Crossing the border for a perfect day

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 June, 2010, 12:00am

While many couples like the idea of an exotic overseas wedding, the exorbitant price tag can be a problem. Nowadays, people tend to settle for a low-cost alternative that can be just as special - the mainland.

Mindy Li, marketing communication manager at Four Points by Sheraton Shenzhen, says the increase in Hongkongers holding weddings, newborn celebrations and anniversary parties at the hotel has been noticeable in recent years.

In the first five months of this year, 40 couples from Hong Kong held weddings at Four Points, and most chose the hotel due to location and price, according to Li.

'First, price is the most attractive point. The price of a similar wedding package will be cheaper in Shenzhen. Secondly, the geographical location is unique; Shenzhen is the most convenient area for all friends and family to gather together, no matter if they are from Hong Kong or the mainland,' she says.

Although prices are cheaper, the mainland can still offer quality.

'Shanghai now has plenty of world-class, five-star hotels to host high-standard weddings that meet the needs of couples, but it is still convenient with relatively lower costs,' says Angelina Yue, marketing manager of the JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai at Tomorrow Square.

In Guilin, couples can enjoy beautiful scenery, a nice honeymoon destination and an exotic minority culture, says Ruby Zhu, communication manager at the Shangri-La Hotel, Guilin.

The hotel, situated on the banks of the Li River, has a 1,800 sqft pillarless ballroom, which can accommodate about 1,100 guests, and an outdoor setting for scenic photographs and celebrations. It offers a range of wedding packages.

Sheraton Sanya Resort in Yalong Bay also provides a romantic wedding destination. Located right in front of a beach overlooking the South China Sea, this location is comparable to popular overseas destinations.

Factoring in your personal taste, the resort will help you create your themed wedding celebration, such as a romantic dinner under the stars or even a fireworks show. Its 511 rooms include a number of newly added oceanfront villas and suites.

Couples who prefer a more classic setting can opt for a wedding at the JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai at Tomorrow Square, which overlooks the People's Square and the historical Shanghai Art Museum.

With an outdoor foyer connected to the hotel's ballroom on the fifth floor, guests can mingle outside for cocktails while enjoying the picturesque view. Wedding packages start at 5,888 yuan (HK$6,700) per table of 10, with a minimum of 12 tables.

However, if Hong Kong couples are looking for convenience, the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen is just a five-minute drive from the Hong Kong border and Lo Wu Station.

The Grand Hyatt can help you design anything from a small, intimate gathering to a grand wedding celebration for up to 1,410 guests. Its facilities include the 10,764 sqft Grand Ballroom, with an extremely high ceiling, the Salon du Theatre, which is a pillarless 5,038 sqft ballroom which contains an open kitchen for chefs to showcase their culinary skills, and The Mansion, a split-level 10,764 sqft venue offering natural lighting.

Four Points by Sheraton Shenzhen offers a wedding consultation service for busy couples.

By ordering a minimum of 10 tables (prices start at 2,988 yuan per table for the Chinese set-wedding package and 280 yuan per person for the Western buffet-style package) for your wedding, a one-stop consultation service will be offered by Four Points' professional catering sales team, taking care of your every wish.

Other benefits that come with the package include a display of the couple's wedding album on the LCD screen at the venue, a red carpet isle, a Chinese cuisine set menu prepared by award-winning chefs, with a complimentary food tasting for six people and a complimentary one-night stay in a deluxe studio suite.

Preparing your big day over the border requires a bit more work. Mainland hotels advise Hong Kong couples to book the venue and packages at least three months before the celebration date. Hotels such as the JW Marriott only accept one-day wedding bookings for weekends if sufficient notice is given.

Geji Lam, marketing communications manager at the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen, advises couples to 'think out of the box, instead of picking generic items' when preparing for their big day. They should communicate often with the hotel staff to make sure that they know the couple's exact expectations for the big day.