Chinese Wedding Customs

In honor of Chinese New Year, I found a great blog about Chinese Wedding customs:

“Chinese Bridal Customs

By Seabastian

Chinese Weddings

      Chinese weddings are rich with symbolism, tradition, and rituals. Paying homage to ancestors and traditions is one of the key concepts in Chinese weddings. Whether you are a Chinese-American bride or groom, or simply a sinophile who admires Chinese culture and customs, including some of these customs in your wedding will make it more meaningful and memorable.

Chinese Phoenix

A Blending of Cultures

     Most Chinese-American brides and grooms will plan weddings that are a blend of Eastern and Western traditions. The wedding day may well find the bride dressed in the customary red cheongsam serving tea to her husband’s family at one moment, and dancing the night away to a contemporary d.j. in a white wedding gown at a later time. The symbolism and rituals of Chinese weddings are actually quite easy to meld with American customs, and most brides and grooms are able to seamlessly blend the two cultures into one cohesive wedding.

Let The Planning Begin

Once the engagement is announced, it is time to start planning the wedding. Setting a wedding date is much more than a matter of seeing what days the reception hall or church still has open. Numerology and the Chinese zodiac play an important role in determining which wedding date will be most auspicious for the bride and groom. It also helps them to avoid any dates which would be unlucky ones for the start of their marriage. The engaged couple meets with a fortune teller or feng shui consultant who will take into account the birth dates of the bride and groom, the Chinese calendar, and the Chinese zodiac. It is considered unlucky for the bride or groom to try to make the determination of the best wedding date without using a consultant.

Rice Cakes And Chopsticks

     Every single aspect of a Chinese wedding has symbolic meaning, starting when the couple becomes engaged. Each family has special obligations to fulfill at the time their son and daughter are betrothed. The groom’s family will give bridal cakes, small sweet rice cakes, to the bride’s family. The bridal cakes are then distributed to family and friends by the parents of the bride to spread the joyous news of the upcoming marriage. The parents of the bride, in turn, present the groom’s mother and father with a set of chopsticks. The word chopsticks sounds very similar to the phrase “fast boy” in Chinese, and the chopsticks are a wish that the newlyweds will have their first son very quickly.

“Luck”

It’s Your Lucky Day

     Certain numbers are considered to be generally lucky, while other dates are universally unlucky for weddings. The Chinese believe that even numbers are more auspicious than odd ones, including the month and the day of the month. Chinese wedding ceremonies are usually scheduled to begin on the half hour, because it is believed that time is on the upswing then. The one time that all couples should avoid planning their wedding is the middle to the end of the seventh lunar month on the Chinese calendar. This is when the annual Ghost Festival is held, and ancient tradition holds that at this time lost spirits wander the earth. As the Chinese make a strong distinction between what is associated with weddings, celebrations, and life versus funerals and death, the Ghost Festival would be one of the least favorable times of the year for a wedding.

  • Numbers in Chinese culture
    In Chinese culture, certain numbers are believed by some to be auspicious or inauspicious based on the Chinese word that the number name sounds similar to
  • Chinese Ghost Festival
    The Ghost Festival is a traditional Chinese festival and holiday, which is celebrated by Chinese in many countries. In the Chinese calendar the Ghost Festival is on the 14th night of the seventh lunar month.
Double Happiness

Double Happiness

     Symbols are very important parts of Chinese society in general, and weddings in particular. There are many motifs that are very positive and will often make an appearance in a Chinese wedding. The foremost of these is the double happiness symbol. It can be used to enhance almost any part of a Chinese-American wedding, from the wedding invitations, to the decorations, to the wedding cake, and even the favors. The dragon and the phoenix are a very significant pair of symbols, with the dragon representing the groom and the phoenix the bride. These motifs will frequently be embroidered on the wedding attire of the bridal couple. A pair of cranes is another favorable omen, as it represents longevity.

