Dan, Lisa, Caesar
Can I write this without seeming like a HK paparazzi? I hope so, because this is just like I'd write about any other wedding or trip… It just happened to include two of my better-known friends (Daniel Wu and Lisa Selesner) and take place in a world-class hotel/casino. Above, Dehara's renditions of the newlyweds in front of the resort, out of bubble wrap and about to be gifted.
The event took place in a secluded part of Caesar's that just happened to have full-on sound system for a Las Vegas-style show. Above, Caesar's showman Matt Goss does his thing for new groom. This photo does a good job of conveying the room's decor and feeling, including the massive photo installations. As you might imagine, the montages that showed on the video screens were very cool–equal parts clips and campaigns, awkward pictures of the couple as children, and amazing imagery from their wedding ceremony in South Africa. The photo doesn't show the showgirl dancers, who taught the kids a new dance move or two…
After the band played, there was some impromptu Hava Nagila action, which went with the undercurrent of mixed Chinese/Jewish traditions. For example, an early dish mixed hand-pulled noodles with matzoh ball soup. Later on, there was noodles kugel (explained to us by table sharer Automator) and then there was Peking Duck. Everything was excellent… But back to the traditions, Hava Nagila served as a counterpoint to the Chinese wedding games, one of which entailed a line of women kisssing the blind-folded groom, who had to figure out which one was his wife. Dan failed. Later on, Lisa had to figure out her husband's butt by Braille. I was one of the lucky guys to get felt up by her. So was Andrew Lin (center of line). Of course, Lisa prevailed.
As always Dan was a good sport about it, only disappointed that he couldn't squeeze out a fart when it was his turn.
The cake was an amazing reproduction of Lisa's poo-poo hut, which served as the headquarters for their recent marriage. The cake was gigantic. Not sure if it was to scale with the Dehara figures or if they are going to put it in their refrigerator to break out during their first anniversary.
Of course, Lisa looked great and was as funny as ever. It was cool to see her in one of her hometowns with her family, since I've been with Dan in the Bay Area a bunch and met many of his relatives as well. In fact, the entire event was put together by Lisa's mom and her dad's crew.
Did I mention the crazy ice sculpture? The Hong Kong skyline served as the facade of a bar as well as a functional vessel for vodka or other drinks meant to be served extra cold…
Another cool piece of the wedding was a cardboard cutout of the couple in their wedding gear. Since the celebration in South Africa had a very limited guest list, Saturday night's guests were asked to take photos with the prop and then were surprised with a framed copy on the way out. After Wendy and I took our photo, we took a second one with Dan's sister Greta, brother-in-law Andrew, and daughter Cedar. Then we walked away with an extra framed photo! Below, Dan and Lisa got their turn at the end of the evening as Dan Nakamura looked on.
Afterward, friends were invited to the villa where Dan and Lisa were staying. We were led through a Get Smart-style labyrinth of hallways and checkpoints before arriving at the mansion-like suite that comes with a butler. Way too many details to get into, but they include a wet bar, pool table, grand piano, restaurant-sized aquarium, dining table for 12, balcony with hot tub, and who knows what else. Lisa described it as laughable, and there was as a lot of laughter.
From there a lot of guests went clubbing, but we were beat and wanted to get up early to take Eloise for a quick swim before the follow-up brunch. The meal included an omelet bar, a crepe bar, a ton of fresh fruit, and even dim sum, and was a really casual way to wrap up the weeekend and get to talk to a lot of friends in a mellow, cool, environment that just happened to have excellent food.
More sincere congratulations and thanks to the couple for inviting us to be part of their awesome weekend, and bonus thanks to my brother Greg (below, left) for driving out with us and watching Eloise on Saturday night! You'll have to read her blog for those details, though…