Many people’s attitude towards marriage is almost the same: devotional, cautious, enthusiastic yet a bit nervous, so are Chinese. Chinese are also expecting a grand wedding party, with all relatives and friends present to express the blessings and witness their love. Modern Chinese wedding ceremony still carries out many of the traditions and customs while also conducting some innovations. So it is important for guests to be conscious of etiquette concerning different parts of the wedding party, from attire to gifts. And as we understand there are do’s and don’t’s when attending a Western wedding, the same goes with a Chinese wedding.
Modern Chinese wedding party is much simpler than the traditional, yet can’t leave out some essential parts:
Firecrackers often signaled the start of celebration when the bride and groom enter the wedding venue (usually a large-scale restaurant). Traditionally, the bride should be dressed in red as it symbolizes joy and prosperity. However, most brides today choose Western white wedding dress for the opening of the ceremony.
Under the guidance of a wedding MC, the bride and groom first bow to Heaven and Earth, then parents and each other, attended by applauses of the audience. Many newlyweds still keep the tradition of drinking wedlock wine.
Then there will be a grand feast to entertain guests, with around 12 delicate dishes and fine wine. The bride then will change into a traditional gown, usually a red cheongsam. At the banquet, the newlywed couple will toast to guests and thank them from table to table. The wedding banquet has been modified a bit nowadays for young people to play some tricks and games on the young couple, somewhat like the clinking of glasses in the Western culture.
Do’s and don’t’s when attending a Chinese wedding ceremony
1. It is better for guests to wear clothing in pink, purple, orange, yellow and other bright colors, but not the red, as it is just for the bride on this special day. And avoid the black or white, which represents mourning and death.
2. Traditionally, pregnant women or someone who recently lost a family member should not attend the wedding, as the newlywed couple have strong life force that may harm the unborn baby, and the family of death could bright bad luck.
3. Do not get stuck on the gifts for the newlyweds, as the most appropriate gift would be cash or cheque in a red envelope. The amount of monetary gift is entirely up to the giver.
4. The food is of utmost importance to Chinese. It is considered impolite to show dislikes about the food, or leave a wedding feast before the final dish is served.