Today is the first day of the Chinese New Year. I was awakened at 8:00 AM by exploding firecrackers. I live nearby several Chinese restaurants and it’s a New Year’s tradition to set off extremelyloud firecrackers to scare off any evil spirits. With such colorful cultures, it’s no wonder Asian themes and motifs are among the most popular for weddings. I went to a wedding reception that took place inside the beautiful Garden Court of the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. The couple planned a wonderful reception with classical music, a chocolate fountain, filet for dinner..and a surprise lion dance performance! It was incredible to see the colorful costumes, amazing acrobatics and to hear the bass drum inside one of San Francisco’s finest hotels. And anyone can utilize the ideas behind a Chinese wedding, even if you don’t plan to have a Chinese banquet. Happiness, good fortune, longevity and prosperity are some of the most important themes in Chinese weddings and the ideograms or characters for these words have become popular motifs for weddings. Couples have them printed on invitations, wedding favors, and hung on walls. Love (Ai), fortune (Fu), and the double happiness (Xi) are the most common. I personally love to attend Chinese banquets. Chinese wedding banquets are festive celebrations.more like a party than a reception. There is a lot of color, activity and noise. It is not unusual to have elaborate shows, like the lion dance performed to drums between courses. It’s also not unusual to have several drunk guests and family members at the end of the evening because they are busy toasting one another throughout the banquet. There’s absolutely no stuffiness, and you can pretty much toss etiquette out the window. They are about having fun, and really celebrating the couple’s new beginning with a bang. In fact, the more boisterous the party, the more the wedding is viewed as a success.