Weddings in China are very important, and they tend to differ a bit from Western weddings. Those who are dating Chinese women currently, may want to learn a bit more about some of the wedding customs to get an idea of what it might be like to marry in a Chinese wedding, or a wedding the blends the two cultures.
Weddings Then and Now
Many traditional wedding customs in China are still carried out today, or at least some variation on them. In addition, the customs can vary according to the ethnic or regional differences across the country. Most couples choose some combination of the legal element, followed by another – sometimes religious – ceremony, and/or a banquet the following weekend. The fact that there is religious tolerance in China makes it convenient if you wish to get married there and both of you wish to include your faith in the wedding plans.
In the past, the elders of the family would have to accept the request for marriage and the men would have to be approved before being allowed to marry. Today, that’s no longer the case, as adults in China are allowed to make their own decisions without needing the permission of their elders. However, some women may still want to seek the approval of the elders out of respect. This does not mean they will not ultimately make their own decision though.
Traditionally, the groom’s family will also provide the bride’s family with gifts, such as a dowry. The amount of the gift can vary, and in some cases may not be necessary. For the groom, particularly as a Western groom, it’s best to talk with the bride-to-be about the customs that her family follows.
Just as there are certain traditions followed in Western weddings (like the bride throwing the bouquet to the single women at the reception), there are also little customs involved in Chinese wedding tradition. Brand new shoes are a must for the bride, and her family members may even put on a little act of “resisting” allowing the bride to meet the groom, so as to keep her from leaving them. The couple often visits the bride’s parents three days after the wedding to carry out more rituals like the exchanging of gifts. Each family may put their own little spin on these customs.
Things to Consider
In China, it is traditional for the parents of the couple to determine who is going to pay for what in terms of financing the wedding. It’s important that you and your bride-to-be communicate clearly on this issue in order to avoid any potential friction when it comes time to work out the details with her parents. Blending the ways of two cultures can be tricky when it comes to marrying your beautiful Chinese bride, but open communication can help to keep the path to nuptial bliss as smooth as possible.