In contrast to the elaborate rituals an actual Chinese wedding ceremony is quite straight-forward.
The official at your wedding will direct you to pray to heaven and earth, Deities such as the jade emperor, Buddha and deceased ancestors and finally ask you to bow to each other.
This serves as the binding act of marriage.
It can take place at a beautiful beach side Chinse temple in Samui on its own or alongside your choice of traditions like a Chinese Tea Ceremony.
Modern Chinese weddings usually skip the ancient ritual of the three prayers and without these it is the tea ceremony which is the most significant event in a modern Chinese wedding.
Other traditions and wedding rituals for you to choose from that will make up aspects of your Chinese wedding in Thailand include -
The Nuptial Chamber
After the ceremony, you will be led to a decorated bedroom to sit on the bed to drink wine mixed with honey from two goblets linked by a red thread.
A few sips are to be taken and then the cups are to be exchanged and fully drunk. The room will be open to your guests who are welcome to come in and congratulate you.
After this you are welcome to take a rest and for the bride to change outfits before the Tea Ceremony.
Chinese Tea Ceremony
This ancient tradition is the equivalent of your wedding vows in the western world and is the most significant tradition as part of modern Chinese weddings.
Although not usually practiced these days, the three prayers can also be incorporated into this ceremony and you can bow three times to the heaven and earth, ancestors & parents and then to each other prior to serving the tea.
Holding the tea cup in both hands, while either kneeling or bowing; the bride will present the tea to her new parents in law, then her own parents and finally both sets of relatives (in sequence of their seniority).
There are also families that prefer to serve grandparents tea before the parents and within each generation, dad’s relatives are served before mum’s relatives.
The bride will stand to the right of the groom. The male elder being served will sit facing the bride and the female elder will sit facing the groom.
Those who receive tea often give the bride gifts such as jewelry or money wrapped in a red envelope. Li Shi money usually comes in denominations of 99 or 999 as it is equivalent to “long and forever.”
You can add a second tea ceremony if you want to stick with tradition with a first one held in the morning for the grooms family and the afternoon ceremony for the brides.
Tea assistants should be a female relative of the grooms or another helper blessed with a happy marriage, wealth or appointed by the bride's mother.
The brides parents will usually pay for the tea set as part of the dowry and a meaningful keepsake of the wedding to use again when your own daughter gets married in the future.
Popular designs for these tea sets include double joy, dragon and phoenix, peony or other flower motifs and gold trimmings. The tea pot come in various sizes and are either round or oval. Usually four tea cups and a serving tray complete the set.The Tea
Tea is significant in Chinese wedding ceremonies because it is China’s national drink and serving it is a sign of respect. Any sweet tea, symbolizing sweetness in the new union is suitable and we can provide your choice of teas in a tea Set available for use, if required.
The Procession from the Groom’s House to Obtain the Bride.
Firecrackers, gongs and drums mark the start of the procession from the groom’s home.
The groom can lead the procession (accompanied by a child as an omen of his future sons, if desired). This includes an accompaniment of traditional musician’s dressed in costume.
Chinese Wedding Door Game
Once the groom has arrived to brides home, there is a game her friends can play by blocking the door to his entrance. This tradition stems from ancient times when family and friends did not want to bride to be married away from them.
At the door way, they can ask questions about the bride, as a way to test if he really cares about and knows her. They can also play tricks to delay the bride's leaving. The groom can try to buy his way in by presenting "Li Shi", token money in red envelopes. The Door game is a joyous and good-natured "bargain" game that can be a lot fun.
Once satisfied by the Grooms answers and offers, the girls will be given two wine goblets wrapped in red paper along with chopsticks to present to the groom, gifts that are symbolic of their acceptance of him.
After this, the groom is permitted to see the bride, lift her veil and kiss her ... or there good be further fun still, with the bridal procession.
The Bride’s Journey to the Groom’s House
When the bride finally departs her room, a red umbrella will be provided for the bridesmaid to hold for her.
Once raised, this traditional aspect of a Chinese wedding procession says “raise the bark, spread the leaves." It is also protects the bride from any evil spirits and there will be rice, red and green beans for relatives to scatter over her and to attract the attention of the gold chicken!
Arriving at the Groom’s House
When the bride arrives to the grooms home, there will be more firecrackers, music, gongs and drums.
If required, a lit charcoal can also be provided for the bride to leap over before meeting the groom, which is a ritual to bring prosperity and keep evil spirits away.
After all these rituals take place, the groom can finally raise the red scarf or veil to view the brides face.
The Shoulder Carriage
It was traditional as part of the wedding procession for the bride to be carried by in a decorated carriage.
The Bridal ‘Sedan’ Chair, decorated ornately and covered in red satin and fresh flowers can also be made available here.
As per tradition, there will be a sieve, to strain out evil and a metallic mirror to reflect the light and suspended at the rear of the shoulder carriage to protect the bride. The carriage is also curtained to prevent the brides glimpsing of any unlucky sights such as a widow, a well or a cat.
A red mat will be placed on the ground for her departure from the carriage and towards her new groom.
This ride is symbolic of the transfer from the brides family to the grooms.
Dancing Chinese Lion Parade
A team of performers to lead your procession in the traditional Chinese way, dressed in dragon costume.
Bride’s home - early morning
The bride and her family awaken early and enjoy a small meal, traditionally rice or a sweet dessert. This “Sibling Feast” is the bride’s chance to say goodbye to her family and for them to wish her a happy life.
The groom awakens early and takes a normal breakfast. After the Sibling Feast, the female relatives (and/or bridesmaids) help do her hair and makeup, and her parents put on her veil. Some brides also host a tea ceremony for their parents during this time.
The "Hair Dressing" Ritual for the Bride
This symbolizes the initiation into adulthood and is an important part of wedding preparations.
In the morning, the bride will be provided with a bath infused with pomelo & grapefruit apparently not only to cleanse her of evil influences, but also for the AHA’s that will soften her skin beforehand.
After her bath, she will be seated before lit red Chinese candles that represent eternal happiness, to have her hair styled by one of the best female hairdressing artists available on the island.
In accordance with tradition, she can also choose at this time whether to don red shoes and veil before awaiting the grooms procession to her door.
Chinese Wedding Night Ritual
The night of the wedding, the bridal room will light dragon & phoenix candles to drive away the evil spirit. This is a Chinese version of the unity candle ceremony.
The newlyweds will also drink wine from two cups tied together with a red string with their arms entwined.
Chinese Wedding Receptions
Most receptions are elaborate banquets with all sorts of toasts, gift exchanges and the bridal costume changes.
Some couples have a cocktail reception instead of a banquet but the food served at banquets usually includes:
Fish (abundance & wealth), Roast Suckling Pig (usually served whole), Chicken (symbolic of the Phoenix, cooked in red oil), Lobster (symbolic of the Dragon, when served with chicken they represent Yin & Yang) plus Dragon & Phoenix Wedding Cakes
Sample Order of Events
It is also customary for Chinese brides to change outfits at least three times during the reception and have separate seating for men and women. Guests often bring cash gifts wrapped in red envelopes.
Chinese Tea Ceremony at the beautiful the beautiful, beachside Chinese Temple in Maenam. Includes keepsake certificate and Chinese officiant. Additional ceremonies can be organized as required.