An actual Chinese wedding ceremony involves many steps. Many young Chinese who are getting married still follow and respect the old traditions, especially when done on the countryside where the ceremonies almost do not differ from ancient Chinese traditions and customs
The Wedding Dresses
In a Chinese wedding, more than 1 wedding dress is made ready for the bride. Traditionally, the bride wears a quipao which she wears for the ceremony until the start of the wedding banquet. The other dresses include a white wedding gown that is Western style, and a ball gown. Some brides have 4 dresses, with the 4th one worn to say goodbye to guests as they leave the wedding party.
Typically, the groom wears one or 2 suits, which could be a traditional Zhongshan suit or Mao suit, however the Mao suit is seen today worn by older guests in a Chinese wedding. The grooms today often prefer to have tuxedoes or any business suit, Western style.
The guests in a Chinese wedding wear dresses in bright colors, usually red, to symbolize wealth and luck in the Chinese culture. Whites or blacks are not acceptable in the tradition.
The Chinese wedding ceremony starts with a Bridal Sedan. The bride will go to this sedan before she goes to the bridegroom’s house where the ceremony will take place. She will be accompanied by her father, and a “good luck woman”. While walking to the sedan chair, she will be covered by a red veil and rice will be thrown by her sisters. The bride will be seen crying to show her sadness for leaving her parents’ home and care. The bride’s mother would then give her daughter advice on almost anything from being a good wife, a good daughter in law, how to manage the household, and even how to have a pleasant relationship with the bridegroom’s family.
One custom observed before the wedding is the visit of the bridegroom to the bride’s house to greet all the family members, but he will not be seeing his wife-to-be. On the wedding day, the bride will be taken to the bridegroom’s home where the Bridal Chamber will be made ready. The bride in the bridal sedan will be escorted by her crowd of friends and musicians playing happy tones on her trip. In some weddings, a donkey was used in bringing the bride to the site of the wedding.
Upon arrival at a Bridal Chamber, other ceremonies will be performed, such as feeding the would-be-couple with boiled rice dumplings to signify harmony and union. Other ceremonies include candles and incense lighting, meeting on the red carpet, bowing to each other, and kowtowing in succession to Heaven and Earth, the parents, and family ancestors. The ceremony continues under the audiences’ prompts and applauses.
After the ceremony, teasing games will follow. All young men in the wedding can participate except the brothers-in-law of the bride. The games tend to be funny and silly, just to help ease the tension; don’t forget that the groom just saw her bride during the ceremony, not before.
The Chinese Wedding Food
Today, a Chinese wedding banquet usually has appetizers first, which may include “dragon-phoenix” plates. These are cold plates that include chilled slices of meats, jellyfish and nuts that are shaped like dragons and phoenixes. Chinese food has special meanings and most are wishes of longevity, happiness and fertility. The dragon symbolizes the role of the male, while the phoenix symbolizes the role of the female in Chinese marriage. The number of course served also has significance, so 8 dishes are usually prepared – desserts not included. In Chinese, the word eight when pronounced sounds like good luck.
The Boulevard Room is the perfect banquet hall to host a small Chinese wedding for up to 100 people