Double celebration

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 December, 2011, 12:00am


For couples who want to make their wedding day extra special, one sure-fire way is to tie the knot on a public holiday.

Dozens, if not hundreds of couples, are saying 'I do' on Christmas Day or New Year's Eve.

Two experts, Jane Wong and Conway Lau, share their insights.

'Most people take time off during Christmas so guests can easily attend the wedding. And it's an easy date to remember,' says Wong, CEO at Fiesta Wedding (

As many Hongkongers leave the city during public holidays, Wong suggests sending out a save-the-date card about a year in advance. 'If a couple really plan ahead, it's usually not a problem for guests to attend.'

While food costs and venue rentals can increase 10 to 15 per cent on special days, Wong says couples can save on their decoration budget. 'Many venues and hotels already have nice decorations set up already, like beautiful Christmas trees, so couples can cut costs in some areas.'

Wong recommends monitoring the run-down schedule and staff support closely. 'Many hotels hire part-time staff at this time of year and you need to ask the banquet manager how experienced they are, and how many servers will be working during your event,' she says.

Another detail to scrutinise is the timing of the food service.

'You don't want to disappoint your guests with cold food,' Wong says. 'You should also push the timing, ask how long the breaks will be between each course. And check how far away the kitchen is from the banquet room.'

Director Conway Lau, at Pink Wedding (, agrees that holding a wedding during the holidays can increase the overall cost by 10 to 20 per cent. The biggest increase, Lau says, comes from smaller vendors such as photographers, wedding planners, florists and videographers.

'They could charge up to 50 per cent more or double,' he says. 'They don't want to work on a holiday and it also costs more to get their staff to come to work.'

Hosting a wedding on New Year's Eve can be more stressful than other times of year.

'There is a lot more traffic on the roads on special days. You need to take into account more travel time when going to the bride and groom's home, the church and banquet hall,' he explains.

'Friends and relatives coming from abroad may be paying twice the ticket price [during holidays] and more for their hotel room; their stress all ends up transferring to the bride and groom.'

Another detail to factor in is the casual lunch for the wedding party, before the dinner banquet.

'Normally, restaurants aren't booked months in advance, but on a special holiday, like New Year's Day, it will cost more and be much more difficult to book,' he says.