chinese wedding traditions

Traditional Chinese wedding customs are an important part of getting married, even for modern Chinese couples.

But knowing which Chinese wedding traditions you must include on your wedding day and what they mean can be confusing.

This is because most of the traditions are passed down through generations primarily by word-of-the-mouth, and each tradition itself requires a lot of planning and preparation.

Thus, to help you and your partner, we have listed the essential Chinese wedding customs you need to know to start your union with fertility, happiness, and abundance!

But before we start, why is it important to still honour the customs of traditional Chinese weddings?

Our traditions are in place for a reason.

More than a sign of respect to our elders, these acts of blessing are essential to our Chinese culture and who we are as people.

They bring us back to our roots which is vital in starting anything anew.

At the same time, we owe the continuation of these traditional obligations to future generations.

In a way, by following these Chinese wedding traditions as our ancestors did, they are also with us, providing auspiciousness and good fortune.

chinese wedding tea ceremony gifts

Asking for the bride’s hand in marriage (提亲)

This is where grooms pay a formal visit to the bride’s parents to ask for her hand in marriage.

Here are a couple of things to bear in mind for this tradition:

  • Set an auspicious date. Avoid the first and seventh months of the Lunar calendar, as this is considered unlucky.
  • Wear proper attire and arrive on time to show respect.
  • Bring gifts to show sincerity and good manners.
bride's house

The betrothal ceremony or Guò Dà Lǐ (过大礼)

The betrothal ceremony is the official wedding proposal, so it’s important to consult a feng shui master for the most auspicious date.

In this tradition, the groom delivers elaborate wedding gifts to the bride’s family home accompanied by a good-fortuned older male (well-liked, already has a few grandchildren, and is financially well-to-do).

Gifts such as the betrothal ang pao and bride’s dowry are a must, while the rest of the Guò Dà Lǐ ceremony items will depend on the bride’s dialect.

betrothal gift ceremony or guo da li

Essential betrothal gifts according to dialect


chinese wedding banquet

Sugarcanes, pig trotters, and rice candies


chinese weddings bride's family

Flaky pastries, traditional wedding cakes, peanuts, 4 pieces of gold jewellery (四點金 sì diǎn jīn), pair of dragon and phoenix bangles



Pair of dragon and phoenix bangles and a whole roast suckling pig to the bride’s mother


traditional chinese wedding banquet

Whole roast suckling pig to the bride’s mother and Hakka Abacus Beads (算盘子 Suàn pán zi)

Matrimonial bed set-up or Ān Chuáng (安床)

This tradition is meant to bless your union with joy, harmony, and children, and is held between 3 to 7 days before the wedding.

The bride’s home, the groom’s home, or the couple’s new home are all acceptable locations for the bed installation.

It’s frequently said that a lady with “excellent fortune”—one whose husband, children, and grandkids are all still alive—should have the honour of making the bed.

groom's house traditional chinese wedding

Hair combing ritual or Shàngtou (上头)

The hair-combing ceremony represents the coming-of-age of the bride and groom.

Here the parents of the couple comb through their hair four times as they recite the following ancient litany of Chinese blessings:


(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 actual date of the ceremony differs among dialect groups but always takes place at the couple’s respective homes and ends with eating a bowl of glutinous rice balls as a symbol of togetherness.

hair combing ceremony traditional chinese wedding

Gatecrashing or Chuang Men (闯门) and fetching the bride or Jie Xin Niang (接新娘)

Perhaps the most fun part among Chinese wedding traditions, this custom symbolises the groom’s sincerity and love and the bride’s family’s reluctance to marry their daughter off.

Here, the groom and his groomsmen will ‘gatecrash’ the bride’s home, complete a series of tasks involving the tasting of four flavours: sour, sweet, bitter and spicy (酸甜苦辣), and ‘bribe’ the bridesmaids with ang paos.

The ceremony ends with the groom finally ‘getting’ the bride, lifting her veil, and kissing her.

chinese wedding reception

Leaving the bride’s home or Chū Gé (出阁)

The bride leaves her home after the gatecrash ceremony.

To bid the couple goodbye, the bride’s family will serve them a bowl of mee sua with hard-boiled eggs to symbolise longevity.

After the meal, the newlyweds will bow three times. Each bow represents a gesture of respect to the heavens and earth, their parents, and each other.

On the way to the bridal car, a companion will hold a red umbrella for the bride to protect her from harmful elements. Usually, the companion will be the father of the bride, but there are some exceptions:

  • an older male for Teochew and Hokkien brides,
  • or a matchmaker/bridesmaid for Cantonese and Hakka brides.

Before the car leaves her home, the bride will throw a red foldable fan out of the car window to symbolise leaving her past and everything negative behind, ending the ceremony and embarking on a new chapter of her life.

chinese weddings

Entering the groom’s home or Guò Mén (过门)

In this tradition, the groom’s family will ‘hide’ from the couple to avoid seeing them enter the home. This step is meant to avoid future disputes between the bride and her new family.

After this step, the couple will share a sweet soup made of longans, red dates, lotus seed, a hard-boiled egg and/or glutinous rice ball (汤圆) for a blissful marriage.

Tea ceremony or Jìng Chá (敬茶)

This is the most important custom of all the wedding traditions since this where the bride will formally meet the groom’s family.

The ceremony will be her way of paying respects to the elder members of the family, addressing them by their formal titles, serving them tea, and receiving their blessings in return.

Traditionally, the bride will change into Qun Kua, the traditional Chinese wedding dress, or a modern cheongsam before this.

But nowadays, it is common to skip this and for the couple to proceed with the tea ceremony in whichsoever attire they prefer.

groom's parents

Returning to the bride’s home or San Chao Hui Men (三朝回门)

The bride’s return home usually happens 3 days after the wedding but most couples go on the same day of the wedding.

Similar to the tea ceremony performed by the bride at the groom’s home, here it is the groom’s turn to be formally welcomed to the bride’s family and receive their blessings.

After the tea ceremony, the groom will gift a whole roast pig to the bride’s family to symbolise chastity.

In exchange, the groom will receive either mandarin oranges or the head and tail part of the pig to represent a perfect union.

lotus seeds

Chinese wedding banquet or Xǐ Jiǔ (喜酒)

The last part of the Chinese wedding ceremony, the wedding banquet, celebrates the successful union of both the bride and groom’s family.

The banquet proceeds as celebrations go but with two unique customs—ang paos and yam sengs.

Ang paos or red packets are traditional gifts of money to the newlyweds to bless and help them get off to an abundant start.

Yam sengs are three rounds of lively cheers that toast to three specific wishes:

百年好合 Bǎi nián hǎo hé

Wishes the couple a blissful marriage

永浴爱河 Yǒng yù ài hé

For the couple to have everlasting love

早生贵子 Zǎo shēng guì zǐ

Wishes the couple to have early childbirth

At the night’s end, the newlyweds will bid everyone good night and thank them for coming.

wedding banquet and chinese tea ceremony

Let La Belle Couture help you ace the more traditional aspects of your wedding

chinese wedding day

Following Chinese wedding traditions has never been easier with us as your partners.

From our flexible terms and customisable wedding packages to our convenient payment options, you can count on our services to be efficient, making your wedding planning a breeze.

With convenience at your side, you can have more time to focus on the essence of your union and carve out a marriage marked with auspiciousness through ancient traditions and rituals.

Make La Belle Couture your wedding partner.

Book an appointment with our consultants today!

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