In China, a wedding is one of the three most important rituals in a person’s life. The other two are birth and death. Chinese weddings vary according to ethnicity and the part of China where the bride or groom comes from.
Before a couple weds, they refer to the Chinese zodiac to check their compatibility levels. Couples go on to visit marriage brokers called mei po. A mei po assesses the couple’s dates of birth with reference to the Chinese zodiac. His assessment determines whether a couple can marry or not.
This article highlights some of the most observable items in Chinese weddings.
Both the bride and groom’s families decorate the bridal house at the reception site. They use lively colours, especially red and gold. Red petals referred to as ‘happiness menace’ are an essential part of Chinese wedding decoration. The petals spill on the floor and hung on either side of the doorway. Most noteworthy, red is a must-have colour in Chinese weddings. In China, red brings happiness and luck, or so they believe.
Chinese couples usually start taking their wedding photos way before the actual wedding day. Wedding studios are contracted to take the photos. They take the pictures in front of many different backdrops. The couple wears a variety of outfits. In most cases, couples display these photos at the wedding reception.
On the day of the wedding, family and friends photo sessions are very important. A photo session could take up to two hours since everybody wants a photo with the couple.
Chinese weddings have overly cheesy videos! Many couples choose to film high standard and sophisticated videos. The videos should make the day as beautiful and memorable as possible. The couples also take time with the videographers to film themselves in a variety of romantic poses.
Door games imply that the bride is a pretty girl. Consequently, family and friends do not wish to marry her away. The bride’s family and friends set up door games in order to torment the groom and his men. The groom can only gain access into the bridal house if he survives the tests prepared for him. The bride’s friends ask questions about the bride and the relationship too. The groom must answer all questions correctly. For every wrong answer, there is a penalty. Once the groom has succeeded, he can access the bridal house. He picks his bride and they head out for the wedding.
Gold and money are the only acceptable gifts in Chinese weddings. In Western countries, weddings can sometimes take a financial toll on the couple. In China, the opposite is true. Couples seem to get better off financially after their wedding. The couple receives gifts in form of golden rings, bracelets, necklaces and other jewellery assortments. Friends and family also give cash stuffed in red envelopes. In most cases, it is a lot of money. Additionally, cars, houses/villas and company shares are also given as gifts to the couples. Subsequently, couples receive a lot of money and gold on their wedding day, granting them financial security.
In traditional Chinese weddings, kneeling was a symbol of wedding vows. The couples would kneel thrice. To begin with, they would kneel in honour of heaven and earth. Secondly, they would kneel in respect to their parents and ancestors. Finally, they would kneel in front of each other to show that they valued and respected one another. Today, the ‘vow ceremony’ remains the same. In modern Chinese weddings, bowing has replaced kneeling. When the bowing ceremony is over, the bride offers tea to her guests. This the tea ceremony. It is a show of accord and respect. She starts with both grooms and bride’s parents. After that, the couple offers tea to other guests in order of seniority. Consequently, anyone who takes a sip of the tea gives a gift in return. This translates to more money and gold for the couple!
The bride changes her dresses at least thrice on the day of the wedding. She starts with the western style white or cream gown. Commonly, the bride attends the church or civil ceremony in a western style gown. After the vow ceremony, the bride changes into a traditional Chinese gown. This gown is used for the reception and tea ceremony. The gown is usually made of red fabric(silk) embroidered with elaborate gold and silver designs. Once the tea ceremony is over, the bride changes into a cocktail dress. This is the dress she used to greet the guests and see them off too.
Chinese weddings are a literal food party. Food is in plenty and you will eat to your fill. The tables host ten guests per sitting. Each table has ten courses for the banquet. Each food type on the list intends to make a good wish for the newlyweds. Therefore, eating food at a Chinese wedding means that you generally wish the couple well in their marriage. Also, the Chinese believe that every guest should have enough to eat at their wedding.