Chinese wedding customs may differ among the dialect groups, but there are a few classics that have endured till today. They may seem almost archaic in our modern times, but we believe they serve as a timely reminder of our roots and establishes commonality among our parents’ generation.
It also helps create that shared memory among your loved ones who are there to witness your holy matrimony!
Chinese Wedding Customs #1: Betrothal Ceremony / Guo Da Li (过大礼)
Guo Da Li, also known as the betrothal gift ceremony, symbolises the groom’s sincerity in wedding his bride. It also marks a formal meeting between the parents from both the bride and groom.
About two to four weeks before the wedding ceremony, an auspicious lunar date is chosen and the groom personally gifts the bride’s family, typically symbolising fertility and prosperity. Some of the popular favourites are money, gold jewellery, auspicious food items such as oranges (good luck), red dates (fertility), winter melon seeds (good fortune), dragon and phoenix candles (good fortune).
When the bride’s family accepts the gifts, it symbolises their acceptance of the groom and they bestow a dowry in return as a show of goodwill and gratitude to their future son-in-law. It also establishes their daughter’s status as a married woman. The dowry usually includes part of the groom’s gifts, ‘Si Dian Jin’ encompassing four types of gold including a necklace, bracelet, a ring and a pair of earrings as well as a pair of candles to continue the family line among many others. This is also known as Hui Li (回礼)
Fun fact: An even number of people needs to be present for auspicious reasons!
Chinese Wedding Customs #2: Bed-setting Ceremony / An Chuang (安床)
An auspicious date is chosen (notice the pattern here?) and the wedding bed is cloaked in red, with dragon and phoenix motifs representing the groom and bride respectively. A spread of dates, longans, lotus seeds and red beans are scattered onto the bed and remain until the wedding night. On the day itself, children are encouraged to frolick on the bed and bless the couple with abundant fertility.
Fun fact: The bed is left slightly slanted to represent that it’s been newly set-up.
Chinese Wedding Customs #3: Hair Combing / Shang Tou (上头)
Representing the couple’s transition to adulthood, it is typically conducted by a female relative with good fortune, wedded and with offspring.
The couple each have their hair combed in four strokes, with the groom in the living room facing away from the windows while the bride faces the windows. With each stroke, auspicious phrases are recited by the parents.
Stroke 1, for a long-lasting matrimony;
Stroke 2, for an everlasting, harmonious union;
Stroke 3, for a household brimming with children and grandchildren;
Stroke 4, for longevity till old age with each other.
Make an appointment with us here now if you want to know more about our bridal services!