Lotus Blossom

Wedding Flowers

     In addition to animals and the double happiness symbol, there are particular flowers which the Chinese favor for wedding celebrations due to their positive meanings. The orchid is a symbol of love and fertility, while the peony stands for spring and renewed life. Oranges are a sign of good luck, while their fragrant white blossoms symbolize fertility, just as they do in Western cultures. The lotus blossom is one of the most favorable flowers in many cultural traditions, and for a wedding it symbolizes creation, an unbreakable relationship, and purity. Any of these flowers would be ideal to use for the bouquets, ceremony arrangements, and centerpieces in a Chinese-American wedding. They can also be paired with “lucky” bamboo, the Chinese symbol of long life, and a very popular wedding favor.

Wedding Colors

     Colors also conjure up positive associations. In China, red is the color of happiness, and is often the primary color theme for weddings, especially for the bride’s attire. Gold is another favored color, as it is a sign of wealth. White, on the other hand, is actually associated with death and funerals, and is not traditionally considered to be at all lucky for a wedding as a consequence. Despite that, the Western idea of a “white wedding” has become so globally influential that many Chinese brides, whether in the United States or China, will wear a white bridal gown for at least part of the wedding.

Wedding Programs

     At an American wedding that mixes guests from Chinese and non-Chinese backrounds, much of this important symbolism will be lost on the Western half of the guest list. That is why many brides and grooms will use their wedding programs as an opportunity to share with their guests the meaning behind their choices. Everything from the selection of an auspicious wedding date to the special symbols used to the history of the tea ceremony can be covered in the program. The bride and groom may also choose to include a few verses of Buddhist poetry in their programs, in addition to any other blessings or passages that are meaningful to them as a couple.

Red Cheongsam

Cheongsam

      One of the best known aspects of a Chinese wedding is the red cheongsam or qipao traditionally worn by the bride. The cheongsam is a long fitted dress made of rich silk, which often features embroidered symbols. The phoenix is one of the most auspicious motifs for a bridal cheongsam; another top choices is peonies. Many brides will select cheongsams that are created from lucky red silk with gold embroidery. The traditional accompaniment to the cheongsam or qipao is a crown or tiara created from gilded silver and decorated with feathers and pearls (in honor of the phoenix). In lieu of a tulle veil, a red silk cloth is attached to the headpiece. Due to the large size and considerable weight of the crown, brides these days will usually only wear it long enough for a few photos. It seems like most Chinese-American brides will wear a combination of the traditional cheongsam with crown for one portion of the wedding, and the classic white American wedding gown with pearl or crystal wedding jewelry for another part of their special day.

The Good Luck Woman

     In addition to her traditional garb, a Chinese-American bride can participate in a hairdressing ritual either the night before her wedding or early in the morning of the wedding. She first washes in a grapefruit infused water, as a form of ritualistic cleansing of evil influences. Then the bride is attended to by a “good luck woman”. The “good luck woman” is one who has obtained all of the blessings and good fortune in life that a young bride could wish for: a happy marriage, many children, and wealth. The bride’s hair is brushed four times while the good luck woman bestows her with wishes for a happy future. The first brushing of the hair stands for beginning to end, the second is for harmony from youth to old age, the third is a wish for many grandchildren, and the fourth is a wish for a long marriage and wealth. Finally, the good luck woman forms the bride’s hair into a traditional bun. This part of the ritual is not faithfully observed by every Chinese-American bride today, as many prefer to have their hair styled in a contemporary fashion.

Tea Ceremony

The Tea Ceremony

     No Chinese wedding would be complete without the tea ceremony. This ritual is an ancient custom intended to demonstrate respect and honor for family. The original way in which the tea ceremony was conducted was for the bride to privately serve her own family before the wedding ceremony, and for the newlyweds to serve the groom’s family together following the marriage vows. Many Chinese-American couples adapt this custom and have one tea ceremony with both families present. It usually comes right after the end of the marriage ceremony, but some couples will wait until later in the day or even the following morning. The tea ceremony can either be held in private (perhaps while the rest of the guests are at the cocktail hour before dinner), or with all of the guests present (to watch, not take tea).

The tea ceremony may be held anywhere, such as in a home, a garden, or in a room at the reception venue. The spot will be decorated with the same auspicious colors, flowers, and symbols as the rest of the wedding. An altar should be created to feature photos of the newlyweds’ ancestors, and will be adorned with white flowers, incense, and fruit. Candles are also a part of the tea ceremony; one will be painted with the image of the dragon, and the other with the phoenix to represent the groom and bride’s families. If they so desire, the newlyweds can also light a candle together, in a very similar ritual to the unity candle lighting that is commonplace in American wedding ceremonies.

