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How to attend your first Chinese wedding
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▷ 🥇 How to attend your first Chinese wedding

Photo by Will Pursell

A Chinese wedding in the United States generally includes a mixture of Chinese and United States traditions. While more western customs will be easy to spot, you are likely unfamiliar with some of the traditional aspects of Chinese weddings. Scroll down to learn what to wear, what to gift, and what to expect at your first Chinese wedding.

Here are some Chinese wedding customs that first-time guests should know.

What to wear for a Chinese wedding

There are a couple of rules when it comes to what to wear to a Chinese wedding. The first is to avoid the colors red, black and white. White is always a no-no at weddings for anyone other than the couple, but at a Chinese wedding you’ll also want to veto any clothing with red and black, too. Both black and white represent mourning in Chinese culture.

“You should also avoid red, as it is reserved for the bride,” explains Katherine Hoggard of Events by Katherine. “Good colors are pink, peach, purple, orange, and yellow.”

You’ll also want to dress modestly with your shoulders, chest, and thighs covered.

What customs to expect at a Chinese wedding

The tea ceremony: This symbolic tradition is most closely associated with Chinese weddings, and many Chinese-American couples choose to include it in their ceremonies. Dressed in silk suits or dresses, the couple sit on mats on the floor and serve cups of tea for family members and important guests. This gesture is a way of honoring the couple’s family and those closest to the wedding.

Traditional food: Chinese weddings include a traditional eight-course banquet. Food is brought to guests “family style” on large trays, and each guest is expected to serve their own food on them. While Chinese-American couples may choose to mix traditional and western food, some of the traditional dishes at Chinese weddings are lobster and chicken to represent the couple’s yin and yang, scallops to symbolize fertility. of the couple, duck them to wish the couple a peaceful marriage and the noodles as a symbol of longevity in their marriage. Chinese wedding etiquette dictates that guests do not leave before the last course is served.

The Lion Dance: Lions symbolize good luck in Chinese culture and in the cultures of other Asian countries as well. The Lion Dance is often performed at important Chinese ceremonies, including weddings, and features two dancers in colorful lion costumes that mimic the movements of the animal. The accompanying music is festive with a distinct drum beat and cymbals. This custom will normally take place during the wedding reception.

Chinese Wedding Guest Label

Beyond the etiquette of what to wear and when it is considered polite to leave the wedding, there is also some etiquette about gift-giving at a Chinese wedding. While your friends may have signed up to receive gifts, if they haven’t, the usual gift is money in a red envelope. Feel free to fill the envelope with cash, a check, or a gift card.

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