Chinese Tea Ceremony Steps & Etiquette:
In Chinese wedding traditions, a groom will pick up his new bride in the early mornings to attend their first tea ceremony; which is held at the groom’s house. There is then a second tea ceremony at the bride’s house.
The couple is expected to serve tea to the elders in the family and is served tea by the younger siblings. The relatives will be served according to seniority, and the couple should serve the male relative before the female relative.
The couple would kneel in front of their relatives on top of red cushions. The groom will be on the right side while the bride will be on the left. Female relatives should sit in front of the groom while male relatives sit in front of the bride.
The dress worn by the bride is usually the Chinese tea ceremony dress / Chinese wedding dress specially made for this auspicious day.
The Order in Which to Serve the Family Is:
- – Parents (It’s important to note that some families might prefer for the grandparents to be served first!)
- – Grandparents
- – Uncles/Aunties
- – Elder siblings
- – Elder cousins (if present)
- – Younger siblings
- – Nephews/nieces
While serving tea, serving etiquette should be observed, both to ensure respect and that nobody gets injured if the tea cup is too hot. When serving the tea, serve with two hands holding the saucer while bowing slightly forward. When you are receiving the tea, make sure to hold the saucer instead of the cup because it may be hot! The most traditional and authentic way to drink the tea is to use the saucer to move the cup close to your mouth and then drink. Once they’ve drunk the tea, take back the cup with two hands by holding the saucer.
After each round of tea servings/offering, gifts will usually be given to the couple, either in the form of money “red envelopes” or jewelry. The tea ceremony is completed once all the relatives from both families have been served. Modern customs changed quite a bit, steps should reflect the value of each family, therefore the extensiveness and strictness of steps are very different per family.