The Chinese Banquet: The Cheongsam, Getting Pretty and Portraits

{The collar of my dress for the Chinese Banquet. The gold heart is from my in-laws, the jade is from my grandmother. Photo by my sister}

In comparison to wedding #1, getting ready for the Chinese Banquet was low-maintenence. My cheongsam was really the only (tangible) thing I had to worry about the day of the banquet, that and getting hair and makeup done at Salon Paisley, which was a cake walk. I don’t have any photos of getting ready at the salon, but I highly recommend them. It’s a super cute space, and Ashley (the hair stylist) and Emmy (the makeup artist) did a great job. I’m guessing I fit the demographic, because I was also a sucker for the decor, and the music playlist sounded like my Kate Nash Pandora station. Girly artistic types unite!

The makeup actually only cost $25 if I brought my own foundation. I was running out of my MAC foundation anyway, so I picked up a new bottle and Emmy had all the colors ready when I got there. She put gold and purple on my lids, which I thought was really nice with my gold cheongsam.

{Salon Paisley}

While I was sitting in the chair getting pretty, my cousin brought me sushi (hooray!) so I wouldn’t starve, and once I was completely transformed the boy picked me up to go get dressed at our hotel.

{The Citizen Hotel–I was a fan of the yellow striped walls}

It took me five minutes to get ready and put my dress on. I sat around for an hour while the boy got ready, so I took the opportunity to basically check myself out.


My shoes, and nails fresh from a pedicure. These shoes are awesome, I have already worn them several times for special occasions: Jillian Kitten Heels from J.Crew.

{Hi there. Oh, this? Oh yeah it’s just something I had lying around. I’m also hardly wearing any makeup, and this is how my hair normally looks when I get up in the morning!}

The boy had his suit on, my cheongsam and hair were in place, and our parking meter was about to run out. With hands held, we headed toward the car, ready to take on 230 of our relatives, a roast pig, and a karaoke machine. Aiyah.

After our American wedding in San Diego, my dear sister suggested we have life-size cardboard cut-outs of ourselves so that anyone can get a picture with the bride and groom. I kid you not, there are some group portraits where I am right in the middle of the picture with the boy and I don’t know anyone.

They were mostly our parents’ friends, and since this was their party, I had to oblige. But I did manage to get some shots with a few people I actually know. Here are a few of them.


This is my Dad. He likes dorky neck ties, Home Depot, prime rib, and American Idol.


This is my grandmother. She likes sewing, knitting, gardening, and Chinese television dramas.


These are my sisters. The both live in the SF Bay Area. The boy says that I have an entirely different laugh when I’m with them than I do with anyone else. What can I say? They’re my best friends and are the few people who understand my impersonations of our mother.


This is my cousin. I don’t know if I have ever shared the story of how we met, but we actually met at college. In the same dorm! We’re distantly related, but our parents saw each other on move-in day, recognized each other, and we’ve been friends ever since. She is also getting married (hooray!) and you can follow her journey on her blog.


And this is us. I felt it necessary to take a few shots like this to keep it real. The boy is smiling because he smiles a lot. He told me yesterday that one of his co-workers always asks “Why are you so happy?” because he smiles so much.

That concludes my banquet recap! For anyone planning a Chinese banquet in Sacramento, we had ours at Rice Bowl Restaurant and we received a lot of compliments on the food. They also let us bring our own alcohol, so we had a “mini bar” for anyone that wanted to get a little bit tipsy. But I would advise any brides/grooms/anyone to get dressed elsewhere because that changing room is window-less and smells like roast duck.

For more banquet craziness, I recommend watching Ang Lee’s The Wedding Banquet–luckily our experience was less dramatic.

*All photos, except for the one she is in, taken by my sister