A Chinese wedding is a much-anticipated event. Everyone looks forward to celebrating at these elaborate affairs, and brides and grooms hope that the day itself and the events that take place will bring fortune and happiness to their marriage. If you want to throw a traditional Chinese wedding, follow this guide.
Announce your wedding. A month or two before your Chinese wedding, it is tradition to give out small "bridal cakes" to all of your friends and family members. These are meant to announce your wedding, and they also serve as an invitation. Traditionally, the groom's family pays for these, but the bride's family distributes them.
Accept gifts. After you have distributed your bridal cakes, expect to be inundated with gifts! Everyone who receives a Chinese bridal cake from the bride and groom is expected to send a gift to relay their congratulations. The bride's family should be prepared to accept all the gifts.
Select a dress for the bride. A Chinese bride just wouldn't look right without the proper clothing. The bride absolutely must wear a red wedding dress on the day of her Chinese wedding. This is the color that symbolizes love and joy, and wearing it brings good luck to the marriage. Purchase one, have one made, or wear one that has been passed down to you.
Wash the bride before the wedding. On the night before the wedding, a Chinese bride must have a cleansing bath. She must bathe in water that has been infused with pomelo (a type of grapefruit) so as to fend off any evil spirits.
Serve tea to the parents. On the morning of the wedding, the bride must serve tea to her parents at her home. This is a symbolic ceremony in which the bride shows her love and appreciation for her parents and how they have raised her. It is imperative that she hold the teacup with both hands as she serves it since this is a sign of respect towards one's elders. This tea ceremony must be done before the groom arrives.
Plan a huge meal. A Chinese wedding meal should be like a feast! The reception alone needs to have 8 courses served, plus a dessert. Traditional Chinese wedding foods are roasted suckling pig, shark fin soup, crab claws and lots of fish. When you're planning out your Chinese wedding schedule, expect this type of elaborate meal to take a minimum of 3 hours.
Serve more tea. Chinese weddings don't necessarily have an exchange of vows like western weddings do. Instead, more tea is served in front of gathered guests. Have the Chinese bride and groom perform another tea ceremony during which the couple serves tea to the groom's parents. Again, this is a sign of respect and appreciation from the now-united couple.
Consider having a lion dance at the wedding. At the Chinese wedding, a dancing lion is the ultimate symbol of good luck for the newlywed couple. Consider hiring a lion dance team to come and dance at your Chinese wedding after your meal. Guests always enjoy entertainment like this.
Celebrate with some firecrackers. At the end of the Chinese wedding celebration, it is traditional to set off firecrackers. Plan a huge firecracker show at dusk to keep evil spirits away from your Chinese wedding and marriage.