space where a reception can be held make it a quirky alternative to hotel ballrooms.
The Four Seasons Resort, Jimbaran Bay, Jimbaran, Denpasar 80361, Bali, Indonesia, 62-361-701010, www.fourseasons.com/jimbaranbay
Consistently voted among the best hotels in the world, The Four Seasons’ Bali resorts are an ideal place to start your honeymoon. The beachside resort has its own wedding chapel, beachfront venue and gardens at your disposal.
Amansara, Angkor Wat, Road to Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia, 855-63-760333, www.amansara.com
Built in the 1960s, the Amansara resort was once the guesthouse of King Sihanouk. Its sprawling grounds allow for a spectacular outdoor ceremony, while the nearby ruins of Angkor Wat make for a striking backdrop for photographs.
The Ritz-Carlton Sanya, Yalong Bay National Resort District, Sanya, Hainan 572000, China, 86-898-8898-8888
This newly opened hotel is set on one of China’s most beautiful beaches. Its spacious garden and grounds provide a picturesque but convenient backdrop for nuptials, and the hotel can cater for both western and Chinese style occasions. It even has its own ocean front wedding chapel.
Pui O Beach, Lantau, 2984-871, www.oohlala-hk.com
A popular choice for a remote beach wedding, Oohlala can organize catering, decoration and entertainment. It can hold up to 250 guests and the package costs $650-$850 per head, including 2 hours open bar.
139 Pok Fu Lam Rd., Pok Fu Lam, 2584-8633, www.hkapa.edu
This neo-gothic chapel was built in 1873 and restored in 2003, after narrowly escaping demolition in the 1970s. The adjoining Y.K Pao studio is a bright, open space where receptions can be held.
9887-0000, email@example.com, www.luxurysuperjunk.com
The 88-foot luxury Chinese-style junk holds up to 60 guests in over 4,400 square feet of space. Silver service and an on-board chef add a touch of class to an otherwise casual setup. Day and night charters are available.