By Laurenzo Overee

The Chinese tea ceremony is significant for many Singaporean weddings. Some couples would even consider it the traditional segment of their grand affair, paying homage to generations before them. In most instances, you can expect the ceremony to be smaller and more intimate than the main wedding event.

 

As always, since La Belle Couture is an expert in all things wedding! We are here to give you greater control over the big day prep. So here’s a comprehensive guide of the steps for a smooth-sailing Chinese tea ceremony to tick those checkboxes that will make your family and ancestors proud!

 

Chinese Tea Ceremony Step 1 – Selecting the Venue and Gathering the Pieces

The first step with any wedding preparation involves gathering the essentials (e.g., guest book and tableware for your banquet). And when it comes down to something as traditional as the Chinese tea ceremony, you can expect a detailed checklist.
Also, you should select a venue to conduct the ceremony. Traditionally, some couples would visit two venues for the event (for each side of the family). However, most families stick to a single venue these days for convenience.
While the tradition varies according to region (i.e., heritage) and family, here’s a handy list of the general must-haves for your ceremony:
  • Chinese Tea – Pu’erh and oolong tea are the most widely used for tea ceremonies. Regardless of your preference, always consider sweetening the drink as it represents bliss and a harmonious union between in-laws.
  • Chinese Tea Set – An oriental tea set (with a red design and auspicious characters) serves as the perfect receptacle for your ceremonial tea.
  • A Pair of Red Pillows – Couples kneel on the symbolic red cushions/pillows when offering tea to elders as a sign of respect and gratitude.
  • Portable Chairs – It’s best to use lightweight chairs for the ceremony so you can quickly shift them around depending on the number of elders.
  • Red-Themed Decorations – embellished cushions, red envelopes, double happiness signages, and lanterns are popular elements for sprucing up the venue.

Chinese Tea Ceremony Step 2 – Picking Out the Outfit and Assigning Roles

 

Next, you should select the official outfit (this usually differs from the wedding gown for your main wedding) for your ceremony.
Traditionally, brides wear the qun kwa, a red high collar two-piece dress with ornate motifs bearing meaningful symbolism. Grooms usually don a stylish tuxedo or a Tang suit to match the splendour of his bride.
Once you have chosen your ceremonial dress, it’s time to assign roles for the event. Typically, the Maid of Honour is in charge of the tea while other members of the wedding entourage prepare the layout.

Chinese Tea Ceremony Step 3 – Create a Guest List and Determine the Order

 

The order of who gets served first matters a great deal during the Chinese tea ceremony. Traditionally, the serving begins with the eldest members (or parents) of the groom’s family. However, you may alternate between both sides as you proceed through the event.
More importantly, ensure that you invite all the significant attendees to the event. Double-check the guest list to avoid omissions and awkward explanations!
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Chinese Tea Ceremony Step 4 – Set up the Layout and Rehearse!

With everything you need in place, the setup is all that’s left to do! Place the kneeling cushions/pillows before the chairs or bench of the elders. Also, you should include a side table for placing your tea set and other ceremonial ornaments (e.g., a bowl of dates and oranges).
Practice makes perfect, so be sure to run through the formal process to enjoy a fumbling-free session on the actual day. Don’t forget to hold the teacups with both hands when serving the elders. Also, consider practising Chinese greetings before the event, especially if your mother tongue is a tad rusty!
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With the right planning, your Chinese tea ceremony will be another highly meaningful and memorable part of your big day. If you need more guidance on the prep work, don’t forget that La Belle is always here to help!

 

From choosing the perfect wedding gown to arranging dream-like wedding photography and everything in between, we got you! Contact us or drop us a message on social media to get started on your path towards an unforgettable celebration of your blissful union!

 

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