How to Plan The Perfect Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony​​​

How to Plan The Perfect Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony​​​

The wedding tea ceremony holds the highest honour, and is one of the most celebrated and essential customs in Chinese culture. This revered tradition is an opportunity for newlyweds to show respect to their elders in their families while they acknowledge the union of the newlyweds.

In Chinese culture, “drinking the daughter-in-law’s tea” is an idiom used to refer to a wedding, illustrating the tea ceremony’s pivotal role. This timeless and luxurious Chinese tea ceremony is a beautiful way for couples to honour and uphold their families and traditions.

If you’ve been invited to a Chinese tea ceremony or want to host one at your wedding, here’s all you need to know about this ageless ceremony. This guide gives you everything you need to know about the Chinese tea ceremony tradition.

What is the Chinese Tea Wedding Ceremony?

If you have been looking up ‘Chinese wedding tea ceremony explained,’ here’s your quick preview. The Chinese tea ceremony is a beautiful and meaningful ritual that is integral to the traditional wedding day. On this day, the couple comes together to honour their parents and in-laws by serving them tea.

It symbolises the union of two families and typically takes place in the home of both the bride and groom’s family. The tea ceremony is a special part of the day that celebrates the joining of two families and marks the start of a new journey together.

The bride was ready for Chinese tea ceremony

Traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony

Ancient Chinese tea ceremony dates back to the Tang dynasty in China (618-907). With tea being such a significant part of the culture in China, it is no wonder that the highest importance is given to the tea ceremony Chinese wedding. Yet, the Chinese tea ceremony wedding is more than just a way to enjoy a cup of tea.

According to the writings of the writer from China, Ying Lang (1487-1566), in his book “Seven Revisions,” tea was seen as a symbol of faithfulness from a woman to her betrothed. In those days, it was believed that the tea plant could not survive a transplant and was, therefore, part of the woman’s dowry.

In this way, the tea ceremony wedding was a way to show faithfulness and devotion to the one you were to marry. Today, a modern Chinese wedding tea ceremony is often seen as a symbolic gesture of welcome, acceptance and gratitude between families.

The act of sharing tea together is an acknowledgement and acceptance of the new family member into the fold. The tea ceremony also expresses gratitude from the couple, as they demonstrate their respect and admiration by serving tea to their new family’s elders.

Traditional Chinese cups and tray for tea ceremony

How Did Tea Become a Part of Chinese Weddings?

Tea has always been a treasured part of Chinese pre-wedding traditions, used to express consent and acceptance. The groom’s family present the bride’s family with a luxurious collection of betrothal gifts, including the time-honoured tradition of tea.

As a sign of their consent and blessing of the union, the bride’s family accepts the tea and then presents a whole set of gifts to the groom’s side. This special exchange of tea is a symbol of love and loyalty that will last through the generations.

However, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment when tea became a lavish part of Chinese dowries. But its earliest written record can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907). In 641 AD, tea was famously part of the dowry list of Princess Wencheng when she married the Tibetan emperor Songtsän Gampo.

From then on, tea-giving became a luxurious and essential part of marriage proceedings. Tea was a necessary part of the betrothal gifts, even for the less privileged.

Moreover, tea drinking was a grand tradition during the Song Dynasty, so it was also necessary for entertaining wedding guests. Enjoying a cup of sumptuous tea was integral to the wedding celebrations.

Chinese Tea Ceremony Wedding Dress

The bride’s look for the tea ceremony is all about luxurious extravagance. It’s customary for her to wear a stunning red satin or silk dress, accentuated by golden accents and jewellery. You can also opt for a traditional cheongsam for the tea ceremony.

For the groom, it’s the perfect occasion to don a stylish traditional Chinese red mandarin collar jacket and pants, or if you prefer something more modern, a handsome suit paired with a vibrant red tie. Make sure to look your absolute best for this special event in your lives.

For guests of a tea ceremony, you don’t have to worry about finding the perfect formal attire. The couple hosting the ceremony will be dressed in their best, but it’s really up to you to decide the way you’d like to present yourself.

An elegant outfit for the event is highly recommended if you want to make a grand entrance. From beautiful gowns to sophisticated suits, your luxurious style will be sure to turn heads!

The bride was wearing red Chinese tea ceremony wedding dress

Chinese Tea Ceremony Steps

Traditionally, the Chinese tea wedding ceremony for the groom’s family was carried out in the morning. In contrast, the ceremony for the bride was done in the afternoon upon completion of her home visit. Nowadays, newlyweds often opt for a single ceremony for both sides.

