Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Cambodian Wedding Reception at Pailin

My friends Angel and Bryan had their Cambodian wedding reception at Pailin in Lowell.  The restaurant is probably the most popular place to host a banquet in the Cambodian community.  So popular, that we are also attending two additional weddings at Pailin this year.

The restaurant has a nice Cambodian charm that is visible throughout the venue.  Apsara artwork is displayed on the walls.  The detailed crown molding and chair rail is painted in gold resembling temples and structures in the motherland.  The beautiful chandeliers add a touch of elegance to the dining room.

Mera, the matron of honor (also the bride's sister) did a great job with the cake and dessert display.

Mera also did all the flowers for the bridal party and all the centerpieces for the tables.  They came out beautiful.  (She also did the flowers for my wedding last August and everyone loved them)

One of Angel's friends made the cute chocolate elephant favors.

The bridal party waits by the door to greet the incoming guests, almost like a receiving line.

No one really shows up on time for Cambodian wedding receptions. At Angel's and Bryan's wedding, most people did go by the invitation and arrived promptly.

Guests snacked on some fruit kebabs and veggies while they patiently waited for the party to get started.

Some even got their own party started and went to the bar for a fruity drink or even one of the fun fishbowl cocktails.

Let's talk food.  (My favorite topic) 

Traditionally, most Chinese and Southeast Asian wedding banquets features seven to ten course meals, a few couples even go further and get TWELVE dishes.  Each dish has its own different symbolic meaning, whether its prosperity, health, fertility... you get the point.  Google it if you are interested.

Most of the restaurants in Lowell are pretty negotiable.  Prices start around $ 375.00 and can exceed $ 500.00 per a table of 10, depending on your menu offerings.  Unlike "American" reception venues, the price includes the multiple course meals, 10 cans of beer, a bottle of club soda, a bottle of coke, and a bottle of Hennessy VSOP or Remy 1738.  This is INCLUSIVE of all the sales tax, tips and admin fees. What a STEAL! Obviously, cake, champagne, hor d'oeurves (during cocktail hour) is not included.

One of the best perks is that the venue usually throws in a LIVE Cambodian band if you book 30 tables or more.  Some place require 35 tables minimum. 

The deposit is only $500.00- $ 1,000.00 to confirm your date and if you know the owner well enough, you can negotiate a way to pay the balance the day after your wedding.

Here's the issue... Cambodians TEND NOT TO RSVP.  You can send out 300 invitations and not know if you will have 600 people show up or 200 people.  It's a HUGE gamble.  What do you do? The best solution is to ask for 5 backup tables at no additional costs.  If you fill those up, you pay.  If not, then it's no biggie deal and you're not obligated to pay for those tables.

Cambodian Wedding Banquet 9 Course Menu
The dishes are served "Family-style" and to be shared among the table.
Seafood Soup

Cambodian Beef Salad "Plear Sach Ko"

Fried Quail
I've actually never seen the "Sheng Hai" chicken dish served at a wedding before but it was really tasty.
Sheng Hai Chicken

Birds's Nest in taro basket (My FAVORITE)
Fried Flounder with a ginger, scallion & fermented soybean sauce
House Fried rice aka "Yang" Chow Rice
The customary gift for a Cambodian wedding is MONEY! I hate to be straight forward nor can I speak for all brides but that's what MOST newly wed couple wants.  Money to buy a house, start a family or pay off the wedding.

Envelopes are provided on tables where guests stuff them and wait for the bride and groom to come around and collect them.

The newly wed couples are forced to "earn" their envelopes by doing cute things like having the groom lift his bride to grab the cash or eat food off the same end of a chopstick that would result in a kiss.  The groom is usually forced to take multiple shots or pass them along to his groomsman.

After the speeches, the bride and groom cut the cake and continue on with their first dance together, followed by a dance with their parent.

The party gets started! Everyone gets on the dance floor for traditional Cambodian dancing.

Bottoms up people!

The bride tossed her bouquet and one lucky girl will be getting married soon! (At least we can hope!)

The party continued past midnight.  The restaurant had to turn on the lights for us to leave.  It was soo much fun! Thanks for having us!

** There's over 1,000 pics, I wish I could post them all but GOOGLE would hate me. **

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Romantic Bar Harbor Wedding
Cambodian Wedding Processional