Chinese weddings - some practical info

I thought I would start this off as I found so little about Chinese weddings in the UK on the net! My parents are HK Chinese but I was born and grew up in London and my H2B is English. For a Chinese wedding you should invite practically everyone you know (350 - 400 people is not unusual!) and give a wedding banquet, which will usually be 8 or 9 courses. A good explanation here: http://www.chcp.org/banquet.html.



Because of all the courses which need special ingredients etc, wedding banquets are usually held in Chinese restaurants. Our wedding reception will be in a barn in Suffolk which has a professional kitchen for outside caterers, but it has been impossible to find an outside caterer who will do a Chinese banquet. The only person who said "maybe" was Royal China in Baker Street, London and they reckoned it would cost as much as £80 per head because of all the extra work and hassle!!!!! By comparison, in a Chinese restaurant, this is more like £35 a head. If anyone knows of other possibilities please get in touch!



You should also get married on an auspicious wedding date. The best site I found in English: http://wedding.esdlife.com/content/eng/gooddays/2005_jul.asp. Its good because you can look up auspicious days for next year, otherwise you have to wait until Dec 06 for the paper calendars to come out to pick a date in 2007! This year is supposedly the best astrological year to get married since 1944 as it is a "yun lian". Apparently there have only been a couple of these since 221 BC! see here: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2006-01/25/content_515126.htm.



Hope thats useful - any other Chinese brides out there?



Peony





«1

Posts

  • MALLIKAukMALLIKAuk Posts: 88
    That's really interesting. I'm originally from India but grew up here also, Indians weddings sound similar to Chinese weddings, we have to invite everyone and anyone! and we also need to choose an auspicious date...Although don't think me and my fiance will be that particular about the auspicious date (though our families might be!). Are you going to get married on an auspicious date?
  • eeping76eeping76 Posts: 927
    Hi Peony



    You have been a great help. I'm a Chinese from Singapore and my H2B is a Norwegian. I think he knows there are heaps of cultures and traditions for Chinese, be it a wedding or just whenever, but I dont think he really really knows sometimes. For example: We are going to have 150 guests for our Singapore wedding and he said, "why so many". Believe it or not, just because he is not Chinese, that is only half of the calculation for a normal wedding like you mentioned!



    Oh well, now thanks to your info, I can send him all the links to read.....



    ps: we are trying to register our marriage in Norway 7/12/06. It is suppose to be a good date according to a fengshui master in Singapore. Or alternatively, 7/10/06.....Now I can check out the dates too to find other alternative thanks to you!!! image



  • eeping76eeping76 Posts: 927
    Peony!!!



    Help....all the links you have given are not working....Make it work!!!



    Tks heapsss



  • PeonyukPeonyuk Posts: 25
    Hi Lime - :\? Don't know why the links aren't working?



    Good dates info - now inserted as an URL so maybe that will work

    There is quite a lot on banquet dishes info, so maybe do a Google search and find another website.



    Hi Angel - yes I think Indian weddings are similar to Chinese ones. I have been to 2 or 3 Indian weddings and they were rammed with people! Yes, we managed to choose an auspicious date that fell on a Saturday, so getting married on 17 Feb 2007.



    Peony
  • eeping76eeping76 Posts: 927
    Hi Peony



    Tks.....got it now......image
  • Gordonuk1Gordonuk1 Posts: 27
    Hi Peony,



    All that info's really useful - thanks! Like you, I'm BBC (British born Chinese), my parents are from HK and my H2B is English! Phew! We're going to pay for the wedding ourselves I think to save any trouble but date's not set yet. We want to combine both cultures together but you're right, there's not a lot to be found on the net about Chinese weddings generally. We'll have a lot of red in the colour scheme and candles and lanterns etc. Dinner will be some sort of banquet with rice and noodles and all being well, we'll have a lion dance and maybe even some firecrackers! No gift list but money in red packets, for good luck and my bridesmaids will be in cheongsams as will my mum.



    Think that's about it at the mo!

    Kit-Mei x
  • PeonyukPeonyuk Posts: 25
    Hi Kit-Mei!

    I also plan to have red in the colour theme. It will probably be red, gold and ivory but need to speak to the florist and figure out how this will work with the flowers. I also thought about having a lion dance. I found a couple of lion dance performers on the net and it looks like it will cost about £700. If you are interested, I can post the links here.



