Traditional Chinese Wedding
Updated: Oct 16, 2019
To celebrate Chinese New Year on Tuesday, 5th February, I decided to take a look at some aspects of traditional Chinese wedding ceremonies. I am always interested in how different cultures celebrate their weddings, and some of these traditions crossover into Celebrant led ceremonies, in particular the tea ceremony.
Vows – Chinese weddings are not the place where vows take place, as this is done at a local government office beforehand when the paperwork is signed. Therefore if you attend a Chinese wedding you will not be watching the legalization of the marriage, but just be attending the celebration of the union between two people, generally through many courses of delicious food.
Invitations – Chinese wedding invitations are usually presented in a long red envelope, similar to the traditional hongbaoin which money is gifted to people at weddings, during Chinese New Year, etc.
The “double happiness” character 囍 (shuangxi 双喜) appears on the envelope, which, back in the day, was hand delivered to the guests a few days before the wedding. Today the invitation is usually mailed out.
Photographs – These days the couple usually will have an elaborate wedding album prepared before their wedding, with pictures taken around the city, often at popular tourist sights — the more romantic and pretty the better.
The wedding album, however, will not usually contain pictures of the actual ceremony. Wedding photos are taken in advance, so they can be on display at the wedding breakfast.
If you visit China during spring, summer or fall you might see couples having these professional pictures taken. Most like Western-style outfits and surroundings, but being as they tend to have several different outfits and settings, they can choose traditional and modern, fun and formal. It is a great idea as it takes the pressure off on the day, and everyone can see the photos as they decorate the wedding venue.
Flowers – flowers are used to decorate tables at Chinese weddings, in a similar way to Western weddings. Lilies are the type of flower most commonly used for weddings as the Chinese name for lilies, baihe 百合, sounds similar to a common idiom that means ‘happy union for a hundred years’, bainian haohe 百年好合. This flower also has another connotation, as it is known as the flower that brings sons to the happy couple. Orchids are also used at times, as they represent a happy couple, love, wealth and fortune.
Thanks for reading, SJW x
Information source – chinahighlights.com