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Chinese Wedding Frequently Asked Questions, for Brides & Groom


Q: When should I start preparing for my wedding?
A:  You should start preparing 6 months before the wedding. Since marriage in Chinese culture is considered the joining of two families, you need to arrange a proposal and betrothal meeting for parents from both families. You will also need to make arrangement for wedding gown, banquet venue or church if you so choose...  More at
Check List>>>

Q: How do I choose an auspicious wedding date?
A: You should choose a even number date for the wedding. The more even numbers the merrier, e.g., Saturday, October 28, 2004. Sometimes, people choose date with special meaning, e.g. lunar calendar September 9th is a festival for family reunion, and the Nine means "forever"...Sign up for
China Bridal Newsletter...>>>


Q: I want to have a Chinese wedding, but my in-laws are Christians, how can I combine a church wedding with a traditional Chinese wedding?
A: In modern China, more and more young couples favor a church wedding for its solemn surrounding and the holly wedding vow. You may combine the two styles together and cater to both families. First, perform traditional Chinese rituals at home, e.g., hair-dressing ritual, tea ceremony, etc. Then after the bride has served tea to her in-laws and bowed to the ancestral tablets, proceed to the church to exchange wedding vows. After the banquet, you can continue to have the traditional bridal chamber party at the wedding night... More at Wedding Procession...>>>

Q: How many dresses should I prepare for my wedding, and what kind of dresses do I need?
A: The bride change dresses a few times during the wedding while the groom changes once or does not change. In the morning, the bride is usually dressed in traditional Chinese wedding gown.  She won't change until after she has served tea to her in-laws. Then she changes to  western style white wedding gown for the ceremony in which the newlyweds will bow to the heaven and the earth, the ancestor's tablets and to each other. At the wedding banquet, the bride changes to a formal day time gown, and the newlyweds will serve wine to every guests at the wedding. The last one is a night gown she wears when she sees the guests off at the end of the banquet.  The groom usually is dressed in a Chinese men's traditional gown in the morning, then change to cocktail suit before the banquet.. It is also acceptable to wear a formal suit instead of cocktail suit... More at
Chinese Wedding Dresses...>>>

Q: Some of the Grand Gifts are hard to find, can I substitute with something else?
A: Generally speaking, you can always substitute Grand Gifts with cash, particularly named Li Shi, usually wrapped in red envelope. The Li Shi money usually comes in $99 or $999, as the pronunciation of Nine is the same as "long and forever." However, presentation of Grand Gifts is a symbolic gesture of appreciation to the bride's family for raising her and marrying her away. Many traditional gift shops have Grand Gifts items in stock... More at
Gift Shops...>>>

Q: Is there any formal wedding vow in Chinese wedding?
A: There is no formal wedding vow in Chinese culture. The closest ritual is to have the newlyweds drink wine from two cups that are tied together by a red string. The newlyweds cross their right arms and drink at the same time. That's considered the gesture of binding commitment by the two... More at
Wedding Day Rituals...>>>

Q: What is the Tea Ceremony at a wedding reception?
A: The Tea Ceremony is when the bride arrives the groom's home, and serve tea to her new in-laws. She will hold the tea cup with both hands, kneel in front of her parents-in-law, and serve it. After the groom's parents, she will serve tea to every one on the occasion, with a sequence of seniority. Those who accepted the tea are supposed to give her gift such as Li Shi money or gold and jade jewelries wrapped in red envelope... Prepare
gifts for the bride...>>>

Q: What is the appropriate wedding banquet menu? How can I explain the meaning of the dishes to non-Chinese guests?
A: Certain foods must be served at wedding, which include fish, roast suckling pig, pigeon, chicken cooked with red oil, lobster and desert bun with lotus seeds stuffed inside. The pronunciation of fish is the same as "abundance", meaning the newlyweds will have plentiful of wealth. Roast suckling pig is usually served whole, a symbol of the bride's virginity. Pigeon implies peaceful future. Chicken also means phoenix, cooked in red oil to symbolize the wish for a prosperous life ahead for the newlyweds. Lobster is literally called "dragon shrimp" in Chinese. Having lobster and chicken together at wedding banquet to indicate that the dragon and the phoenix are hormones together, and the Yin and Yang elements in this family is balanced... Most important of all, do not forget to serve Chinese Dragon and Phoenix wedding cakes...>>>

Q: My Fiancee and I are planning a wedding next year.  My father passed away a month ago.  I was told that if we were to get married, we should do it either within 100 days of the death or 3 years later.  Is this a traditional rule?  How does one apply today?
A:  It is an old tradition that in honor of a deceased parent, the children should mourn for three years.  Any entertainment or social activity will be disallowed.  Wedding is considered a celebration where entertainment will take place.  If a marriage has been planned in the near future, the children would either get married within 3 months, called "hot mourning", or have to wait till after 3 years. 

However, this is a very old tradition that is rarely observed today.  The rationale in this tradition is to emphasis respect to the elders.  If your wedding size is not too big, and it's not too difficult to change the date, you may change your date.  Otherwise, I would suggest that you go along with your wedding plan, and make a particular point to pay tribute to your father.  For example, include your deceased father on the invitation and the program, perform a tea ceremony at your home on the morning of the wedding day, you and your fiance kneel to your mother and your father's photo to thank them for the life they gave you, and pour tea for both of them.  The emphasis is the respect to your parents.
 

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