    Did anyone see the news item today about a new budget airline called Oasis Airlines Hong Kong set up by some reverend in HK to be run on "Biblical principles"? Apparently it will be offering flights to HK for £75! If that is true it might be cheaper to fly over and buy Chinese decorations etc there in one mad weekend!! image
  • mellenukmellenuk Posts: 576
    Hi Peony,



    I know what you mean about lack of info on the net! I'm half Chinese and my partner is English, and all my Chinese relatives are coming over for the wedding. We're getting married in a barn too ;\) and we really wanted to get Chinese caterers in (maybe not for the full banquet!), but haven't found anyone suitable in the Worcester area.



    Good news though - according to your link we've picked an auspicious day :\)



    mel



  • eileenteoeileenteo Posts: 81
    hi everyone,



    I'm a singaporean chinese getting marry to a british born chinese. i'm so sick of the tradition chinese banquet. it is so boring.

    since this is a english country. we decided to have a simple english wedding at the roman bath in feb 07.
  • safetyzonesafetyzone Posts: 12
    It's great to see fellow Chinese brides marrying in the UK, I thought I was the only one!!



    Agreed about the red/gold scheme, can't do without it being a Chinese!



    However I'm not keen to do the whole Chinese banquet thing, cos I'll have more British guests than Chinese and to be honest I don't think I can get Chinese food here in the quality or authenticity I would like.



    Having said that, I would love to do the whole Chinese tea ceremony thing, I wish I could get a wedding coordinator who can organise this part! If anyone has heard of this service let me know!



    And I got my date through a very old master in HK.
  • jawsukjawsuk Posts: 9
    Hi! I have been trying to find a suitable receotion venue for June 07 (not auspicious date - but it needs to be on a Saturday!).

    I am more of a "banana" chinese (i.e, apart from the food, the red packets and firecrackers sort of stuff, I don't know much else about being chinese). I am getting married to a Welsh, so in the end we were thinkng of going for an English wedding, as our guests will be much more interested in the boozing... and me in the dancing/ disco part... But nothing has been booked, apart for the church (near Marylebone). So if anyone knows of a decent venue (i.e not Chinatown!) in Central London where we could have the dinner & dance for about £70/head (inc booze) would be great...

    checked out Phoenix Palace, but it their private rooms are too small...



    txs

  • eileenteoeileenteo Posts: 81
    Hey safetyzone,

    my mum insists me to have a simply tea ceremony at the hotel. she will bring her golden tea pot from singapore (she used it for her own wedding). i might just ask my bridemaid to hold the teapot while me n my h2b serve it to the elder.

    maybe someone from your family can do this tea ceremony for u.



    hi jaws,

    have you ever thought of hiring a hall and ask those take-away shop/resturant to do it for you?



    cheer,

    eileen
  • safetyzonesafetyzone Posts: 12
    et - that's quite a good idea actually, I originally thought about doing the full works, like all those sayings whilst you pour the tea and stuff, but maybe I can just ask one of my aunts to oblige. Doing it between the ceremony and meal might be nice image
  • eileenteoeileenteo Posts: 81
    hi safetyzone,

    that's what i'm doing. i'm getting marry in bath registry office at early afternoon then we gonna head back to the hotel for chinese tea ceremony. whilst the guests can tour around bath. (my h2b n i from london and rst of the guests are from diff areas) it is a great idea for the guests to look around bath while i'm having a tea ceremony. as for my reception in roman bath, it will only starts at 7pm. cos they only close at 5.30pm (it is a tourist place) and need time to set up the room. it works out very well to suit the wedding plan.
  • jawsukjawsuk Posts: 9
    Hi Eileen,

    We were looking at hiring a hall at the beginning - but h2b is a bit fussy on what he likes/ doesn't like... so it was working out to be expensive for something nice.

    I did not think of take away restaurants... (I'm not from the UK either,... and don't speak cantonese/mandarin).

    So I think in the end, we are going for an English wedding, with church & wedding breakfast in a hotel.

    I am not having the tea ceremony either... (my sister, who got married to a chinese guy did not do it...)

  • hey guys - i live in Shanghai but am not chinese nor is Fianc????.



    If you want to be authentic, you should also get 4 outfits for your wedding, a traditional qipao (or 'cheongsam' if you are from HK), a 'white' western style dress and 2 other 'evening' style dresses which you are expected to change into throughout the day...you could do just one if that sounds exhausting! The bride should talk to everyone, even if it's just for a few seconds and everyone should be given red envelopes prior to the wedding (in invites) so that they can give you plenty of CASH as a gift (hence the big numbers of invitees). MY chinese neighbours have no shyness in telling you that they fully intend to 'earn' a lot of money this way from their wedding.



