(Closed) How does a biracial couple do a Chinese Tea Ceremony?

posted 7 years ago in East Asian
Post # 32
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1285 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

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@alai678:  You have a lot of responses with great advise, I would just add to consult with your parents prior to planning. My DH is Chinese, I’m not. This was a negotiation with his parents to include my parents and grandparents (no other elders, though they included elders on their side). Additionally, the timing may be important, they wanted it done after the ceremony but agreed prior was more realistic. And they may have a ‘lucky lady’ to help you serve the tea in mind. This person was so helpful in guiding us both through the process!

For me, a Caucasian girl who knew nothing about Chinese culture, I found the tea ceremony to be one of the most special, centering and unique experiences of the day, and I’m so happy we included it. I hope you feel the same!

Post # 33
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75 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

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@alai678:  I wouldn’t consider the cheongsam to be a first look since we were a bit rushed after coming back from doing wedding pics, but it was a “first” for DH’s extended family to see a different dress.

We went through 8 “sittings” (you’ll have just two with the four parents) and it was about 20-30 minutes.  Each sitting doesn’t actually take that long, but that depends how much your parents want to say to the two of you and if there’s jewellery involved.  DH’s side was pretty quick, but my side took longer because all of them gave me gold jewellery.  My aunt did the introductions and my sister poured the tea and held out the tray for us.

 

Post # 36
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75 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

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@alai678:  Check with your parents as they might have opinions on the ordering.  Neither one of us have older siblings (I just threw older siblings in the list as a reference…sorry I didn’t think too hard about it!) or nieces/nephews.  I’ve never seen tea being served TO the bride and groom though.  After each round my sister took the red pockets for us and kept track of them.  The rest of the wedding party were not involved.

Post # 37
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1285 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

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@alai678:  The lucky lady is a married woman who is familar with the tea ceremony customes. She will pour the tea for you, guide you as to how to serve the tea to your elders, how to receive the gifts and through the entire process to ensure the couple doesn’t unintentionally offend anyone. In China, this is a profession and I’ve seen them in action, it is amazing! Ours was informal, so we used an aunt at the guidance of his parents (we had to choose an Aunt who wouldn’t be offended to be asked, and wouldn’t be offended not to be served tea herself!).

Post # 38
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2076 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014 - British Columbia

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@alai678:  Hello fellow June bride!

I found a simple kua for my tea ceremony. (My aunt found it super cheap from Guang Zhou; about 600 RMB/$100 CDN) My Fiance is white too. I’m tempted to bribe him into wearing a male han-fu, tee-hee. However, my mom said that Fiance wearing suit is fine too.

The tea ceremony would involve family members from both the bride and groom. I think the bride’s family gets served first — the FH would present a dowry. (Optional, these days) I told my Fiance to give an auspicious amount like $888, in lieu of ducks and pigs; etc. LOL!

Then, the groom’s family gets served tea.

Post # 40
Member
1382 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

 

Ugh. Just saw I was responding to an old part of the post. Sorry!

Post # 41
Member
569 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@alai678:  Hi there! My family is originally from Singapore and DH’s family is originally from Romania. We had a tea ceremony the day after the “western” wedding and we served both families. His relatives were actually very excited to participate. It was fun!  We served my family in our Chinese dialect, and we served his family in Romanian. They really appreciated being included and acknowledged this way, and thought it was a wonderful tradition. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask 🙂

 

Post # 42
Member
2076 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014 - British Columbia

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@alai678:  Yep! I think it would be fun to include my FI’s nieces as well. I’d tell them that it’s a “tea party”, so that they get the idea. 🙂 They’re 7 and 10 next year. They would serve us — then, we would hand them red packets, with money in it. I’m thinking maybe $10 in each red packet. I’d probably have an adult lady helping out with carrying the tea-tray, so that the younger ones don’t feel so nervous about holding the tray.

I actually just managed to carry my tea set from Asia in one piece, I think. My mom found it in Malaysia.

Extended families are considered family members — according to what my dad was trying to tell me before he passed on. Just make sure you have some extra red packets handy for any unmarried family members. Only the married ones give you gold/red packets. From my understanding, the younger ones or the junior ranked relatives serve the bride and groom. Aunts/Uncles or older siblings/cousins = we serve them.

I think it would be a fun thing to include as many family members as possible. The only problem I’d have is how I’m going to fit so many people in one hotel room, haha.

Post # 43
Member
365 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013 - The Fox Hill Inn

@alai678:  

Hi there, I’m Chinese and my fiance is Jewish. I was born and raised in the states and didn’t know too much about the traditions, but I was coached by a family friend who was my former Chinese School teacher. Traditionally, there would be multiple tea ceremonies. The first was when the bride left her parents home, she would serve them a sweet tea to mask the bitterness of her leaving her family. There was then another tea ceremony which was the wedding ceremony at her in-laws home where the bride would serve tea to her new in-laws to symbolize becoming part of the family. Finally, after they were married, the couple might return home to the bride’s home and the husband would serve tea to his new in-laws.

We had a tea ceremony the day before the wedding, before the rehearsal dinner. This was mostly because we had these gorgeous ornate costumes we wore and it would have been too much to arrange the costume change on top of everything else on our wedding day.

We had it setup so at that tea ceremony I first served tea to my parents, then my husband had to bribe my bridesmaids to get into the room (they asked him questions, but he wasn’t able to answer any, so he had to pay them off with red envelopes!). Then we both served tea to my parents (this was him thanking them for raising me as a daughter).

The next day, during the wedding service we had another tea ceremony where I served tea to his parents and he served tea to my parents. This was us joining each other’s families. So I said to my in-laws “Mom/Dad it is nice to be joining your family” and my husband said the same to my parents.

While we didn’t include any extended family it was a nice way for us to still honor some traditions and to include our wedding guests when we had it as part of our ceremony.

Here are the (borrowed) costumes we wore for the tea ceremony on Friday!

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