How to Host an Oriental Themed Reception

Snapping a fortune cookie has always been my favourite part of a Chinese banquet. Health, wealth or happiness, I’d be thankful for any of those predictions to come true (preferably all three!) This weekend marks the start of another Chinese new year, so it got me thinking… Wouldn’t a fortune cookie be the perfect wedding favour? Imagine how striking an oriental themed wedding reception could be…

Hang Chinese Lanterns

An oriental wedding requires bold, dramatic decor, whilst remaining stylish and tasteful. I imagine shades of red and orange complimented with blushes or neutral colours. The atmosphere should be vibrant, though not too busy. Chinese lanterns make a versatile prop; they can be easily suspended either inside or outside, are kind to your purse and are available in a plethora or gorgeous colours. I love the idea of interspersing them with string lighting to ensure there is a glow about your event long into the evening!

Wear Designer Shoes

For any bride who has adopted bold oranges or reds as part of her colour scheme, she has the perfect need to prance around the dance floor in a heavenly pair of Louboutin heels. If you want to feel confident and glamorous on your wedding day, then a pair of designer shoes ought to help you to feel divine. Their distinctive red soles will let you stand out as a queen of class and sophistication. (Just be sure to wear them in a little first – no bride wants to be taken down before the first dance, by a pair of killer heels!)

Play with Parasols

Parasols were traditionally created by the Chinese out of mulberry bark or bamboo. Originally, they used silk to protect them from the sun but later, paper became more popular. Today, they still provide protection from the blistering heat (yes, I realise it’s hard to believe in winter, but even in Britain, many brides pose for photos in the warm glow of the sun). Parasols also work well as fun props, as an alternative to bridesmaid bouquets, or incorporated into the venue styling.

Give Gifts

There are many Chinese traditions that fit beautifully into a wedding: Red envelopes are usually given to younger relatives during new year celebrations. They usually enclose money and symbolise luck as well as prosperity for the coming year. You may not wish to fill your envelopes with real money, however, I think younger guests especially would be happy to receive a little red packet brimming with golden, chocolate coins.

Drink Tea

Tea is as much a staple in China as it is in most British homes. Whilst we in the west may glug and slurp through our tankards of tea, those in the east appear to have a little more finesse. Chinese tea ceremonies are still a popular ritual as a way of honouring and showing respect to the bride and groom’s families. A tea ceremony is usually quite an intimate affair, which you could choose to host on the morning of your special day. Most of us will agree a brew is a great way to settle nerves and overcome any pre-wedding jitters. Alternatively, you could arrange for personalised teabags to adorn your guest’s cups and saucers at the wedding breakfast. Who doesn’t appreciate a decent cup of tea?!

Eat Cake

The perfect partner to a cup of tea is a slice of cake. Red velvet cake has always been a popular choice at weddings, but an oriental styled wedding needs it like Romeo needed Juliet.

Utilise the Zodiac

Long ago, the Jade Emperor invited all of the animals to have a race across a river. The first 12 animals worked together to successfully make the crossing and subsequently, had a year of the zodiac named after them. Incorporate this ancient Chinese legend into your theme by naming your tables after each animal. Perhaps, your seating plan could be designed in the style of the zodiac. Or, maybe you would prefer to entertain and amuse your guests by collating some of each zodiac sign’s character traits and using them in a table-top game. (Apparently, being born in the year of the pig makes me honest, loyal and courageous, but also rather stubborn… my husband wouldn’t disagree!)

Find Your Fortune

Your wedding signifies the start of a new chapter in your life. A fresh start, a new beginning, it’s almost possible not to wonder what the future will bring you. What’s certain is whatever mystifying message sends you, fortune cookies add a fun, feel-good factor to your reception. And who doesn’t want that?!

Images courtesy of: Orange Photographie, Atelier Pictures, Mike Colon Photographers, Segerius Bruce Photography, Jackson, Mike Larson Inc, Indie Image, Sam Gibson Photography, Karen Hudson, Edyta Photography, Mary Beth Russell Epagafoto

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