Post # 1
Gauging by the title, you can probably guess that I’m white. My fiance is Chinese. His parents were born in China, and he and his brother were born in the US.
I should also say that my fiance’s older brother is married to a white woman. Nobody else in the family has married outside of the culture, though one cousin married a Korean woman and another married a Japanese woman. But my fiance and his brother are the first ones to marry outside of the race entirely, and from where I’m sitting, the family has been very welcoming of my future sister-in-law and myself.
Now, my question has to do with integrating my fiance’s Chinese culture into our wedding. Are there traditions I should be mindful of? Are there things I should do, or avoid doing? I just learned about wearing blue (or not wearing blue), and I’m very interested in learning more.
Post # 3
- Wedding: January 2011 - Vintage Villas
I think you should ask your fiance if it is important to him. Talk to him (and maybe even his family) and find out what some traditions are that they would like to incorporate into the wedding. You may find out that there are certain things that mean alot to them, and some things that they really don’t care to include!
Post # 4
Thanks for your input. All good suggestions. My fiance isn’t exactly traditional, but his family is very knowledgeable and approachable.
Post # 5
Hi…i’m chinese (and hubby is half) we just got married last weekend and incorporated some chinese and some western traditions. We did the morning tea ceremony (i wore a qua), his family brought over a roast pig, cakes, tons of other stuff, then we went ot his place and repeated – bringing back other stuff. then had a western ceremony and reception with a change into a chinese cheong sam.
Even between my mom, his mom and aunties organizing everything – there was alot of variation in terms of the items brought to the house, the order of tea, when to kneel, when not to kneel, etc. I agree w/ amanda, you should check w/ your fiance and his family to see what’s important to them and what’s not.
general things….blue and black are not good colors (tho my colors were blue and brown…. i just liked the combo), red and gold are good. Generally speaking white’s not a good color either, but nowadays it’s acceptable to wear a white dress and have all the white wedding related things around. it’s a big no-no to break anything. if you’re doing the tea ceremony, make sure you serve the tea and receive the red envelopes with both hands.
I’m sure if you ask his family what traditions they honor, they will be open with you.
Check these out for more info….although it traditionally is a long drawn out process, most of these are shortened or condensed.
Post # 6
I would definitely take the lead from his family. Your lack of knowledge on the subject is the perfect way to endear yourself to his mom (even more than you already are). She will love walking you through the traditions, and together you can figure out how to best integrate them!
Post # 7
Turtlie, thanks for the in-depth response. One question about avoiding black… I’ve asked my bridesmaids to wear black dresses. Only one has bought so far. But is this something I should ask her to return? If my fiance and his groomsmen can wear black, is it OK for my bridesmaids to wear black?
Mrs. DG, thank you. Sadly, neither of our mothers is alive. But his Aunt is very involved in his life, and I feel very comfortable approaching her.
Post # 8
i think i read somewhere here that a pregnant Bridesmaid or Best Man was bad, red is good and the number 8 is very very lucky
JoesWifey is married to an asian man (not sure if hes chinese though) so maybe she might have some hints later on
Post # 9
I’m sorry about that Eureka. I didn’t mean to make an assumption. I’m glad that his aunt is approachable and can help!
Post # 10
Mrs. DG, please, no worries!
Post # 11
I think black bridesmaid dresses are beautiful, but you might want to consult his aunt to see if the older generations will be offended. I would also avoid using white lanterns in decorations as they are usually used in funerals. Also, avoid writing names in red as that is done for the deceased. My family is very superstitious so there are certain things they do not want me to do, for example:
-wearing white in my hair (aside from the veil) since wearing white headpieces usually signifies mourning for the deceased.
-we couldn’t get married in the lunar months of July, there is some ghost holiday (7/14) where the doors to hell open, or April, because of the Ching Ming Festival. Nor could we get married in the lunar months that fall on our parents’ birthdays (something about bad luck).
-Have invitations with a background that is all white. They want to incorporate red and gold into the background.
-invite women that are pregnant, invite people that have recently experienced a death in the family, or invite people that are getting married around our date.
We also *had* to invite children to our wedding, even though our wedding will be western, since children are always welcomed to Chinese weddings and their parents would be offended. As a result we will have 20 children at our wedding
Post # 12
I’m Chinese and my husband is half Chinese/half Caucasian. Like other posters have said, it depends on how traditional and/or superstitious his family is. In my case, neither set of parents (nor DH’s Chinese grandparents) were particularly concerned with traditions like lucky numbers (8 is good, 4 is bad) or dis/allowing guests who’ve recently had a death in the family. I didn’t change into a qua or cheongsam for the reception, but we did do a streamlined version of the tea ceremony after the cake cutting.
I would say the biggest thing to keep in mind is just showing respect for your FI’s parents and other elders of the family. It sounds old-fashioned, but even my parents, who have been in the U.S. for 30+ years and are pretty well assimilated, still hold these cultural norms very dearly. One example of this is making sure you address your FI’s parents respectfully. My mom, for example, doesn’t like younger folks calling her by her first name.
Post # 13
Eloping, thanks for responding.
Violet, thanks for your response. I will consult his Aunt, and I can chat more casually with some of our Chinese friends. But I did want to get a preliminary “cultural education” ahead of time.
To address your other points…
I’ve been eyeing a white gardenia I found at Etsy.com, though maybe I should reconsider that.
Is it that you shouldn’t invite women who are pregnant, or just women who give birth around the wedding date? One of our close friends is pregnant. Though, she’ll have delivered by the time our invitations go out.
Also, one of my fiance’s cousins is planning a destination wedding for some time around our wedding, though they aren’t having their formal wedding reception until June. This is the son of my fiance’s Aunt, so perhaps I can ask her how she feels about that particular custom. If she’s OK with it, should I be OK with it?
Post # 14
Thanks so much for your response and your thoughts. If I had any clue how useful this thread would be, I probably would have posted it much sooner.
My fiance’s mother is no longer alive. Nor is mine, and my hope was to somehow incorporate their presence into the ceremony, maybe with a prayer or a reading or something like that. Do you think that would be inappropriate? I’ll check with his family. If it is inappropriate, I can always honor my own mother in a quiet, private way…
So, I have his father whom I can consult, and I have a very nice relationship with him. I can also consult his Aunt and Uncle on his father’s side, and an Aunt who was his mother’s sister, and also his mother’s mother. His father’s mother is 100, the oldest member of his family. I can consult her, too, though I’d need some help with translation.
I do like the idea of the tea ceremony at the reception. I may look into that… Would there be any problem with having it after the actual ceremony? Or maybe even during?
Post # 15
I would definitely ask his father whether or not there are traditions that he would like to adhere to
Post # 16
Hi Eureka, I would show his aunt a picture of the gardenia to see if it’d be okay for you to wear it for the wedding. Some families aren’t as superstitious as others… If his aunt gives you the green light to wear it then by all means 🙂 I think I’ll be able to work around some of the superstitions. For example, my mom said I could wear a white flower is there are hints of red or pink in it.
Also, there are different customs in different parts of the country so what I have listed are common in the Guangdong providence.
The superstition about pregnant women is that you should not have anyone carrying a child in their womb at the wedding. Something about the luck clashing and one person will steal the other person’s luck. Again, this might be something your fiance’s family does not observe. Since your friend will have delivered by the time you wedding rolls around I think it’ll be fine.
I would consult your fiance’s aunt about the cousin with the destination wedding. You should be okay if she’s okay with inviting them 🙂
Good luck with the planning! It’s really great that you are being proactive about learning the culture. I hope you’ll find this board useful! Update us on what customs you ultimately decide to go with.