Chinese Traditional Wedding: Must-haves for Bride and Groom

Dreaming of a truly individual, fun yet elegant wedding that you will never forget? Who doesn’t? Nowadays more and more young people in China put on the white gown and suite like what the Westerns do on their weddings, and slowly forget about the traditions… However, some newlyweds dust off the old favorites, and seize the opportunity to have a unique and unforgettable wedding ceremony by practicing the traditions and customs of a real Chinese wedding.

There are a few things that bride and groom must have for a Chinese traditional wedding:

1. Bride’s ceremony dress

Chinese bride’s wedding dress is typically red and features an embroidered phoenix, a divine bird in Chinese ancient legend and a traditional symbol for bride. Then she needs a red shawl and a phoenix crown. For the bride in North China, the wedding dress is traditionally a qipao or cheongsama qipao or cheongsam. This elegant one-piece dress highlights feminine curves and is still preferred by many brides today.

Traditioanl Chiense wedding

2. Veil

Bride in Chinese traditional wedding also wears a veil, but in a red color. Traditionally it features a red silk cloth to veil the bride’s face when she is transferred from her parents’ home to her husband’s. And the groom will finally uncover the bride’s veil.

Chinese bride

3. The groom’s attire

For a traditional Chinese wedding, the groom usually wears a red “Number One Scholar” robe, matched with a black gauze cap. Today, the grooms abandon this exaggerated costume, but choose to wear a dark blue robe embroidered with a dragon.

Chinese groom chinese wedding customs

4. A wedding sedan (or a carriage)

A wedding sedan carries the bride to the groom’s home. It is covered with a red curtain embroidered with dragon and phoenix. They are sedans carried by 4 people or 8 people.

Chinese wedding culture

5. The marital bed

For modern people, a Chinese traditional marital bed is more like a piece of art works. The material and workmanship are matchless. In the past times, it took about three years to finish a perfect marital bed. Today, many boutique hotels in China still have this kind of bed in their featured rooms.

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Chinese Wedding

6. Firecrackers

The firecrackers are crackling and spluttering in celebration.

7. Fancy candles

Pairs of red candles emblazoned with silvery and golden dragon are lit in the hall and the bridal’s chamber at wedding.

Chinese wedding traditions

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Tips for Attending A Chinese Wedding Party

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.

More about Traditional Chinese Wedding

Chinese wedding paper cut

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.

Chinese wedding feast

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.

More Travel Photos of Traditinal Chinese Wedding 

Chinese wedding candy

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.

Chinese wedding cups  Chinese wedding wine