Do You Know These Chinese Wedding Day Customs?

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In part 2 of our definitive guide of Chinese wedding traditions, we will be sharing the traditions that have been cultivated throughout generations on the actual wedding day. From fetching the bride to the grand Chinese wedding banquet, these practices have endured for generations. Read on to find out what you need to prepare for these events!

1) Fetching the bride, 迎亲 (ying qin)  

In the early morning of an auspicious date, i.e., your actual wedding day, before the groom sets off with his band of brothers (also known as his xiongdi) to fetch his bride, he has to pray to his ancestors. After that, the groom will leave his home with 12 oranges as well as a red packet, which will be given to his parents-in-law as a symbol of gratitude for bringing up their daughter well. Upon arrival, the bride’s younger brother (otherwise younger male relative) will open the car door and give him a pair of oranges (symbolizing good fortune), to which the groom has to reciprocate with a red packet. 

Click! Photography - Bryan & Nadine

Natalie Wong Photography - Mitch & Joanna

Antelope Studios - Darren & Samantha

2) Gatecrashing

As soon as he reaches the bride’s home, the gatecrashing will commence. Challenged by the bridesmaids (also known as her jiemei), the groom and his squad has to overcome several games and almost-impossible obstacles before getting the chance to enter the bride’s home. Yes, the games, as grueling and difficult as they may seem, is a representation of the groom’s earnest determination and dedication to his beloved bride. His sincerity to marry her (as well as a thick stack of red packets) will carry him through the walkways of her home and into her room, where he will unveil her and give her a kiss. 

Andri Tei Photography - Yi Jin & Ginny

Douglas Fun Photography - Edwin & Melissa

3) Leaving the bride’s home, 出阁 (chu ge)

Before leaving the bride's home and commencing the next series of events, the couple has to bow three times. The first bow would be to the heavens and earth, as a gesture of respect to the gods and their ancestors. The next bow will be to their parents, to thank them for their everlasting love and care. The third and final bow will be to each other, representing their eternal love for each other. The bride, accompanied by her dad, will then be escorted to the bridal car with a red umbrella to ward off any evil spirits. 

Andri Tei Photography - Yi Jin & Ginny

Douglas Fun Photography - Edwin & Melissa

4) Entering the groom’s house, 过门 (guo men)

When the couple has arrived at the groom’s house, the groom’s family are required to stay in their rooms so that they will not see the couple entering the living room. Thereafter, they may reunite with the couple in the living room. This unique ritual is carried out to traditionally prevent any clashes or conflicts between the bride and the groom’s family. Besides that, the bride will also have to step over a basin of burning coal to burn any bad luck away. It is also important that the couple does not remove their shoes throughout the 出格 and 过门ceremony as it's believed that doing so will create fleeting prosperity throughout the marriage. The couple will then head to the bridal room and eat glutinous rice balls, 汤圆 (tang yuan) as a symbol of joyous and fruitful marriage. 

Douglas Fun Photography - Edwin & Melissa

Natalie Wong Photography - Mitch & Joanna

Meteor Production - Jun Tat & Esther

Douglas Fun Photography -Alfred & Genevieve

5) Tea ceremony, 敬茶 (jing cha)

Here comes one of the most popular and recognised traditions that is practiced across almost all dialect groups, 敬茶. The couple kneels down and offering tea to their elderly relatives, and address them by their formal titles. The order begins with the groom's parents, the groom's father's parents, uncles and aunts, followed by the relatives on the groom's mother's side and ending off with the groom's elder siblings. The elder relatives will also offer their blessings to the wedding pair with red packets or jewellery. This signifies that the bride has been introduced to and warmly accepted by the groom’s family. The groom's younger siblings can also offer the couple tea and receive red packets in return.  

Andri Tei Photography - Thomas & Jane

6) Back to the bride’s home, 回门 (hui men

As the tea ceremony comes to an end, the bride changes into a new gown before returning to her home. This return of the bride will signify the start of a blessed and meaningful matrimony of the newlyweds. The couple will offer tea to the bride's relatives, starting with her parents, her father's parents, her paternal uncles and aunts, then her mother's parents, and her maternal aunts and uncles, followed by her elder siblings and lastly, enjoy the tea offered by her younger siblings.

Antelope Studios - Deborah & Nicholas

7) The wedding toast

Yam Seng! The champagne is popped and three toasts are made. The first wish is for the couple to have a blissful marriage (百年好合 bai nian hao he), the second to wish the couple everlasting eternal love (永浴爱河 yong yu ai he), while the final toast is for the couple to have a baby soon (早生贵子 zao sheng gui zi). Each wish is echoed by the audience in a long Yam Seng--the longer the better. This wedding toast is usually done after the second march-in, after the couple has changed their outfits, and may be followed by a thank-you speech. 

Click! Photography - Basil & Germaine

Love Confetti Stills & Motion - Samuel & Samantha

Natalie Wong Photography - Mitch & Joanna

Chinese wedding traditions, customs and practices may seem to be a bit troublesome but these are important cultural aspects and hopefully will be passed from generation to generation--we suggest modifying them to suit your own beliefs (and timeline of your wedding day). 

More Inspiration:

Read Part 1 of the Wedding Traditions.

Want more gatecrashing ideas? Click here and here for more inspiration. 

Not sure if you've missed out anything? Check out our 12 month checklist to make sure. 

Your bride squad is one of the most important groups of people on your wedding day as they'll be handling the event for you. Show your gratitude and love with these gifts

For more inspiration check out the Hitcheed app, where all things bridal are conveniently accessible in one place. Download now to view vendor profiles, rate cards and have access to message our professionals directly on App Store and Google Play

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