Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony Guide 101

Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony Guide 101

Do you want to honor your Asian heritage by adding a Chinese tea ceremony party to your wedding day? 

The easiest way is to find a wedding planner who specializes in multicultural weddings in your desired area, starting with your venue’s preferred vendor lists. Wedding vendors need to work extremely hard to get on a venue’s preferred list. She or he will have the full list of vendors who can help you plan a perfect Chinese wedding.

The next step is to talk to your family members and see if there is any tradition that your family hopes to keep. Have a Pinterest board or inspirational mood board to share with the planner about your preferred colors, theme and steps to be included in the ceremony. 

Plan your day and see how much time you will have for the day to complete the tea ceremony. The tea ceremony is a significant part of Chinese wedding traditions, symbolizing respect, gratitude, and the joining of families. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you plan and understand the wedding traditions:

Setting the Stage:

  • Choose a location for the tea ceremony, which is typically held at the bride's home or at the wedding venue. Speak to the wedding venue, and make sure you will have enough time to set everything up.
  • Set up an altar or table with a red tablecloth, traditional tea set, and appropriate decorations such as flowers, fruits, or candles.
  • Place two chairs at the front of the altar for the couple to sit on.

Tea Selection:

  • Generally, ordinary Tieguanyin or Pu'er tea can be used for tea. Put a pair of unpeeled lotus seeds in each cup of tea, which means a happy knot, and put a pair of red dates, which means good luck and early birth, which means a good omen.
  • Prepare two teapots—one for the bride's family and one for the groom's family. In the selection of tea sets, the old-fashioned tea bowl is generally used. The color is preferably simple and elegant or festive monochrome. At the same time, patterns such as longevity, Dulong, green pines and cypresses should be avoided. There will usually be a special photographer to record the tea ceremony Therefore, you must not be sloppy in the choice of tea sets. Remember to use red tea cups suitable for weddings, and you cannot use red or white paper cups instead.

Chinese tea ceremony tea set

Order of Service:

  • The groom’s parents are traditionally served first, followed by the bride's parents, and then other elders and relatives in order of seniority.
  • Discuss with your families if there are any specific requests or variations in the order.

Serving the Tea:

  • The couple should kneel or stand in front of the parents or elder relatives they are serving. 
  • When offering tea, most couples will prepare two red or gold kneeling mats. If you have a grandma or mother who passed it down when you got married, it will be better, and it has a beautiful meaning of inheritance. You can also choose to buy it by yourself. Patterns such as "double happiness", "Hundred Years of Harmony", and "Beautiful Marriage" are all good choices.
  • Hold the tea cups with both hands and present them with a slight bow.
  • Address the recipient using the appropriate title (e.g., "Auntie," "Uncle," or formal titles if applicable).
  • Serve the tea with both hands, offering it to the elder with the higher-ranking side of the family first (e.g., groom's side).
  • The recipient should accept the tea, offer blessings, and may present a red envelope (hongbao) containing a gift or money to the couple.
  • Pull the tea about 70% full and make sure the water temperature is appropriate to drink immediately.

madam shanghai chinese tea ceremony guide

Receiving Blessings:

  • After serving tea to each person, the couple should receive blessings and well wishes.
  • It is customary for the elders to give marital advice and share their blessings for a happy and prosperous marriage.
  • Express gratitude to each person for their blessings and gifts.

Respecting Ancestors:

  • In some families, a portion of the tea ceremony may be dedicated to honoring ancestors.
  • This may involve offering tea to a shrine or altar with photos or representations of deceased family members while paying respects and expressing gratitude.
  • Getting family names embroidered with your wedding attire is a perfect way of respecting ancestors.

Exchanging Rings or Gifts:

  • Some couples choose to exchange rings or gifts with each other during the tea ceremony as a symbol of their love and commitment.
  • This can be done after serving tea to the parents or at another appropriate moment within the ceremony.

Chinese tea ceremony red envelop

Documentation and Photography:

  • Ensure that the tea ceremony is well-documented through wedding photography or videography to capture these special moments and memories.

In summary, once you have your venue booked in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, New York (NYC), Seattle, Miami, Orange County, talk to a local preferred wedding planner and hair, Asian makeup artists or wedding photographer.