If you’re new to this tradition and need some guidance, we’ve put together a comprehensive tea ceremony script to ensure everything runs smoothly. This step-by-step guide ensures a successful and meaningful experience for all involved.

Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony Etiquettes

The tea culture in China is highly esteemed and respected, so it is natural to expect certain etiquettes to be observed. If you have never attended a China tea ceremony before, these tips will surely help you!
Chinese Tea Ceremony Set Up

You might be wondering that a traditional Chinese tea ceremony set up has several rules and heavy decor. But in reality, it’s a minimalistic set up that doesn’t require hours of preparation, reflective of the intimacy of the ceremony.

The Chinese tea ceremony will require an altar or a table with an exhibit of photos and candles to remember and honour the family’s ancestors. The bride and groom jointly host many modern Chinese tea ceremonies. In this case, you may have two ancestral altars at the ceremony.

Each family member is honoured by lighting two wedding candles – one with a phoenix motif and one with a dragon motif – representing each family. To symbolise the union of the two families, you may also choose to light a candle with your significant other.

The altar is usually filled with offerings such as white flowers, fruits such as longans, burning incense and offertory wine, along with some tea. Take your pick from various teas such as black dragon, classic green tea or orange blossom.

As observed in most traditional Chinese tea ceremonies, the tea is served with a pairing of traditional ingredients such as red dates and lotus stems. This combination represents the sweetness of marriage and a hopeful future for the couple.

At a traditional Chinese wedding tea ceremony, the groom should stand to the bride’s right, and their parents should be seated in chairs, waiting for the new couple to kneel and serve each other tea. This gesture symbolises the mutual respect and love, between husband and wife while reflecting their willingness to be there for one another.

Serving Etiquette at a Tea Ceremony China

These days, there is no strict rule for serving tea at a wedding, but traditionally, it was served to the groom’s family first, followed by the bride’s family. This was because, historically, the bride was viewed as part of the groom’s family and was welcomed and accepted by them first. While this is an outdated practice, it is still a fine way to honour tradition.

There is no strict rule at a modern tea ceremony that’s flexible to changes in tradition, so you are free to choose whichever order you prefer. However, there are some basic practices of an Asian tea ceremony that is still observed. This includes:

  • When serving tea, use two hands to hold the saucer and bow slightly forward (or kneel).

  • To show respect, make sure parents don’t have to move or stand up to receive the tea.

  • Important: those receiving the tea should not hold the cup, but the saucer, as the teacup itself can be hot. It’s recommended to let everyone know this in advance.

  • To provide a pleasant experience, educate people on how to drink from a cup. The most traditional way is to hold the saucer to move the cup close to your mouth. Then lift the lid slightly to one side and drink. Be sure to hold the nob on the lid, which isn’t hot.

  • After they’ve had their tea, take back the cup with two hands, once again, by holding the saucer.

  • Finally, present any gifts you may have.

Preparing The Tea

Ensuring a perfect cup of tea is served by the bride and groom to their guests on their special day takes a lot of coordination in the kitchen. To make sure it runs smoothly, bridesmaids typically take on the roles of preppers, runners, and servers – ensuring the tea is prepared and delivered without a hitch!

Have a hassle-free Chinese wedding tea ceremony by mapping out all the roles and responsibilities and distributing them amongst your loyal handymen!

Gifting at The Tea Ceremony

If you’ve been invited to a Chinese wedding, you might be wondering what the perfect gift to give is. After the tea ceremony, it is a part of customs in China to present gifts to the bride and groom in the form of red envelopes containing money.

These red envelopes are also called ‘lai see’ in Hong Kong and the Guangdong province, while in other areas in China, they’re known as ‘hong bao’. The amount of money that you should put in the envelope can widely range from 50 to 500 USD. So don’t worry, you really don’t have to stress about finding the perfect gift for the newlyweds.

Offering gifts a the tea ceremony

Jewellery Gifts

Parents, grandparents, and other closely related relatives often give jewellery as a gift to the married couple. To express their gratitude, the couple should wear the jewellery immediately. Doing so is a sign of appreciation to all those who have given the gift.

Don’t forget the younger siblings and cousins who help serve tea during the wedding. These “helpers” will be blessed with a happy marriage or abundant wealth. As a token of appreciation, they are usually given lucky red envelopes filled with money.

