Chinese Wedding Traditions

We worked on a Chinese-Kenyan wedding last December in Hong Kong.  The Bride wore a beautiful kwa with incredible detailing (pictured above).   A dragon and a phoenix were embroidered in gold onto a red cloth.

The morning of the wedding the Groom and his Groomsmen travelled to the Bride's home for the always hilarious door games.  The Bride was hidden away in one of the rooms in the house.  The Groom and his Groomsmen had to pass a series of tests set by the Bridesmaids before the Groom could see his Bride.  These sometimes involve physical tests and eating weird things, but more often than not, they are asked to do something embarrassing.  (Note to the Groomsmen - be nice to the Bridesmaids).  The Groomsmen also had to give the Bridesmaids red packets (lai see or hong bao) with money.  The amount of money included the number 9, as 9 in Chinese represents eternity.

The tea ceremony followed with the Bride and Groom serving tea to their families as a sign of respect.  This usually starts with parents or grandparents and is followed by uncles and aunts and then elder siblings and cousins.  In traditional families, the Bride and Groom kneel on cushions to serve the tea.  In modern families the Bride and Groom serve tea while standing.  Family members gave the Bride and Groom red packets and gold jewelry in return.

The Chinese banquet involved 12 courses!  The courses at a formal dinner are served sequentially, like a tasting dinner.  Usually a delicious selection of meat, seafood and vegetables are served, ending with noodles or rice.  The thought is that you should be so full by the last few courses that you cannot finish your noodles or rice.  It is better manners to leave some, so your hosts know that you have been well fed.  (This part I personally find very difficult....I love my rice and noodles).

Photography by Ang Weddings and Events