Why Macau is high on the list of wedding destinations
The former Portuguese colony retains a European feel, ideal for atmospheric pre-wedding photos and exotic weddings
Macau – the “Las Vegas of the East” – is thriving as a travel destination, and has become increasingly popular with couples seeking an exotic pre-wedding photoshoot location and a venue for a memorable overseas wedding.
There has certainly been a recent upsurge of interest in the city as a pre-wedding photo site. “As a unique travel destination in the Pearl River Delta with a long-standing Portuguese history, Macau provides a [very special] pre-wedding shooting site,” says veteran photographer Charles Cheung.
The former Portuguese colony, close to mainland China, provides a fast track to a European atmosphere for couples wishing to remain in Asia for their wedding or their pre-wedding photos.
In terms of meeting artistic requirements for photos, Cheung says Macau is perfect, as it is “where East meets West and old meets new, with diversified architectural buildings creating big contrasts”.
According to Jerome Goh, owner and principle photographer, Jerome Goh Photography, doing a photoshoot in Macau is like taking a journey through time and space. “One moment I could be shooting in a 100-year-old Catholic church built by the Portuguese, and the next moment I could be shooting in a Chinese garden.”
The multitude of renowned hotel brands that have established themselves recently in Macau have created even more photoshoot opportunities, Goh says, as couples can now choose to be photographed in front of glitzy buildings and casinos, and can stay over for a five-star holiday.
Many of the hotels also serve as excellent wedding venues. “Just as Macau [is] popular as a holiday destination, it is also [somewhere] that guests can consider as a wedding destination,” says Timothy Tan, director of sales at Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel and The St. Regis Macao, Cotai Central. “Naturally, the beach destinations are always a strong draw, but with Macau now having a lot of other new attractions, we will have guests who are interested in the unique areas that we offer."
While the weddings market is still growing, Tan says, the advantages are already in place for dealing with the increasing demand. Macau offers easy access to a range of conveniently located hotels. “When [guests] arrive in Macau, it doesn’t take them long to get to the hotels,” Tan says, “so couples don’t have to put so much [time] into their logistics planning."
The hotels specialise in providing top wedding services. The St. Regis, for example, has joined forces with Sheraton to provide a “seamless connection” for weddings, with the two hotels sharing access to rooms, venues and resources through fifth-floor interconnection points. Tan suggest that guests can enjoy a grand banquet or reception at Sheraton, then go for a smaller family gathering at St. Regis. “Space-wise we can be a one-stop shop,” he says.
The hospitality industry is going to great efforts to attract more clients. Grand Hyatt Macau provides brides and grooms with a 360-degree preview of possible wedding themes, enabling them to choose their favourite from the many themes and settings available, ranging from Chic Modern Chinese, to Opulence Western-style or Outdoor Marquee.
“We see a high demand for themed events, with guests now having more choices for theme inspirations and venue options,” says Paul Kwok, general manager, Grand Hyatt Macau. He adds that, with the growth of Macau’s and mainland China’s economies, couples with higher spending power are willing to pay more for a unique wedding experience. “There has been an increase in the use of production houses that provide unique decorations, lighting and sound. Also, some clients will invite celebrities or movie stars as MCs to their nuptials or to perform on stage."
Cross-industry collaborations can meet certain special requests for weddings. St. Regis has partnered with luxury fashion brand Marchesa to create an exclusive capsule collection of four one-of-a-kind couture bridal gowns, inspired by four iconic locations: Mumbai, Dubai, Punta Mita and New York.
The two designers from Marchesa were invited by St. Regis to be their global brand ambassadors, along with polo player Ignacio “Nacho” Figueras, fashion designer Jason Wu and others. Tan explains that “we associate with these lifestyle brands so that the consumers know that this is a wedding with style”.
Tan adds that “with more hotels opening in this area, the global international market will get to see that Macau has got a lot of new attractions".