Sim­ply Per­fect

Fan­fare and flow­ers played sec­ond fid­dle to fam­ily and friends at Ja­son Lee and Anita Wong’s joy­ous wed­ding, held at the new Rose­wood Hong Kong

Hong Kong Tatler Weddings - - CONTENTS - BY MADELEINE ROSS

Fan­fare and flow­ers played sec­ond fid­dle in Anita Wong and Ja­son Lee’s joy­ous wed­ding, held at the new Rose­wood Hong Kong

Ja­son Lee’s pro­posal to Anita Wong couldn't have been fur­ther from the cliched, fairy tale en­gage­ment. “I pro­posed while she was driv­ing,” laughs Ja­son, who works as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor at his fam­ily’s leather goods cor­po­ra­tion, Dah Hwa In­ter­na­tional. “There was no fancy din­ner, no big ro­man­tic ges­tures; it was just very sim­ple.”

That set the tone for their nup­tials. From the mo­ment the prag­matic pair be­gan plan­ning their wed­ding, they knew they wanted to keep things sim­ple. They de­cided against ex­trav­a­gant dec­o­ra­tion, photo shoots and nov­elty en­ter­tain­ment in favour of a “ca­sual and homey” cel­e­bra­tion where their near­est and dear­est—more than 700 of them, mind you—took cen­tre stage.

“We just wanted it to be a happy gath­er­ing for all our friends and fam­ily,” says the groom. Anita, who is project di­rec­tor at her fam­ily’s IT com­pany, Hong Kong Cre­ative & Tech­nol­ogy, adds: “We wanted to make sure ev­ery­one had a good time, and we also wanted to en­sure we had time to greet and min­gle with ev­ery one of our guests. That was the most im­por­tant part of the day for us.”

The big day be­gan with door games and tra­di­tional tea cer­e­monies, at which Anita donned an or­nate kua passed down by her older sis­ter. For the Catholic cer­e­mony at the Rosary Church in Tsim Sha Tsui, the bride switched to her pièce de ré­sis­tance—a whim­si­cal Vera Wang gown with sweet­heart neck­line and fairy tale train. “It was love at first sight,” she says of her dress. “I flew to Tai­wan to get it, as the Vera Wang bou­tique

TOP TIP: “When it comes to wed­ding plan­ning, don’t just say yes to ev­ery­thing. You need to con­trib­ute your own in­put and thoughts ev­ery step of the way— but, at the end, al­ways lis­ten to what the bride wants” Anita & Ja­son

in Hong Kong had closed down. As soon as I tried it on, I was like, ‘Oh, that’s my gown’.” A bou­quet of peony roses lent the fin­ish­ing touch.

For her nine brides­maids, Anita chose ethe­real chif­fon dresses in a pas­tel mint green, which echoed the cou­ple’s wed­ding in­vi­ta­tion. “We re­ally like green, so we made it our wed­ding theme colour. Green is not a colour of­ten used in Chi­nese wed­dings, so it was quite un­usual,” says Ja­son.

Wed­ding plan­ning is al­ways chal­leng­ing, but in craft­ing their big day the Lees faced a rather ex­tra­or­di­nary ob­sta­cle: their venue didn’t ac­tu­ally ex­ist yet, with the grand ball­room at the new Rose­wood Hong Kong still un­der con­struc­tion.

“When we walked in and tried to vi­su­alise the event, it was quite dif­fi­cult be­cause noth­ing was there yet. Our wed­ding plan­ners and de­sign­ers were bas­ing ev­ery­thing on com­puter ren­der­ings of the room. Ob­vi­ously no one had had a ban­quet there be­fore, so ev­ery­thing was kind of guess­work,” says Anita.

Luck­ily all went well on the night. The cou­ple opted not to have a first dance (“Ja­son’s not re­ally a ro­man­tic per­son!” says Anita) and in­stead let their guests en­joy the “easy lis­ten­ing” song list their band, In­nona­tion, had put to­gether. Anita changed into a fig­ure-flat­ter­ing mid­night-blue gown with sil­ver se­quin em­bel­lish­ment, which she had cus­tom-made at a Hong Kong tailor. “The main rea­son I picked this dress is that it shines even with­out a spot­light. I liked that when I was min­gling with friends, I could still be eas­ily spot­ted.”

Guests en­joyed a sump­tu­ous 12-course ban­quet, which in­cluded braised abalone, suck­ling pig and a baked, stuffed crab

shell. “The menu at the ho­tel was fan­tas­tic,” says Ja­son, who notes the crab dish was the cou­ple’s favourite.

However, the high­light of the evening for the groom was the speech made by his brother and best man, the co-founder of CrossFit 852 Jamie Lee. “It was a won­der­ful speech; I got quite emo­tional. I’ve al­ways had a very close re­la­tion­ship with Jamie but I guess a lot of peo­ple didn't know that we were close; we don't re­ally do things to­gether and our per­son­al­i­ties are quite dif­fer­ent, but af­ter he made that speech ev­ery­one just went, ‘Oh my God.’ It was very de­tailed; he talked about things from our child­hood all the way to our wed­ding day.”

The bride was sim­i­larly moved by the speeches, in par­tic­u­lar by her fa­ther-in-law John Lee. “It was very short but very mean­ing­ful. He said that now we are mar­ried, we have to think as a ‘we.’ Both of us are very spoilt in a way—we’ve been brought up with a lot of at­ten­tion and care, but it’s not about us as in­di­vid­u­als any more. In­stead of ‘I think’ and ‘he thinks,’ we have to think as a fam­ily.”

The cou­ple loved the fact that their union was ul­ti­mately a re­union for the peo­ple they hold dear. “All the guests that came were very close friends,” says Ja­son. “We had many guests from Aus­tralia, the US, the UK, Canada and Tai­wan, and a lot of us hadn’t seen each other in a very long time, so it was a very spe­cial gath­er­ing for every­body.”

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