Tea Ceremony

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Plan Your Perfect Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony

Planning a wedding is an exciting journey marked by cherished traditions that create unforgettable moments. Among these customs is the Chinese wedding tea ceremony, an integral part of wedding celebrations, symbolising respect, gratitude, and the union of two families.

This age-old practice sees the bride and groom serving tea to their parents and elders, expressing their deep appreciation for their support.

The Significance Of The Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony

The Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony, known as 敬茶 (jìngchá) in Chinese, holds profound cultural significance. This age-old tradition involves the couple serving tea to both parents and elders as a gesture of respect and gratitude. 

Typically, the Chinese tea ceremony occurs on the wedding day, with sessions at the bride and groom’s homes.

The groom’s family is served tea first, often in the morning after he has brought the bride home. Subsequently, the bride’s family is honoured with a tea ceremony in the afternoon following her visit to the groom’s place.

Alternatively, some couples combine tea ceremonies into a single event, held later at their wedding venue. This allows them more personal time in the morning. The key is to start with the groom’s family as a sign of respect, and both approaches are culturally acceptable.

Tea ceremonies are a universal symbol of honour and gratitude, practised worldwide. In Chinese wedding tea ceremonies, offering tea to one’s elders signifies deep respect and appreciation for their guidance and upbringing. Kneeling before the elders while presenting the teacup is this cherished tradition’s highest form of respect.

Preparations Before The Wedding Tea Ceremony

Planning a memorable Chinese wedding tea ceremony requires careful preparations to ensure that the event runs smoothly and is culturally significant.

Invitations

Start by sending out invitations for the Chinese wedding tea ceremony. Typically, these invitations are included with your wedding reception invitations. Creating a guest list and ensuring that all extended relatives are included is essential.

Encourage your family and relatives to RSVP, as this helps determine the number of teacups needed and the order of serving, making the host’s job more manageable.

Tea Set

Traditionally, two sets of wedding tea sets are used. One set is provided as part of the bride’s dowry during Guo Da Li, a ceremony in which the groom and his family will visit the bride and her family, and is used to serve tea to the groom’s family. The other tea set may have sentimental value, such as the bride’s mother’s set from her wedding.

Nowadays, many couples host both families together, using just one tea set. If there was no Guo Da Li or the bride did not receive a tea set beforehand, a suitable Chinese tea set can be obtained from Chinese wedding shops in Singapore.

The teacups and teapots for the Chinese wedding tea ceremony should be auspicious red, symbolising luck and happiness.

Attire

Brides often wear Qun Kua or Qipaos during the Chinese wedding tea ceremony. These garments resemble Chinese wedding gowns and are typically red to symbolise luck and happiness.

Qun Kuas consist of a loose jacket and skirt embroidered with intricate designs featuring dragons and phoenixes in gold and silver thread.

How To Prepare Tea For The Wedding Ceremony

The type and taste of tea are essential elements in embodying Chinese symbolism and meaning in marriage and family. Sweet tea is usually used during tea ceremonies because it symbolises happiness in the newlyweds’ marriage and fosters good relations with their in-laws.

  • Red Dates (红枣 – Hong Zao): Red Dates are commonly used in tea as they have a sweet taste, symbolising the long-lasting sweetness of the couple’s marriage and harmonious relations between the couple and their families. Using whole red dates without slicing or peeling them is important to represent fullness and fertility.
  • Peanuts (花生 – Hua Sheng): While peanuts are not typically included inside the tea due to their bland taste, they are a popular choice as a light snack. The Chinese character “生” (sheng) means giving birth, signifying a wish for fertility.
  • Longans (桂圆 – Gui Yuan): Longans, or Dried Longans, are essential to make the tea sweet. The character “桂” (gui) in the Chinese name has a similar pronunciation to “贵” (gui), meaning precious. “圆” (Yuan) means round, symbolising wholeness, fullness, and completeness in marital and familial relationships.

Lotus Seeds (莲子 – Lian Zhi): Lotus seeds symbolise the blessing of bearing many children, as the Chinese characters “莲子” (lian zhi) have the same pronunciation as “连” (meaning to succeed) and “子” (which means children). When combined, these ingredients create the well-known saying: “早生贵子” (Zǎoshēng guìzǐ), signifying the hope to have children early.

What Should You Wear For The Wedding Tea Ceremony?

Choosing the right attire for the Chinese wedding tea ceremony is a delightful part of the preparation process. The attire you select can reflect your personal style and the cultural significance of the occasion.

