Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony

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Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony

"Mom and Dad, please drink tea." When it was my time to get married, the tea ceremony is one of the most emotional and meaningful parts of my big day!

Jing Cha 敬茶, or tea ceremony, is one of the most important traditions as part of Chinese wedding day festivities. It can date back to the Tang dynasty in China. The tea ceremony served as a formal introduction of the newlyweds to our families as well as to show appreciation for our parents’ love and support. Serving the elders in order of age to show respect and gratitude. The ceremony also provides the elders an opportunity to bless the marriage. The ceremony usually takes place on the day of the wedding and it symbolizes the union of the two families.


A simple cup of tea can bring two families together.


In modern wedding, tea ceremony traditionally held on the morning of the wedding day after the wedding door games. Typically, the ceremony can be held at the bride or the groom’s home.

After the tea has been finished, the couple would receive Lai See, a lucky red envelope, given by the family that is filled with money. The parents and elders will help the bride to wear the golden dragon and phoenix matched bracelets 龍鳳鈪 and other jewels.

What is needed for a Chinese Tea Ceremony

 

Tea set and serving plate

A beautiful decorated tea set with serving plate together with a pair of red kneeling cushions are traditionally included as a part of the bride’s wedding dowry.


Tea Selection

High graded Chinese Tea such as Pu-er 普洱, Jasmine 香片, Oolong/Shui Xian 水仙 and Tie Guan Yin 鐵觀音 is often used for the ceremony. We won’t use tea bags or detox tea in the tea ceremony.

Sweet Tea

Sweet tea is used in the ceremony because it represented martial happiness and to promote good relations with the new in-laws. Herbs like lotus seeds, red dates and longan are frequently added to the tea, which give the tea with a taste of sweetness. Chinese pronunciations of red dates 紅棗, lotus seeds 蓮子 and longan 桂圓 are connected with fertility blessings for the newlyweds. The quantity of the dates and lotus seeds should be even which represents “double happiness” . Do not remove the seeds from red dates because the seeds also symbolized descendant. Use the dates as whole to represent fullness and fertility.


Etiquettes During Tea Ceremony

The couple will kneel on decorated red cushions when serving the tea to the elders. Couples may employ a lucky lady 大妗姐 to help them through the process and bridesmaids also help in filing the tea cups and receiving the presents.

Talking about the processional orders, the couples usually serve the tea with their immediate parents first. Serving order within the family is usually based on the seniority. Grandparents served first then followed by the rest of the extended family. We all love to hear the lucky lady to say some blessings to the couples and the elders.

During the Chinese ceremony, the couple will share a drink of the tea while crossing arms, which is part of Chinese traditional rituals 合巹交杯.

 

The Tea Ceremony is a way to honor our heritage. The importance of family is one of the biggest values in Chinese culture, so we applaud you for embracing this tradition on your wedding day!

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  • Sophia Tsao