Weddings are a vital part of Chinese culture and arguably one area when the symbolism and traditions often seen in Chinese culture can be accessed most easily by those looking to connect with China.
There are SO many fun cultures and traditions connected with weddings in China, and if you included wedding cultures specific to different minority ethnic groups in China, the list would be longer than we could fit in this guide. So instead, we’re prepared this resource: Top things you should know before attending a Chinese Wedding.
*this page features wedding dresses you can actually buy, but they’re authentic and beautiful so they’re worth checking out!
Dragon and Phoenix Cloth
The dragon and the phoenix aren’t only iconic mythical creatures that can be seen in a TON of places in China (especially temples, public parks, etc), but have a special significance for weddings.
The dragon is thought to be a symbol of masculinity. It is believed to be the kindest of the animals (which can be seen in the story of the Animals of the Chinese Zodiac) and is strong.
The phoenix represents femininity – with life coming from nothing, of grace and beauty.
The two together are believed to represent happiness, strength and prosperity.
This cloth is designed for weddings and can be used as a traditional face covering so the groom can ‘discover’ the beauty of the bride, or to lay on a tray where fruit or candies are served.
Wedding invitation and bag for candies
This beautiful invitation lets you see what an actual Chinese wedding invitation looks like.
The red color is significant as it represents luck in Chinese culture and the character shown on both the gift bag and the invitation is ‘double happiness’.
Chinese people believe that when families are created, joy is added to joy which is why it’s known as double happiness and also why it’s a symbol most commonly associated with weddings.
(The same applies to the fruit plate and the ceramic ornament which feature the same character).
Dressing up Bridal Headdress
Did you or any of your children ever have a dressing up white bridal veil? This is exactly the same concept but in a Chinese bridal headdress!
A similar style head-dress is worn in many Chinese period dramas, so they’re also appropriate for dressing up as a character in ancient China.
Wedding Teasing Game
The culture of wedding teasing is an INCREDIBLY important (and usually, fun) part of weddings in China.
This particular ‘wedding teasing’ item is simply a blindfold with fun eyes. The challenge is to tasks blindfolded – the more difficult, the better.
The example shown is putting lipstick on someone else, but other similar ideas include:
- Pouring a drink while blindfolded
- Signing a wedding certificate
- Doing someone else’s hair
Weddings and white lilies
In Chinese the word for lily is 百合 bǎi hé.
They’re the same first and last characters used in this beautiful and traditional wedding blessing:
百年好合 bǎi nián hǎo hé
“May you live a hundred years in perfect union.”
It’s so common to see white lilies at weddings because it’s a subtle and lovely way to wish people a lifetime of happiness together.
We hope your family enjoys learning about Chinese weddings and the activities and traditions associated with it!