Today's Bride

Chinese Wedding Customs

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All weddings have many traditions and customs incorporated, like the veil, rings, and bouquet toss. But if you want to celebrate your family’s heritage on this special day, there are even more aspects to consider! Keep reading for a better understanding of Chinese Wedding Customs.

Pre-Ceremony Customs

Farewell to Single-dom

Sleepover | As seen on TodaysBride.com

While traditional Chinese weddings don’t include the Western custom of bridesmaids, the bride’s friends are still very involved. The night before the wedding, the bride and her closest friends essentially have a sleepover. Traditionally, they would retreat to the attic. In more modern times, they can go to the bride’s apartment or house, or simply a separate room of the house. This separation symbolizes the bride’s coming separation from her family. The friends then mourn the loss of their friend’s single status.

Here Comes the Groom

The next morning, the groom makes a grand procession to the bride’s house. The procession starts with a literal bang – think a loud gong, drum, or firecracker. Traditionally this procession is made alongside the groom’s friends and family and is a grand affair. They wear elaborate clothing, carry banners, and play music loudly in order to ward off evil spirits. In a more modern Chinese wedding, the groom arrives with just his groomsmen in tow.

Chuangmen

The bride’s friends block the doorway, only permitting the groom to enter once they’ve deemed it fit. The groom has to present a sufficient number of hong bao – red envelopes filled with money – to the bridesmaids in order to pass. Nowadays, bridesmaids may be more likely to challenge the groom and groomsmen to chuangmen tasks rather than accept hong bao. Bridesmaids have fun making the groom and groomsmen work for it, so get creative! Ask them to rub their stomach, pat their head, and recite poetry at the same time. Do 100 push-ups. Perform a song and dance worthy of the Grammy’s. Once the bridesmaids are impressed and approve of the match, they allow the groom entrance.

Tea Ceremony

Tea Ceremony | too much awesomeness | As seen on TodaysBride.com
too much awesomeness

During the Chinese Tea Ceremony, the couple presents Tsao Chun tea to the groom’s family in a show of respect. While it’s traditionally only presented to the groom’s side, modern Chinese couples include the bride’s family, as well. It is customary to start with the eldest members and work your way down to the youngest. Once everyone has drank the tea, the couple receives lai see, a red envelope filled with money, jewelry, or other gifts.

See more photos from Caitlin & King’s Real Wedding here!

Reception

While the Tea Ceremony is typically only attended by the couple’s families, the reception includes friends and extended family! A Chinese bride gets the luxury of multiple wedding dresses. The qipao is the traditional red dress worn to the tea ceremony or reception. Red is popular among Chinese brides as it symbolizes happiness, prosperity, and good luck. Though white is seen as a color of mourning in China, Chinese-American brides often wear a white bridal gown of Western culture, as well. They then change at least one other time throughout the reception, usually between courses of dinner. The meal usually includes a whole fish to represent abundance and can be followed by a sweet lotus seed dessert for fertility.

After the Wedding

The morning after the wedding, the bride cooks breakfast for the groom’s family. She then receives gifts from each member of his family and accepts a formal title. Three days later, the bride and groom visit her family as guests – since she is now officially a part of the groom’s family – and offer a roasted pig or pork dish.

Other Customs

Double Happiness | too much awesomeness | As seen on TodaysBride.com
too much awesomeness

“Double happiness” is a symbol that is commonly seen throughout the Chinese wedding. Upon the announcement of the engagement, the families of the bride and groom send “Double Happiness” cakes to each other. The symbol may also be included on the invitations, other stationery, and decor.

The couple may also seek out the recommendations of a psychic when it comes to choosing a lucky wedding date. He or she will examine the bride and groom’s birth dates in order to come up with a date that will result in a lasting marriage.


If you or your fiance is from Chinese descent, it can be a sentimental addition to honor your ancestors with these Chinese Wedding Customs. We encourage it to make it your own by asking your parents and grandparents about their own wedding days. Incorporate sentimental and memorable moments from their wedding into your own, or mix Chinese traditions with Western for a truly unique ceremony.

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