    The fave here is to have your reception in a 5 star hotel...anything below is considered 'cheap'. (You gotta love them for their devotion to the dollar). It's absolutely mandatory to have a photo shoot after the event with your hubby in your gear at a professional photographic studio as well...and yes, your banquet should have gazillions of courses, and sharks fin soup and abalone should feature on the menu as well as lobster.



    My own wedding in September will feature favour bags containing fortune cookies (so not done here at all though - maybe in HK but never seen them on the mainland), delicate miniature hand painted perfume bottles for girls and individual name 'chops' (stamps) for the boys who we will then ask to stamp the guest book. This is our non-tradtional 'nod' to our life in China.
  • eeping76eeping76 Posts: 927
    Hi Sam



    lol.....the amount of guests will meant the amount of money one has to pay for the banquet. So, even if one have 1000 guests for the wedding banquet, one will inturn pay a huge sum for it beforehand for the dinner provided in-exchange for the 'angpow' / red packet i.e. similar to a wedding gift list provided in the western culture.



    The angpow is the chinese traditions for all occasions such as chinese new year, birthdays, first month celebration for babies etc. Hence, the point is to invites guests who are rich and generous, so that they will give 'plenty of cash' as gift.



    Or unless people in China are used to giving alot during occasion like this. At least to what I know in Singapore, we (or people I know and me) we check out the price per table that sits 10 guests and divide it to see how much is the dinner worth per person. In this way, we dont give under the price for the dinner and so, helps the couple in a way to either break even or 'earn' money out of it. Also, I think in Singapore it's usually the groom who talks to everyone, coz maybe the bride's too shy?? Hope your neighbours do earn from their wedding.



    At least now I know, our wedding culture is the same as chinese wedding culture in China.
  • Quoted:
    hey guys - i live in Shanghai but am not chinese nor is Fianc????.



    If you want to be authentic, you should also get 4 outfits for your wedding, a traditional qipao (or 'cheongsam' if you are from HK), a 'white' western style dress and 2 other 'evening' style dresses which you are expected to change into throughout the day...you could do just one if that sounds exhausting! The bride should talk to everyone, even if it's just for a few seconds and everyone should be given red envelopes prior to the wedding (in invites) so that they can give you plenty of CASH as a gift (hence the big numbers of invitees). MY chinese neighbours have no shyness in telling you that they fully intend to 'earn' a lot of money this way from their wedding.



    The fave here is to have your reception in a 5 star hotel...anything below is considered 'cheap'. (You gotta love them for their devotion to the dollar). It's absolutely mandatory to have a photo shoot after the event with your hubby in your gear at a professional photographic studio as well...and yes, your banquet should have gazillions of courses, and sharks fin soup and abalone should feature on the menu as well as lobster.



    My own wedding in September will feature favour bags containing fortune cookies (so not done here at all though - maybe in HK but never seen them on the mainland), delicate miniature hand painted perfume bottles for girls and individual name 'chops' (stamps) for the boys who we will then ask to stamp the guest book. This is our non-tradtional 'nod' to our life in China.


    In HK people change into lots of outfits too, but most of them are rented. I've heard of someone I know changing into 5-6 outfits during the banquet - hardly anytime to eat!



    Photoshoot normally happens before the wedding in HK. That way the couple can show their staged photos during the banquet. I've also known people just having photos but no wedding.



    Fortune cookies are never popular in Asia because it's a Chinatown invention - probably in US. I didn't know of its existence until I start living outside HK.
  • deecydeecy Posts: 7,493
    we'll be doing our 3rd chinese wedding in a few months and have found the differences very refreshing - from a photographers point of view the guests love having their photo taken and are more than happy to line up to be seated next to the happy couple for a snap! Projecting the images during the tea ceremony or meal is another norm we've seen as well as having hundreds of guests!



    The last two chinese weddings we did each had over 1000 images on their Hi-Res CD (CDs!)
  • Some useful information there!



    We have the 8 May 2008 pencilled in. Is there anyway you know I can check this date or other dates in May?



    I am Chinese too, my fiance is Irish. We are not having a Chinese banquet.. not that I know of anyway, my parents haven't said anything. It is far too expensive for us to do and from weddings of previous family members and friends it seems to be all about a show of how much parents can afford and stuff like that.



    Instead we like to incorporate some of my tradition in the reception we are planning on having, how I have no idea.
  • njh82njh82 Posts: 19
    Hi



    I'm a researcher currently developing a series called The Wedding Doctor. We are looking for a couple in desperate need of advice to film our teaser trailer. We will pay your expenses and you will get free advice from celebrity wedding planner and author of -The Wedding Bible' Sarah Haywood- www.weddingbible.co.uk. If you are interested please email me at [email protected]ocusproductions.co.uk .



