All Lit Up: The Wedding Of Karen Li And Sam Lau
When Karen Li and Sam Lau became engaged at the end of 2017 while on holiday in the Seychelles, Karen already had a few ideas in mind as to how their big day might pan out. She admits that some of her proposals were “wild,” but when executed with the help of an expert team, they certainly made for an exceptional, one-of-a-kind wedding party.
The couple celebrated their nuptials in Hong Kong in December 2018, choosing the popular Grand Hyatt Hong Kong as the venue. “We have always loved this hotel because they deliver the absolute best wedding dishes in Hong Kong,” says Karen. “Sam and I are both foodies and we care a lot about the quality of food served, and so the Grand Hyatt was an obvious choice.”
However, aware that many friends had also celebrated there, they wanted to ensure that their wedding stood out. “We wanted our guests to forget they were attending a Grand Hyatt wedding, and thus we put a lot of effort into our decorations,” says Karen.
The bride had a vision of what she wanted and enlisted decorator The Wood to help execute it. “Instead of having a floral entrance, which seems to be the trend over the past few years, our wedding entrance was inspired by TeamLab (the Japan-based digital art collective), but with flowers added between the artistic light bulb arrangement to lend it a romantic vibe,” says Karen of the dramatic entrance through which guests passed, pausing, of course, for photographs.
The teamLab tunnel led the couple’s family and friends into a reception space styled like a French garden, lush with greenery and pastel hued flowers, featuring an LED carousel display of Karen and Sam’s pre-wedding photos encircled by gold arches with floral accents and interspersed with cake pops. There was also an interactive perfume bar where guests could create their own scents before the banquet. “Initially I thought only women would be interested, but it turned out that a lot of men made perfumes to take home for their wives and daughters,” says Karen.
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Moving into the grand ballroom, guests were greeted by a striking floral ceiling installation with mechanical moving clouds, as well as 3D mapping projections on the walls and the stage backdrop. With French styled centrepieces on each table, floral covered pillars either side of the stage, beautifully crafted menus and elegantly packaged wedding favours, no detail had been overlooked, and everything had been created especially for the couple.
the wedding vendors
Even the couple’s experienced event planner, Joan Auyang of White Bridal Salon, was in awe. “The decorations were extraordinary. The end result was a beautiful and eye-opening transformation of the entire venue,” says Joan.
Choosing the right people to execute your vision is essential, but giving them the freedom to do what they do best can elevate it from outstanding to out of this world.
“They are the professionals; don’t doubt their speciality,” says Karen. “I gave a lot of room to all my vendors and trusted their professionalism, and they did not disappoint.”
“We had an amazing group of wedding vendors who are so talented and passionate in what they do and this made the planning process ultra-smooth, not to mention lots of fun,” adds Joan. “Given the trust and freedom the couple gave to each vendor, many of the things done or created for them were a first.”
Joan worked with Karen and the other vendors to ensure that everything went smoothly in the run-up to the wedding and on the night itself. Joan had come highly recommended from friends for her meticulous and detail-oriented approach. Having a planner proved a sage move.
“With Joan on board I did not have to worry about all the nitty-gritty minor things,” says Karen.
One thing she did have to worry about, though, was what to wear. “I learned that what fits well on someone else might not look good on you, so pick something that best fits you. It is you who are wearing the dress; don’t let the dress wear you,” she advises.
Karen settled on a blush Monique Lhuillier dress chosen by her mother for the cocktail reception, and changed into an elegant Oscar de la Renta dress for the walk into the ballroom. Her final outfit of the evening was a custom-made red gown by Vivian Luk. “This was my favourite. It was filled with layers of tulle to create a soft effect but it ended up looking quite wow.”
The evening went without a hitch—and with a number of highlights, including singer Joey Yung inviting Karen to take the stage with her.
“She was one of our invited guests and I honestly wasn’t expecting her to sing that night. It was my honour to have her sing, but it was an even greater pleasure to sing a duet with her,” says Karen.
The groom couldn’t believe that it was unplanned, given how seamlessly Joey and Karen pulled it off. “I sang without any advance notice and without any lyrics and, honestly, I was shaking the entire time,” says Karen. But, like the rest of the evening, “it was such a memorable experience.”