Just who has an Asian-themed wedding? The answer: anyone who wants one. If that’s you, maybe you or your fiancé has Oriental roots … or maybe you both just love that sophisticated West Coast take on all things Eastern.But is your wedding Chinese or Japanese, or something else altogether (maybe Zen)? It’s hard to confine Asian-fusion weddings to one mold, since they draw from so many inspirations. But we’ll try to cover some popular interpretations here.
You can walk down that lovely Asian-inspired road before you even tie the knot. Start things out with Springtime engagement photos that take place under cherry blossoms. Consult an elder to determine the most auspicious dates and times to marry according to the Chinese calendar. And for stationery, treat your guests to custom invitations that make use of Japan’s fine (and famous) artisan papers.
Decor with Far-East Flair
Chinese nuptuals are one thing; Japanese, quite another. But Asian fusion weddings tend to borrow the best from both worlds.
So here, you might see these favorite motifs: colorful paper parasols, shoji style paper lanterns, lucky bamboo plants in small, brightly-colored vases, or orchids in gorgeous sprays or loose blooms (pink, green or creamy white).
Then, there’s hanging lanterns that invite your guests to kick up their heels far into the night, and silk fans to keep a cool breeze flowing (or programs printed onto paper fans).
Plus, let’s not forget loose river stones in black or white to serve as paperweights for linen napkins, or accents to scatter around centerpieces.
And when it comes to that mother-of-all eye candy, the cake, you might find an artful celebration of dragonflies, lotus blossoms, cherry blossoms, orchids or even koi fish.
Other beloved accents you’re likely to find:
A thousand paper cranes (traditionally folded by the bride and groom before the wedding, patiently and methodically) are said to bring a marriage good luck. You can hand these out as favors, or thread them onto cord and hang them from a focal point, like the branches of a tabletop tree.
Nothing gets across the feel of a zen wedding like the sound and sight of gently moving water. Try floating orchid blooms in a small battery-operated fountain for focal spots like your cake or guestbook table.
For a simple, striking centerpiece, fill low, square bowls with black and white stones and a single white pillar candle, tossing loose orchids, spider mums or asian lilies below. Place these on bamboo or tatami mats, or large banana or palm leaf fronds for maximum visual appeal.
Then, use flat, black riverstones to mark each guest’s plate: personalize with a metallic marker (extra credit: write guests’ names in Katakana underneath!)
Use oversized ones to line the ceremonial aisle, and fill the space between with rose petals. Then, at the reception, hang parasols upside down from the ceiling and light from above using a low-heat source.
Delightful Delicacies, Fetching Feasts
Need to jazz up cocktail hour? Place bowls of edamame at the bar, and serve up ice-cold Kirins, Sapporos, Wasabe Brew or signature green tea martinis. For non-drinkers, serve bottled lychee or mango sodas. Have the wait staff pass out stylish appetizers served in Asian spoons.
Want to really wow the crowd? A sushi chef will thrill a hefty portion of your guests. Or, bring out a raw bar and treat your guests to heaven on a half shell.
Then, there’s always an Asian station, bound to be jammed as guests (gently) jostle for favorites like dim sum, tempura, freshly made spring rolls or noodle dishes.
Finally, when the main dish is done, treat your guests to a soothing round of mango or green tea to accompany their slice of cake.
The Beautiful Bride
It doesn’t take much to bring a zen-like elegance to your big day. Choose a gown with streamlined design, and set off your hair with a sculptural bloom or two. An extremely chic touch is a wedding gown with an obi-inspired bow at the back.
As for your bridesmaids, kicky tea-length gowns in bright colors with ribbon details at the hem will fit the bill nicely. Give the girls even more romance with bright paper parasols.
Other tantalizing favor ideas to give your guests a little thrill of delight: moon cakes (traditionally eaten in Autumn, but so beautiful they deserve a look any time of year), tea in decorative containers, small sets of incense, polished stones engraved with inspirational messages, individual porcelain tea cups or sake cups, or bamboo-style placecard frames (perfect to hold a guest’s favorite photo when the event’s done!).
As for your younger guests, why not capture their hearts with “gummi shish kabobs” — Asian-style candies you thread onto chopsticks? Try fish gummis in red, yellow or orange, exotic candy fruit slices like madarin, pineapple and pear, adorable animal forms like geckos, frogs, hamsters and cats, and of course, Hello Kitty. One final tip: a candy buffet is never short of a rousing success. Stock yours with individually-wrapped Korean confections (have a wonderful time taste-testing sweets at an Asian grocery store!) for a one-of-a-kind tastebud trip.