The Lunar New Year is celebrated by more than 20% of the world. Maybe it can inspire some wedding planning ideas for you and your couples.
In the western world, it can be pretty easy to come up with a long list of holidays that most people look forward to all year. Whether it’s Christmas or Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, or the Fourth of July, it seems there are plenty of occasions for celebration. Growing up in a small, northern Canadian mining community, I’d never heard of Lunar New Year until I moved to a city with a relatively high population of people of Asian descent. I became very close friends with a young woman and her husband who had immigrated to Canada from Macau and Taiwan, respectively, and they shared so many beautiful parts of their culture with me.
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The Lunar New Year Marks The End Of Winter
One of the most interesting things my friends told me about was Lunar New Year. Celebrated by more than 20% of the world, the Spring Festival marks the end of winter’s coldest days. It looks ahead to spring with lavish celebrations and time-honored traditions. It’s a celebration of the coming spring and the new beginnings and bountiful harvests it represents. Traditionally, people pray to the gods and their ancestors on this special day. Fireworks light up the sky both at midnight and at dawn to welcome the new year and good fortune. The celebration lasts for a total of 15 days, the fifth day often being a national holiday that people spend with their families and closest friends. Every year during Chunyun, people from all over Asia make their way from bustling cities back home to the villages where many of their parents live, in what many call the largest human migration in modern times.
Anyone who grew up in an Asian home where the Lunar New Year was celebrated will fondly remember the delicious cooking smells that would have filled the air – dumplings, rice cakes, sponge cakes. Children are given red envelopes that contain lucky money from the elders in their family, and brightly colored decorations adorn nearly every surface, from red lanterns, strings of chili peppers, red paper cutouts, and more. Then everything wraps up with a beautiful lantern festival.
The idea of hosting a wedding amidst Lunar New Year’s busyness might seem like too much stress. Still, for couples that want to add even more excitement – and lots of luck – to an already fabulous time of year, I have five tips that wedding planners can use to make their clients’ new year wedding dreams a reality.
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1. Take advantage of the fact that many florists are importing gorgeous, rare flowers at this time.
Flowers are a big part of decorating for the Lunar New Year. A bride may want vibrant orchids that represent fertility and luxury, peach blossoms that symbolize romance and prosperity, or peonies that stand for an auspicious start to the new year. You can work with a florist to make this happen by letting them know ahead of time what blooms to set aside for your bride.
2. You can save your clients money on decorating because many venues will already be decked out for Lunar New Year.
Venues, hotels, banquet rooms, or restaurants that cater to Asian clientele, will most likely already be looking picture-perfect thanks to the time-honored tradition of decorating during this time of year. Your bride will still want to add a few of her own special touches, but rest assured that if you plan a wedding during this time of year, much of the decorating work will be done for you!
3. Ending the evening at a lantern festival is the perfect romantic send-off for the bride and groom.
If you time your event timeline right, you can plan to have your guests send-off your couple with the romantic aura of a lantern festival. After all, in ancient times, the lantern festival was the one time unmarried women were allowed to walk around at night by themselves. Many people today call it “Chinese Valentine’s Day.” What could be more romantic than incorporating that into your couple’s big day? Perhaps guests can attach pieces of paper with well-wishes for the bride and groom to the lanterns before releasing them into the star-filled sky.
4. Make a statement with beautiful fireworks!
Another option to put the finishing touches on a perfect day is to have your guests walk outside to a fantastic fireworks display. It’s extra good luck for the bride and groom, as fireworks are thought to scare off evil spirits. It’ll be a perfect ending to a memorable night that the guests will be talking about for years to come.
5. Enjoy being made to feel like one of the family and make new connections.
If you’re planning a Lunar New Year wedding, chances are it’s going to be a huge affair with all of the bride and groom’s family in attendance. Don’t be surprised when the praise for your great job starts flowing along with the baijiu, the white wine commonly drunk during Lunar New Year by Chinese families. Helping your couple plan a perfect Lunar New Year wedding shows their families just how much you honor and respect their traditions. You’ll probably walk away with more than a few glowing references and good connections.
I hope this article helps any wedding planners who have been asked to plan a Lunar New Year wedding to not be intimidated by it but rather excited and looking forward to entering into one of the most popular occasions for celebration worldwide. One of the best things about living in such an interconnected generation is that we can experience cultures and traditions that we otherwise might never have gotten the chance to. There are so many beautiful things about Asian culture to celebrate, and the Lunar New Year is definitely a good place to start! May planning a wedding during this auspicious time bring your business nothing but good luck and prosperity!