If you're not familiar with Chinese wedding customs, you may find yourself confused by the seemingly endless steps involved in planning your wedding. But don't worry! We're here to help.
We've put together this guide to help make sense of it all (and maybe learn a thing or two about your own cultural traditions). Follow these simple steps for a harmonious union between you and your spouse.
Chinese Wedding Flow
The 过大礼 betrothal ceremony is a time when the groom asks for the bride's hand in marriage. This will be followed by a gift exchange, which is the 嫁妆 dowry that the bride will give to the groom as a sign of sincerity for marriage. This is usually done 1-2 weeks before the Wedding day.
After receiving the blessings from the bride's family, it's time to announce the good news to all family and friends. Usually, 1 box of pastries is given to each household. The pastries symbolizes sweet harmony for the couple.
Nuptial Bed Setting (按床) usually takes place 3 to 5 days before the actual day wedding.
During the An Chuang ceremony, the bed will be shifted slightly at an angle. Place the fate coins at the four corners of the bed, cupboard and drawers.
As for the antique coins, insert them top facing into the red packets. Place a red packet at each corner of the mattress and under each pillow. Turn on the pair of bedside lamps and leave them lit until after the third day of the ceremony.
Almost done! At this stage children, especially boys, can be invited to jump and roll around on the bed. This is to bless the couple with an abundance of children in their marriage.
Everyone involved in the ceremony will recite the following phrases:
- 百年好合 (‘bai nian hao he’) (May you be blessed with a blissful and harmonious marriage for a century)
- 早生贵子 (‘zao shen gui zi’) (May you be blessed with plenty of children quickly)
- 白头偕老 (‘bai tou xie lao’) (May you grow old together)
- 永浴爱河 (‘yong yu ai he’) (May you always be filled with love for one another)
After the ceremony, the nuptial bed should be left untouched until the wedding day itself.
The An Chuang (安床) ceremony is the setting up of the matrimonial bed before the couple embarks on their customary wedding. It involves decorating the bed with items that are meant to bless the couple with a blissful and harmonious marriage filled with many offsprings.
The hair combing ceremony is a short but meaningful tradition that symbolises the coming-of-age of the bride and groom as they prepare to marry. It is done one day before the wedding day and It takes place at the couple’s respective homes and is carried out by one or both parents who will recite this ancient litany of Chinese blessings as they comb through their hair four times:
(May your marriage last a lifetime)
(May you be blessed with a happy and harmonious marriage until old age)
(May you be blessed with an abundance of children and grandchildren)
(May you be blessed with longevity)
The Chinese tea ceremony is conducted on the day of the wedding and sees the bride and groom serve tea to their parents, in-laws, and other family members. Symbolizing the union of two families, it is a meaningful part of the day, typically taking place inside the couple's respective family homes.
Check out our range of beautiful tea sets for serving at this special occasion:
Traditionally, the bride is supposed to go back for a home visit three days after the wedding but nowadays many wedding couples return to the bride’s place in the same day. The bride has to change into another outfit such as Kwa or a simpler dress to signify three days have passed. The couples will also have to prepare gifts for the visit back to the bride’s home.