Planning the Tea Ceremony

When planning a luxurious tea ceremony, it is necessary that you speak to your respective families about who you want to invite to this close-knit wedding ceremony. Decide on the perfect attendance and the most ideal location for the ceremony. Unlike some other Chinese wedding customs, the tea ceremony will take place during the wedding day.

There may be some customs that you have to observe. Much of that goes into planning, so speak to your families and elders to learn more about seating arrangements and ceremony etiquette.

Although there are no significant rules to follow regarding the seating arrangement for the couple, it is observed that the bride and groom sit facing the direction of relatives of their respective gender. This intimate ceremony begins with the groom serving tea to his father and mother, followed by the bride serving tea to her in-laws. The same order is maintained for grandparents and the remaining guests.

According to Chinese customs, expressing respect to your elders is given the highest importance. Their practices reflect this ideology, as do the rituals of traditional Chinese weddings. For instance, elders are addressed with kinship terms during the Chinese tea ceremony while being served a cup of tea with both hands. A Chinese tea ceremony is an auspicious event, so it is important that you observe the required customs to perform the ceremony.


Q1. What to say during tea ceremony

Ans. People of China are very respectful and courteous in their communication with each other. Especially to their elders, their communication involves the use of kinship terms to express their respect. It’s no surprise that being respectful and saying the right things when performing Chinese wedding traditions, such as the tea ceremony, is important.

Therefore, always greet your family members in the most luxurious of tones, using the most respectful and affectionate of kinship terms. Present the teacup with both hands, and with a gracious smile, say to each of them, “[Kinship term], it is my pleasure to serve you this tea. Please, enjoy it to the fullest.”

Ideally, this is said in Mandarin or Cantonese, so it’ll be helpful to pick up a few common sayings before your wedding day. As a guest, it’ll help you fit in even better.

Q2. What is a tea ceremony wedding

Ans. If you are wondering what is tea ceremony wedding, then you should know that it is a luxurious experience that takes place on the auspicious day of the wedding. The bride and groom show their reverence and respect to their parents, in-laws, and other family members by serving them tea.

It is a meaningful part of your wedding day, symbolising the union of two families, typically taking place inside the couple’s respective family homes. The tea ceremony is a lavish way to celebrate the love and connection between both families.

Q3. What type of tea is used in Chinese weddings?

Ans. If you have looked up Chinese wedding tea ceremony meaning on Google enough times, you have probably come across pages of information about the tea ceremony. However, it may be a little difficult to find out the right type of tea to use at your tea ceremony wedding Chinese.

This is because modern-day tea ceremonies don’t put much pressure on using the right kind of tea at the ceremony anymore as they used to back in the day. Mostly because traditional Chinese tea ceremony wedding steps stressed on rituals for the good health and prosperity of the couple, and special teas would be used for the ceremony.

People traditionally used delicious longan and red date tea, or lotus seed and red date tea, to celebrate the union of two newlyweds. This combination of ingredients symbolised that the couple would have a pleasant married life and bear children quickly.

Regardless of the type of beverage served, the ingredients in wedding tea are still rich in best wishes for the happy couple. For centuries, the lotus seeds and longan fruit have been tokens of a joyful, blessed marriage, and the red dates represent sweetness and prosperity. So, raise a glass to the lucky couple and all of the sweet memories they will create together!

Q4. What are Chinese wedding games?

Ans. Chinese door games, or Chuangmen, began as a way to symbolically demonstrate the value of a bride. In order for a man to be considered worthy of her hand in marriage, he must show that he is capable of passing a range of tests. These tests, known as door games, are not only fun but also provide an opportunity for the groom-to-be to prove his commitment to his future wife.

Common door games you can use to spice up your tea ceremony include No Money, No Honey, the Four Flavors of Life, and Q&A Tests. These games are designed to test the groom’s intelligence, wit, and resolve and ensure he is worthy of his bride-to-be.

These traditional door games are a great way to add a unique, interactive component to your ceremony. Not only will they help make your celebration more memorable, but they will also provide insight into the character of the groom-to-be and his commitment to his future wife.

Q5. How long does the Chinese tea ceremony last?

Ans. If you have looked up enough Chinese tea ceremony wedding meaning, you must by now know that this is a very intimate and special event between families. You will be marking the start of a whole new journey in your life amidst your loved ones. You can’t put a time limit on that, and the Chinese culture understands and respects that. This ceremony can last as long as you want it.

We’re here to help and answer any question you might have.
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