Etiquette for a Traditional Chinese Wedding

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The first guest post of 2015 is from the writers from Love Asian Women. They write about dating and marriage in Asia and, following my own “Engagement Diary Part 1”, they share their etiquette tips for a traditional Chinese wedding today! Unfortunately I won’t wear a beautiful red Chinese dress for my Korean/German/American wedding but more on my wedding later…

“The traditional Chinese wedding is beautiful, colorful event with a strict code of etiquette.  The traditions are thousands of years old and the rituals differ based on region.

In the 1980s, China became more open to the western world, and couples began to embrace more American customs, including the traditional white wedding dress. The typical wedding in China has become increasingly indulgent and costly.  Many couples feel like they have to spend more than they may want to in order to keep up with expectations.

Despite the American influence, however, Chinese traditions are still alive and well and many weddings incorporate customs from both worlds.  Chinese traditions are founded in spirituality, especially Confucian teachings.  The wedding rituals and the etiquette observed are important to preserving relationships both in the community and the family.

Here are some popular traditional Chinese wedding traditions that are still commonly practiced


A lucky, or ‘auspicious’ day is chosen for the ceremony.  This assures the couple’s good fortune together.

The dress

In a strictly traditional wedding, the bride wears a red dress with a red or blue headdress.  The attire indicates the sacred nature of the event.  The groom appears wearing traditional robes with sash.


The bride’s home and the reception site are decorated by the families.  Red banners, known as “happiness banners”, are a vital piece of the decor.

The wedding procession

The procession typically consists of an even number of vehicles.  Fireworks may be set off to indicate a celebration is underway.

Chinese wedding door game

The groom and his attendants arrive at the bride’s home, where they are met at the door by the bridesmaids.  The groom will not be allowed to enter until he satisfies a series of challenges preferred by the bridesmaids.

The escort

A senior female relative of the bride walks her to the wedding vehicle.  In the case of inclement weather, the escort will carry an umbrella to protect her.

Letting go and well wishing

As the wedding vehicle carries the bride away, the family pours out a bowl of water and scatters rice.  This act is a symbolic gesture of wishing the couple well and letting the bride go into her new life.

The tea ceremony

The bride serves tea to the relatives in order of seniority.  The family members in turn give Li Shi money in red envelopes or other gifts.  At the end of the ritual, the wedding party continues to the banquet venue.

The banquet

The reception and banquet are extravagant affairs consisting of as many as 10 different courses.  Ceremonies include the bride serving tea or wine to family members and other guests.

The farewell

At the end of the reception, the couple stands at the door of the venue to bid their guests farewell.

The teasing

The end of the reception isn’t the end of the traditions.  Many newlywed couples find themselves the targets of lighthearted pranks by close friends and family late at night.


So we have listed above some key things you should for a Chinese wedding. 

Trust me it’s always the best for you to be prepared in advance. Hope they are helpful for you and enjoy!”


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Linda has been living in Asia since 2012 and loves sharing her travel and life experiences on her website. She currently works remotely in Online Marketing and also teaches various English classes in South Korea.

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