Essential Things For Going To a Chinese Wedding
If you’ve been invited to a Chinese wedding, you’re about to experience a beautiful cultural tradition that infuses the best of historic charm and modern celebrations. You will observe a touching love story come to life before your very eyes as you take in the bonds that bring us all together.
You’ll also note, however, several key differences between Chinese weddings and those you’ve attended in other countries. These differences should not be cause for alarm, but it’s critical that you make an effort to abide by local customs. Your failure to do so could cause grave offense on an important day. Keep the following in mind as you prepare for the wedding experience of a lifetime:
Don’t Be Offended If You’re Not Invited to the Ceremony
Unless you are a bridesmaid or one of your close family members is getting married, you probably will not attend the actual ceremony. In China, traditional wedding ceremonies are very small, although larger Western-style ceremonies are beginning to grow in popularity.
For a traditional affair, the fun begins early in the morning, when the groom attempts to pick up the bride at her parents’ house. The bridesmaids play light-hearted games to prevent this from happening.
Once the groom has completed all challenges set before him, he and his betrothed attend tea ceremonies with both sides of the family. A banquet follows later in the day; if you’re like most guests, you will skip the ceremony and attend this festive event.
Don’t Wear Red, White, or Black
Choosing wedding attire is difficult enough when you’re home, but you’ll find additional restrictions when you visit China. Thankfully, some of these are familiar. In the West, for example, it’s common courtesy not to wear white when attending a wedding.
White should also be avoided in China, as should black and red. As in the West, black symbolizes death or mourning. Red is to be avoided because it’s often the color of choice for the bride. All other colors are acceptable, as are black and white accents. Non-red warm tones such as shades of pink or yellow are encouraged, as these demonstrate your support of the couple.
While this rule technically applies at weddings throughout the world, what guests define as modest can vary from one region to the next. In China, it’s best to play it safe during formal occasions. When in doubt, plan to cover your chest, shoulders, and thighs.
Bring Cash Instead of a Physical Gift
Cash may seem like a tacky gift in some countries, but in China, the reverse rule applies: guests rarely bring physical objects. Instead of searching for the right item on a gift registry, expect to bring at least enough cash to account for your dinner. This should be delivered in a red envelope. Avoid dollar amounts containing multiples of four, as this is deemed an unlucky number throughout China.
As with any wedding, Chinese nuptials are a cause for joy and celebration. Abide by a few local customs, and you are bound to have a wonderful time. Embrace this exciting experience — this is an amazing opportunity to take in Chinese culture at its best.