  • Hi there,



    I'm Chinese and my H2B is English. We're going to have a mostly western ceremony but with some Chinese details. I would really like to wear a qipao for the wedding but am struggling with finding anywhere to buy one. Does anyone know a place that will sell it or custom make one? I have found several websites but I would like to be able to try them on and to touch the fabric. Any help would be truly appreciated.



    Julia
  • Hi Julia

    If you are in or near London, you can try these places:



    Oriental City, Colindale, NW London - has a clothes store with lots of cheongsam dresses but the last time I looked, not anything particularly special.



    Dress shop in Dean Street, Soho, opposite the Soho Theatre. Unfortunately I can't remember the name of the shop. It is run by a Chinese lady who makes and designs beautiful ready made clothes and she also makes custom-made dresses. It has lots of materials and when I went, she was fitting a dress for a bride.



    Shanghai Tang, Sloane Street, opposite Harvey Nichols. It has something called "Imperial Tailoring" downstairs which will make a custom-made dress for you, but it looks v expensive!



    I think the second one is the best bet - you can try on the ready-made styles at the front of the shop and then get some inspiration to have one custom made.



    Good luck :\)!

  • Thanks Peony,



    I live in Surrey so it's close enough to London. I'll definitely try those places.



    Julia
  • Hi,



    The shop you are looking for on Dean Street is called Lena Jun. I was in there the other week and Lena wasn't there but her assistant was. It is very handy if you speak Cantonese or Mandarin as the assistant's English wasn't so good. However, I really liked their dresses so am going to go back and make an appointment.



    Word on the street is that Lena makes some of the Shanghai Tang clothes but they just price it up so well worth having a look!



    I too am trying to find a Chinese caterer and am having no luck! Looks like it will have to be in a Chinese restaurant after all!
  • eeping76eeping76 Posts: 927

    Hi there



    I just came back from London and passed by Shanghai Tang. They are really pretty good from the window. Check it out! :\)
  • lisagonglisagong Posts: 12
    THIS IS SUCH A COOL PLACE FOR ANY WOMAN! WHY I JUST FOUND IT TODAY?



    I have some information to share.



    I am Chinese. And I married an Italian on 6th january 2007 in London. It was a very exquisite and touching civil wedding, and many attendances wet their eyes during the ceremony. I love it!



    However I am from China, in China we do huge wedding with at least 300 people in the repection. Therefore my husband and I will have another wedding in Shanghai on 30th June. I will make the wedding in very Chinese style including the my wedding dress and his wedding outfit, Also we will invite Chinese traditional music band ( Sizu) . It will be held in a very Chinese classical garden adorned by hundred of Chinese red lamps. 500 people will be there.



    It is a pity that in many big cities in China, new couples prefer western style of wedding than the Chinese traditional one. And it is becoming a trendy for them to have western ceremony. I personally think that Chinese wedding is very interesting and special.





    Have fun girls!!!



    [Modified by: lisagong on April 15, 2007 11:14 PM]
  • judyhaujudyhau Posts: 12
    Hi guys!



    So glad to have found people in a similar situation to me!



    I am chinese and my H2B is serbian orthodox- which REALLY complicates things! We did briefly think about having a combined wedding but in the end opted for having two weddings on 2 days. Just thought that we could then do both properly rather than try and cram everything into one day!



    I would advise any chinese/bbc bride to make a trip to HK if they can afford it! I went back in March and found soooo many bargins! I got BM dresses custom designed and made for £100! Also got wedding favours over there which cos next to nothing compared with prices over here!! There is a shopping centre dedicated to weddings in Kowloon and you will find everything you need in that one place! It's called 'Golden Plaza' and is just off Prince Edward MTR station!



    xxx



    [Modified by: Passion on April 24, 2007 08:47 PM]
  • susu88susu88 Posts: 904
    Hi guys, i'm also BBC and my fiance is British caucasian and we are also paying for the wedding ourselves. It certainly saves the agro with the parents wanting to interfere and invite 500 people that my H2B and i won't actually know. But then my parents have been very understanding and decided not to invite any of their friends for the sake of less hassle from acquaintances. So that will save us at least £10,000 phew! But anyway, we are having a tea pouring ceremony a couple of days before the wedding and then on the big day we are opting for a western style wedding. Am still deciding whether or not to buy a Chinese bridal gown. I know it will just make me look like a post box. Although thinking more about the wedding i would like a bit more of the traditional Chinese influences in it too. So much to think about....
Sign In or Register to comment.