Pearl River Mart President Joanne Kwong with husband and in-laws, Mr. and Mrs. Chen, on her wedding day

Wedding Season Begins! Tying the Knot with Culture and Flair

By Joanne Kwong

Memorial Day has come and gone, which means one thing  it’s the start of wedding season!

My husband and I celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary last year, and though the main traditions of getting married have essentially stayed the same  vows, friends and family, food, music, cake  it’s dizzying and exciting to see all the new trends in wedding-throwing since our big day in 2006. Witty hashtags, fragrant flower walls, elaborate photo booths, and crispy bacon bars (what?!)  I’m just about ready to start planning our vow renewal bash!

One thing that I absolutely love is when couples incorporate their cultural backgrounds into festivities. Both my husband and I are Chinese-American, and my family is Chinese from the Philippines, so it was important to us to honor our families by bringing in some Chinese and Filipino customs, fashion, and food. Below are a few snaps of our special touches. 

Bride and groom walk down in the aisle in church
We were married in a traditional Catholic ceremony in a light-filled, modern parish in Connecticut.


Bride and groom kneel in the church

The Monsignor incorporated Filipino customs into the ceremony, like the lighting of a unity candle by our mothers, and the traditional veil, cord, and coin ceremony.


Bride and groom laughing during the tea ceremony
Mr. Chen drinks tea while Mrs. Chen smiles during the tea ceremony

At the reception, we served our parents tea, as per Chinese custom.


Dishes from the wedding banquet

Gambling is a popular pastime for many Chinese grandmas so our rehearsal dinner was a ten-course Chinese banquet at a nearby casino! Everyone won that night!


Bride dancing with mother at the reception

One of my favorite moments was a "traditional" mother/daughter dance with my cha-cha-loving mom. I know Dad would have been happy to see us together.


Wedding party outside on green grass

    At the end of a long day, it was a relief to finally relax and enjoy the lovely evening with dear friends.

    Now we want to know how you incorporated aspects of your cultural heritage in your own celebrations. Email photos to or tag us on Instagram and Facebook for a chance to be highlighted on our blog and feeds!


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