For Brides And Grooms Conducting A Single Tea Ceremony

For a single tea ceremony, couples typically opt for traditional Chinese attire that reflects the occasion’s significance. Brides often wear a Qun Kua or a Qipao in vibrant red, symbolising luck and happiness. 

These two-piece ensembles feature intricate embroidery with dragon and phoenix motifs in gold and silver threads. Grooms typically wear a traditional Chinese changshan or a modern suit. It’s essential to choose attire that complements each other and aligns with the overall theme of the wedding.

For Brides And Grooms Hosting Two Separate Tea Ceremonies

When couples decide to host two separate tea ceremonies, they often wear different outfits for each ceremony. For the tea ceremony with the groom’s family, brides may opt for the traditional red Qun Kua or Qipao, while grooms can choose between traditional changshan or modern suits. 

For the tea ceremony with the bride’s family, brides may switch to a different traditional outfit, such as a white or pastel-coloured Qun Kua, symbolising purity and respect for the groom’s family. Grooms can adjust their attire accordingly, ensuring it complements the bride’s outfit and represents the importance of the ceremony.

How To Prepare Tea For The Wedding Ceremony

The Chinese wedding tea ceremony is a cherished ritual in the bridal party’s journey, uniting the bride and groom’s families in a symbolic act of respect and unity. Here is a brief overview of the various stages in the ceremony:

  • Gathering the Bridal Party: On the wedding day, the bride and groom, along with their immediate families, gather for the tea ceremony.
  • Preparation of Chinese Tea: The tea, often sweetened with symbolic ingredients like lotus seeds, is prepared in special tea cups.
  • Order of Serving: The couple serves tea, beginning with the family’s most senior members. The typical order is:
    1. Grandparents
    2. Parents
    3. Uncles and Aunties, in order of seniority
    4. Elder Siblings
    5. Elder Cousins (if present)
    6. Younger Siblings
    7. Nieces and Nephews (if present)
  • Serving Method: The bride and groom serve tea to each family member, holding the cup with both hands and addressing them by their formal family titles. They respectfully ask them to drink the tea in the language or dialect most familiar to the relative.
  • Gift Exchange: After drinking the tea, family members present gifts or red envelopes to the couple, symbolising their blessings and good wishes.
  • Flexibility in Tradition: Some families might prefer serving the parents first. This variation is entirely acceptable and respects the unique preferences of each family.

Wedding Tea Ceremony From Rosette Designs

At Rosette Designs, we specialise in bringing the elegance and tradition of the Chinese wedding tea ceremony to life. We offer expert styling and coordination services that blend tradition with modern aesthetics.

Explore our diverse portfolio to discover how we can make your wedding tea ceremony a memorable and exquisite experience.

Conclusion About The Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony

The Chinese wedding tea ceremony stands as a poignant and meaningful tradition in the fabric of your wedding day, elegantly intertwining threads of respect, heritage, and familial bonds. 

From selecting the perfect tea set to understanding the nuances of attire and decor, each aspect contributes to making the tea ceremony memorable for your nuptial celebrations. 

In this journey of blending the old with the new, Rosette Designs can expertly plan a wedding tea ceremony that resonates with your unique story, combining traditional elegance with your personal love story. 

Our in-house styling, decor services, and full planning and coordination ensure that your wedding tea ceremony is seamlessly woven into your special day.

Frequently Asked Questions About Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremonies

Yes, couples can personalise their wedding tea ceremony to reflect their styles and preferences. While traditional elements are often maintained for their cultural significance, modern adaptations are increasingly common. 

This could include unique tea sets, incorporating personal themes or colours, and even blending different cultural elements to reflect the backgrounds of both partners.

A typical wedding tea ceremony can vary, generally lasting between 20 to 30 minutes. The length of the ceremony depends on the number of guests participating and the formalities involved. The ceremony might take longer in larger families with more relatives. 

Yes, a wedding tea ceremony can be held at a venue outside the home. Many couples choose to have their tea ceremony at their wedding venue, such as a hotel or a banquet hall, for convenience, especially when hosting many guests. 

Yes, traditional wedding tea ceremonies often feature red and gold as dominant colours, symbolising luck, happiness, and prosperity in Chinese culture. However, modern ceremonies can incorporate a variety of colour schemes and themes to match the couple’s personal style or wedding palette.

Yes, in traditional wedding tea ceremonies, decorations often include flowers like peonies or lotus, symbolising prosperity, happiness, and fertility. Additionally, elements like double happiness symbols, red lanterns, and intricate fabrics can be used for decor. 

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