The dinner banquet is the most important part of a Chinese wedding. I was told that people don’t remember what your ceremony was like 5 years from now but they will definitely remember the food you served. In addition, having a big, fancy banquet also shows off your family’s financial/social status. Thus, it is a taboo to cheap out on the banquet.
Wedding Banquet – Restaurant Criteria
This certainly have some truth to it as when Al and I were planning our wedding, the banquet was probably the part with the most parental involvement. Here are some of their main concerns for the restaurant:
» must have good reputation
» exterior and interior must look good
» excellent service and food for a decent/reasonable price
My main concern regarding the banquet location is that it must have ample of parking space. I’ve heard way too many complaints about how hard it is to find parking or the lack of free parking. I also want a restaurant with a decent sized entrance/lobby area so when the guests arrives they won’t bottle neck at the doorway.
Another thing you might want to consider when looking for a Chinese restaurant is to ask about the location of the “dragon & phoenix” decor. Some restaurants have it hanging out all the time, some would only take it out when it is hosting a wedding. Since the head table are usually in front of the dragon & phoenix decor, knowing its location will help you visualize your banquet sitting plan better. Also ask about the bride’s room to see if they have one. A bride’s room is a room where the bride can keep her belongings and changes to different gowns during the course of the banquet.
Finally, always check their washrooms! Some restaurants might have very nice decor but their washroom is like a dump. I’m sure our guests will appreciate a clean washroom as much as you do.
The Typical Chinese Wedding Banquet Menu
*menu taken from Kirin Restaurant – priced at $590 / table of 10 people* (May 2008)
- Kirin Special Platter with Roasted Suckling Pig (麒麟乳豬大拼盤)
- Deep Fried Crab Claw Wrapped with Minced Prawn (百花競爭)
- Sautéed Baby Sea Cucumber, Scallop and Chicken with Organic Mushroom (珍藏貴妃帶子)
- Shark Fin with Crab Meat and Fish Maw Soup (肚蟹肉金勾翅)
- Live Lobster in Consommé with Light Ginger and Green Onion (上湯焗大龍蝦)
- Sliced Fresh Abalone Braised with Chinese Mushroom and Selected Vegetable (鮮鮑甫花菇扒翡翠)
- Crispy Skin Chicken (當紅脆皮一品雞)
- Steamed Live Rock Cod (清蒸深海游水斑)
- Kirin Special Fried Rice (麒麟炒飯)
- Stewed E-Fu Noodle in Abalone Sauce (鮑汁乾燒伊麵)
- Two Kinds of Dim Sum Dessert (鴛鴦美點)
- Red Bean Sweetened Soup (百年好合)
How much does a Chinese wedding banquet cost?
Cost for a wedding banquet held at a Chinese restaurant is calculated differently that at other restaurants, golf courses or catering service. Although many restaurants offers set menus for weddings, the menus for Chinese restaurants are based per tables of 10 guests, while other restaurants and catering menus are based on price per person. I’d say on average the price per table for a decent Chinese wedding banquet is about $500-600.
The pricing varies a lot depending on the class of the restaurant and the dishes. I have seen prices range from $400 to $1,000 per table. For example, luxury food such as the grade of the shark fin, lobsters, sea cucumbers, abalones, fish maws, squabs, and whole roasted pig will increase the cost of the banquet. Keep in mind that the cost for the set menu is only for the food and does not include beverages, alcohol, equipment rentals, additional decorations, gratuity and taxes.