It was no ordinary wedding.
When Joseph Fung and Michelle Tam celebrated their marriage on Saturday in Vancouver at a black-tie ceremony capped by a fireworks extravaganza that lit up Coal Harbour, the 1,200 guests in attendance were witness to the city's social event of the summer – and quite possibly the decade.
"This is not just a wedding," said Thomas Fung, father of the groom, while twirling around the dance floor. "This is to introduce my business associates to my son, to show them that he's capable of helping me run the business."
Mr. Fung Sr. is founder of the Fairchild Group, a media, real estate and franchise empire worth more than $400-million. Born in Hong Kong, he is the eldest son of the late Fung King Hey, the legendary self-made billionaire who co-founded Sung Hung Kai Finance, the largest security brokerage firm in Asia.
Joseph Fung, who speaks seven languages, joined the family business several years ago, after working as a senior analyst for Morgan Stanley and PCCW, a communications technology company. Michelle Tam, a former fashion model, is working towards a law degree. They live in Hong Kong.
After a relatively intimate ceremony for 150 people at the newlyweds' local home, the wedding party arrived at the Vancouver Convention Centre, greeted by harpists and a lavish reception prepared by the Fairchild-sponsored Culinary Team Canada. Ballroom tables were set with soaring centerpieces bursting with orchids and boxes of macarons (both father and son are avid bakers).
Distinguished guests included Vancouver and Richmond mayors Gregor Roberston and Malcolm Brodie and Chinese Consul General Liu Fei. Guests from Hong Kong included Member of the Legislative Council Phillip Wong, chairman of the Trade Development Council Jack So and the former Minister of Finance Frederick Ma, who is rumoured to be running for Governor.
In a speech as startling for its candour as the wedding was spectacular, the father of the groom said he has always worried about his only child being born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
"I tried very hard not to raise a parasite content to live on the family fortune… Up to now, he never flew business class, never drove a fancy car, never stayed in five-star hotels or ate in Michelin-starred restaurants – unless I was hosting the dinner. Still he has found life meaningful and fulfilling. Well, at least that's what he tells me."