Wedding Resources

Modern Chinese Wedding: Tea Ceremony

July 21, 2020
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Modern Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony bride holding tea cups
Photography: Seal on Heart Photography

When someone thinks about a wedding and the different event or activities that take place on that day, what do you think of? Some might think of it as signing papers or eloping, others may think of a full ceremony and reception. In general, these are the typical events that take place for a western wedding.

There are many cultures that include other aspects that are traditionally important for the wedding day. Perhaps its something more simple like in Italy, where they have la serenata when the groom serenades the bride the night before the wedding as a means of celebration. On the other hand, maybe it’s an extended wedding celebration like an Indian wedding with their 3 day long festivities. 

Chinese wedding traditions

For Chinese weddings, there are many traditions that are unique to its culture. Some are more complicated and some are no longer practiced. One of the most important one and perhaps most commonly practiced one, is the wedding tea ceremony. But like many traditions in various cultures, they tend to be forgotten or no longer done. Sometimes it’s because the reason to do the traditions no longer exists because of the modern conveniences, and sometimes it’s because people don’t find it necessary or meaningful anymore. 

Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony

When we work with Chinese couples, many of them ask us about the Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony. Many of them have already decided to have it as part of their wedding celebrations, but others wonder if they need to. So whenever our couple asks us “Should I have a wedding tea ceremony?”, we typically ask them to think about these 2 things. 

1. Do you want one?

One of the most important questions is, do you or your bride/groom want a Chinese Tea ceremony. Maybe it’s something that’s not important to you, but you want to have some sort of Chinese Tradition elements in your wedding day and tea ceremony seems to be the easiest. Or maybe your other half isn’t Chinese and you’re not sure if their family will be comfortable with having one.

Our suggestion for couples is to discuss and think about this together as a couple. The awkwardness that may happen when it’s between an interracial couple or the lack of time on the wedding day are all things that can be figured out and prepared in advanced. But it’s important to think if this is something that is meaningful for you both.

Is this something that you want as a way to honour your culture and traditions? Is it something you want as a memory from your wedding day? Regardless of the answer that the couple decides on, we ask them to also think about our second point. 

2. Do your parents want one?

While a wedding is a celebration of two people coming together in union and their love for each other, it is also about two families joining together. Therefore, it is important to know if your parents or even grandparents want to have a tea ceremony. Especially for a tea ceremony, where the meaning behind it is to honour and show gratitude to those who have loved and supported you over the years.

We always encourage our couples to speak with their parents about this. Sometimes the couple may think their parents are fine without having one but in reality, that is one of the most important aspects to them. A quick example of this is a couple we knew got married and they didn’t do the Chinese Tea Ceremony because they thought their parents have been in North America for so long they didn’t need one. However, after the wedding, their parents started to express their sadness and disappointment of not having the tea ceremony.

Even though it’s been a few years now, we often hear the parents make a comment about how they didn’t get to ‘drink the tea’ at the wedding.  We’re not saying that this is the case for every parent, but we just think it’s good to have an open communication with both sides of the parents.

Sometimes, maybe the parents don’t want to burden their children with their request, and sometimes they don’t know how to bring it up. Spend some time knowing what your parents are hoping for and if this tea ceremony or other tradition is something they are looking forward to at the wedding. 

Should I have a tea ceremony at my wedding?

Maybe you are still unsure whether you should have one or not. We put together this fun quiz below so hopefully it can help you decide whether or not you should include one.


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