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
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
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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.”