It was a wedding ‘made in heaven’, to borrow a much used but apt cliche, when Dr Rachelle Chai walked down the aisle to join in holy matrimony with Mr Chong Kai-Juen at an outdoor garden party ceremony recently. The weather was perfect, cool and breezy; balloons danced in the air as music played in the background.
The courtyard of The Weil Hotel, Ipoh, was transformed into a wedding wonderland – complete with a bridal arch, ornamental overhangs on trees, fairy lights and outdoor live band – totally captivating the imaginations of the 100 or so selected guests who felt as if they were “in someone’s private garden on a perfect Summer’s day,” to quote one guest.
“We are proud and honoured that Chong Kai-Juen and his bride have chosen to have their ceremony here in this courtyard,” says Mr Hendry Tan, Sales and Marketing Director of The Weil.
“This is the first time any couple has ever held their wedding in the hotel courtyard, and we are pleased that the venue has turned out to be such a stunning one,” he says, crediting the wedding decorator, Pat of Seven Days Flower.
There were tears of laughter and joy as the bridal couple made their vows in front of Rev Miles Toulmin, pastor of Holy Trinity Bukit Bintang, in a touching and meaningful ceremony.
Guests enjoyed the sunset over the courtyard before they entered the hotel, where they mingled and socialised over a selection of canapes, kuih and cocktails. It was time for a Shanghai Night party!
The bridegroom is the eldest son of Mr and Mrs Chong Him Shoong and grandson of the late Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Chong Kok Lim, one of Perak’s biggest tin mining legends, and stalwart icon, who was very much a contributing factor to “the city that tin built”.
Shanghai Night party!
Chinese lanterns strung overhead all the way down a walking ‘street’, leading from the foyer to the grand ballroom of the hotel, greeted guests who arrived at the spectacular Shanghai Night-themed wedding. There were beautiful ladies in cheongsams of every colour, description and era, and men too in their gorgeous equivalent outfits. It captured every imagination and set the tone for what was to be an unforgettable evening. The lovely bride, Dr Rachelle Chai, a talented orthodontic surgeon, was resplendent in white.
There was no lack of detailing in the creation of a show-stopping, dramatic Shanghai Night. From the table seating with individual name place cards to the customised menus, from the lavish peonies to the fresh flowers that hung alongside rich luscious drapes, from the choice of music played by a selected live band to even the bar… every finishing touch was carefully crafted and planned, down to the last detail so that one arrived and was immediately transported back to a bygone era of Shanghai opulence and decadence.
Naturally, the guest list was an impressive who’s who of Ipoh, including Dato’ Nolee bte Mohd Radzi and her family, who are close family friends of the Chongs, Tan Sri Lee Oi Hian, Dato’ Lee Hau Hian, Dato’ Lee Soon Hian, Dato’ Lim Si Boon, Dato’ Lee Seng Hee, Dato’ SY Liew, Dato’ Chevy Beh, and their spouses. Prominent local movers and shakers of industry from all corners, including Tan Sri Ng Yen Yen, Tan Sri James Foong, former Ipoh High Court Judge, Tan Sri Ghani Othman, Chairman of Sime Darby, Tan Sri Lin See Yan, retired Governor of Bank Negara, Dr Elizabeth Cheah, Director of Education Sunway, Mr Tim Newenham, Director of Olympics Council Malaysia, Dato’ Ruby Khong, Honorary Adviser and Director of MaGic Malaysia – and the list goes on – all arrived in their Shanghai Night best.
The photobooth, whose dramatic backdrop was a rich tapestry of peonies formed around the couple’s names, was kept busy all night, as was the award-winning calligrapher specially invited to help write out guests names and well wishes. Guests were treated to delightful canapes, a variety of local delicacies and kuih as well as dreamy cupcakes and icing cookies to go with their premium whiskies, at the pre-dinner cocktail session. The bridal couple’s entrance was no less dramatic, preluded by a dancing duo who cha-cha’ed their way from the stage to the ballroom entrance, whereupon the couple then walked into an inspiring violin virtuoso by the live band from KL.
Yuk Sou Hin’s customised Shanghai Night menu consisted of a special four seasons starter, wild patin fish and its signature smoked duck in lychee wood, amongst other tantalising dishes.
In his speech, the groom’s father Mr Chong Him Shoong gave special thanks to Dato’ Nolee for coming with her family, including her father Dato’ Radzi Manan, saying, “The special friendship our family shares with yours is something that we truly cherish and appreciate.
“We are also totally bowled over and charmed by how our guests have so gamely taken heed of the dress code by coming all dressed up in the Shanghai Night theme,” he added, in thanking guests for coming.
The bridegroom, Chong Kai-Juen, on his part honoured his late grandfather, Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Chong Kok Lim, for his contributions to Perak’s tin mining industry and commercial enterprise in the 70s and 80s, saying: “We are reminded of his presence wherever we go. I know he is looking down at us from heaven right now and I dedicate tonight in honour of his memory.”
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