Unique Wedding Banquets--are there any?

How come every wedding banquet in Taiwan offers the same type of dishes–(one always consisting of sea slug), the same kind of drinks (fake oj, warm Taiwan beer, fake quava juice, some kind of liquor), the bride always has to look like a cream puff, people sit around tables often with strangers making small talk waiting for the bride and groom to pass by and toast them, etc…)

I don’t think I’ve ever been to any different set up no matter who marries, even the cross cultural affairs. Don’t you think these bridal companies would make more money if they offered something slightly unique rather than the same old same old…? Oh, I get it…tradition overrules!?

My wife and I settled for a fairly elaborate COCKTAIL PARTY in the mid-afternoon, held in one of Taipei’s large hotels. That was early January of 1989, but we haven’t seen that this idea has really “caught on” in the intervening years.

We just didn’t really think it was necessary to have a full sit-down dinner, and wanted something more simple. However, even here today in the 21st century, a lot of families still feel that you must have a full sit-down dinner. I guess that is tradition.

Hey, we did ours at Kiss Pizza. The Chinese guests were a bit confused, but apart from what seemed to us to be a slightly inflated bar bill, we thought the guests in general would enjoy themselves more, since we had a pretty large Western contingent invited too. Still made everybody sign in with calligraphy, etc. etc., all the traditional stuff, except that I didn’t change clothes.

I suppose it was unique. I don’t know if I’d recommend it especially, but it was unusual. There did seem to be some confusion about the “red envelopes” as has been discussed on another earlier thread, which resulted in our just barely breaking even instead of making out like bandits.

I do admit to resembling a cream puff, however.


If you guys have any ideas on how you’d do it again, or in the first place for that matter, please let me know. I’ve still got almost three months until my Taiwan banquet, but can already see it’s going to be a pretty poor dress rehersal compared to my Aussie wedding a week later. Ideas? Would love some. Cheers Amos.

The reason why the dishes are the same (BTW, I believe it’s sea cucumber) is because there are only so many delicacies in the world and when you’re paying NT1,000+ a head, they basically pull out all the seafood they have (lobster, oyster, sea cucumber, crab, etc) so it all looks the same at every banquet. Also, it happens that seafood is one of the easiest items to cook in bulk. Imagine if the chef had to cook 300 steaks!

I’ve been to a wedding banquet where there was as buffet line.(Don’t try this for more than 50 guests) The older Taiwanese (bride and groom’s grandparents) were definitely confused but the rest of guests(all who had lived abroad extensively) just took it in stride.

I’d say that this is a tradition to show how wealthy and how many connections the family has. People are always talking about how many “tables” and how much the banquet cost.

So, we were debating at our friend’s banquet Saturday, whether sea slug/cucumber is an animal or a vegetable??? Any thoughts?

And why do they keep serving that at every doggone banquet when it seems noone even eats it? I mean, even the Chinese don’t seem too overwhelmed by this ‘delicacy’!

What is it supposed to symbolise anyway??

Sea cucumber, or beche de mer, is an animal. Eating it is supposed to clean the toxins from the body.

But without a mouth, legs, or eyes, how can we call it an animal? I mean, really…
And how can it clean toxins if it looks like a big black slimy turd itself?

Well… it has a mouth, an arsehole and a stomach. That’s all it has, as far as I know.

And they don’t look like slimy turds when they’re sitting on the seabed – they just look like normal turds.

Are weddings the same deal up there as they are down here in the south? We have:
-Big tents with beacons cordoning off the street
-Flimsy rent-a-tables made of rusty metal and wood
-Pink plastic tableware, tablecloths and chairs as well as all of the strange dishes mentioned by Alien. Is the pink for good luck or is it just the cheapest dye colour?
-Everyone leaves just after the meal is finished or sits and drinks Taiwan beer until the wee hours (no middle ground, here)
-Large pictures of the bride in various poses are on display, with one bride/groom photo and the album
-Everyone stays reasonably sober, at least compared to weddings at home (except for the wee hours folks, who get a little tipsy around two or three…)

Just curious about the customs in the north and whether they’re as traditional as down here. Comments???

I’ve been to a few weddings and each was a little different, but wait till you go to a country-style wedding. that puts a whole new twist on things . . . . i.e. dancing girls that strip, and yes only in the country side because they would be arrested in the city.

I attended my friends (Irish + Malaysian Chinese) wedding in Kuala Lumpur early this year.
It was a Christian wedding with a nearly full day program in a high class hotel - but a bit different than what I have experienced before: wedding ceremony at the pool side (followed by a photo session), tea ceremony (followed by coffee/tea and cake) inside, short break and then the dinner banquets.
However there were some short acts performed e.g. by an Irish dancing group & a lion dance and a (short ) speech by the Irish ambassador to Malaysia, thus creating a bit more interest in the whole affair.
The food was good, too.

Anyhow, I thought it was a nice change from the usual stiff and rather boring dinner banquets - but if it’s tradition - who are we to change it?

Originally posted by Rascal: However there were some short acts performed e.g. by an Irish dancing group & a lion dance

Was it River Dance? With Lion dancing? This was a wedding? Must’ve been some important people flaunting their wealth and high “taste”. While that type of line up is fine for a culture exchange, its a bit tacky for a wedding.

Shouldn’t the wedding be more about the couple and less about providing a extravagant show. The biographical slide shows (childhood, family, couple photos) that some wedding put on are generally endearing. Better than those studio production shots that airbush all the faces out except for eyes.

Was it River Dance? With Lion dancing?

Yes, but seperate of course, i.e. not at the same time.

This was a wedding? Must’ve been some important people flaunting their wealth and high “taste”.

Not at all. Surely it wasn’t cheap but my friends aren’t that important nor really wealthy, “just” an expat (actually localized now) married to a nice local girl.
He is active in the Irish community over there though, hence the appearance of the ambassador and the dance group (just 4 teenagers).

They just wanted something different; and I think most guests thought it was different but did actually appreciated it.

Oh, we did a slide show, too, but no studio pics - instead we showed the one taken during the course of the day (registration and ceremony etc.).

Grasshopper: Reddish shades are considered auspicious.

The last wedding banquet I attended was in Singapore by the beach. The marriage was first solemnized by the pastor so there were speeches from the pastor, hymns led by church friends, before guests made their way to the buffet. There were no costume changes, and the bride/groom entertained later with song and dance.