Chinese wedding traditions are a bit different than any other culture. There are not only symbolic ceremonies but also specific colors and gifts that are important on the big day. This blog is just a quick overview of some of the traditions that we see most!
The color red is the biggest symbol of a Chinese wedding. The bride usually wears a red dress called “qipao”. This bride’s ceremony dress was so stunning and detailed. She had a Chinese traditional ceremony before her more modern destination wedding on the beach. She wore her traditional ceremony dress in the color red because it symbolizes luck, happiness, and prosperity. It is common for modern brides to change their dress multiple times on the big day, some even have 4 gowns or more!
As a guest, you should not wear anything red. This would take away from the bride. Any other bright color such as orange or purple is a great way to show respect to the couple’s culture!
Candles and lightening are important in Chinese weddings. Dragon and phoenix candles are a sign of good luck for the couple. The candles are usually red and sometimes they are smokeless! They are said to bring magic and spirit to the ceremony. Burning incense is also a tradition while getting engaged in China and as a guest, offering incense to the couple is something that will light their day up!
Chinese weddings often include a tea ceremony where the couple serves the parents tea and the families are formally introduced to each other. This tradition shows respect to the parents and shows that the parents are accepting of the marriage. Tsao Chun is a famous Chinese tea that is shared during weddings and symbolizes unity between both families. There is a traditional order for the tea ceremony. The father of the bride hands his daughter to the groom then the bride and groom kneel on tea pillows facing the parents.
After the tea ceremony, the couple often receives a red envelope from each guest and family member. This is called a “hong bao”. These can be full of jewelry or money, as a sign of support from your family to their family.
Jewelry is also important in Chinese culture. Anything gold is a great gift because this color is a sign of fortune and wealth. The couple often wears gold jewelry to accentuate her outfit and bring good luck to their future. As a guest, wearing gold will show respect to the couple and bring good fortune to their wedding.
Worried about attending a Chinese wedding? Don’t be shy – feel free to ask the couple if you are not sure about how to dress or what to bring. They will be more than happy to help you and they will feel honored that you did your research! You can always ask us too – we would love to share any tips we learn along the way.
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Photos by Anna + Mateo