There is no general Asian wedding per se, since Asia is a continent comprised of a number of countries, such as India, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, China, Japan, South Korea, and so on. But amongst all the Asian countries, China has arguably had the most influence, imparting its food, culture, and beliefs to its Asian neighbours in more ways than one. Because of this, certain Chinese wedding elements are incorporated into the wedding traditions of different countries. But if you want to plan and organise an authentic Chinese wedding, and have a successful party then here’s what you need to know.
Begin with the engagement
Many Chinese couples today follow the Westernised version of an engagement, but there are some Chinese traditions that are still observed. One is the ‘engagement gift’ sent by the family of the groom to the family of the bride, and it includes cakes and other types of food. Additionally, the couple meets with a fortune teller who will help the couples’ families confirm if the couple is really compatible. The fortune teller analyses the couples’ compatibility using names, times of birth, and birth dates. Afterwards, the couple can set a wedding date.
The perfect dress is the goal of many Chinese women. In fact, it’s not just one dress – it’s three dresses. The most traditional of the three wedding dresses is the qipao, and this kind of dress has been worn by Chinese brides since the 1600s. The bride will often wear a red-coloured qipao, then a white wedding gown in the Western style, and then another gown for the rest of the evening. If you want, you can opt to have a fourth wedding dress, which is usually worn when saying goodbye to the wedding guests.
Wedding invitations are red in colour and are also placed in red envelopes. Don’t be confused between red envelopes for money gifts and red envelopes for weddings, however – red envelopes for weddings are often longer and wider. The text on the invitation is in gold, and the invitations are usually sent out only a few weeks or even days prior to the wedding. The character for double happiness, shuangxi, is also often included in the invitation.
The décor at an authentic Chinese wedding is, more often than not, provided by the venue itself. Of course, if you are getting married outside China, say, in the UK, you may have to specify the type of décor you want to the wedding organiser, whom you can also task with finding ideal Asian wedding venues. Typical décor includes the character signifying happiness, which is placed upside down, and also candles, flowers, and lights, just like in Western weddings. Venues may also need to have a stage where the couple can stand prior to the start of the reception whilst toasts are made.