The tea is served by the bride and groom from a beautiful tea set on a tray. Honoring family and respecting elders is one of the cornerstones of Chinese culture, and this is evident in the matrimonial tea ceremony. The newlyweds first serve the groom’s parents. Next are his paternal grandparents, followed by the maternal grandparents. After that, the rest of the groom’s relatives are offered tea, beginning with his eldest uncles and aunts, working down the family line to the oldest brother of the groom (if he has one). The entire ceremony is then repeated for the bride’s side of the family, if the couple has decided to hold a ritual for both sides at once.

Tea Set

     As each guest is presented with a cup of tea, he takes a sip and then places a red envelope on the tray. Known as “lucky red envelopes” or lai see, they contain cash or jewelry gifts for the bride and groom. In Chinese culture, this is the customary wedding present, not household goods. As mentioned before, everything has symbolic meaning in Chinese heritage, and this includes the gift of money in the lai see. Just like with the wedding dates, even numbers are considered to be more lucky than odd ones (which are associated with funerals). A gift of $88 or $168 would be very auspicious, whereas an envelope containing $75 or some other odd number would not be so lucky. There is one even number that should be avoided, which is the number four. In Chinese, four sounds very similar to death, making it very unlucky indeed.

Lai See Envelope

Wedding Food

     Food is as important a part of a Chinese wedding as any other. The banquets are usually quite abundant, and the more courses, the better. A nine course dinner represents eternity, so it is especially favored. Like every other aspect, the foods served have symbolic meaning. Peking duck stands for joy and happiness. A whole lobster or fish is a sign of completeness. Shark fin soup conjures up wealth, and sea cucumbers represent harmony for the new marriage. Another traditional food to include in a Chinese wedding banquet is sweet sticky buns shaped like peaches. The sweet flavor is symbolic of wishes for a sweet life for the newlyweds, and the peach stands for fertility. The trio of primary themes which are vital in all aspects of Chinese weddings are happiness/luck, fertility, and wealth (along with respect for heritage, which is shown by adhering to all of these customs).

During the reception, the bride and groom will visit each table of guests between dinner courses. It is customary for the newlyweds to be joined by their immediate family while making the rounds. At each table, the bride and groom offer a toast to their guests. Holding their glass with one hand on the top and one on the bottom, the newlyweds will say, “Kanpei”, which means “dry glass”. The guests in return will pay their respects to the newlyweds.

Lion Dance

Symbolism & Tradition

      There are many other Chinese wedding customs worth including in an East-meets-West ceremony or reception. Traditional mandolin music can be played during the ceremony or cocktail hour. If you are really looking to treat your guests to something special, include the Lion Dance in your event. Dating back 1000 years, the Lion Dance is a marvelous spectacle featuring performers dressed in fanciful lion costumes. The lions dance and perform to lively music made by drums, gongs, and symbols. The Lion Dance is a pure joy, and can be included at any time of the wedding, other than during the exchange of vows.

      The incredible wealth ofsymbolism and traditional ritualsthat are characteristic of a Chinese wedding make them very powerful events. In a desire to honor their heritage and to start off their married life on lucky footing, many modern Chinese-American couples decide to make these ancient customs a part of their contemporary weddings. The charms, symbols, and themes of Chinese weddings are so intriguing that they are also finding their way into many Asian-inspired weddings of non-Chinese brides and grooms, as well. This is a testament to the meaningful nature of the myriad of Chinese wedding customs, signs, and omens.”

Found at http://seabastian.hubpages.com/hub/Chinese-Bridal-Customs

Bridal Bazaar was a success!

As you can probably see, the girls and I had a great time decorating our booth, setting up our spinning prize wheel of vendors and meeting all of the blushing and excited brides and their bridal parties. It was a busy day and our booth was packed with prize winners!

We were so excited to give out to our Loew’s Coronado Spa Membership grand prize to: Jasmine

Four lucky winners got a free Bootcamp workout session at the beach or park for the bride and three bridesmaids!

We saw a lot of great vendors at the Bridal Bazaar, like our neighbors Crunchtime Popcorn. Did anyone get to try their ice-cream? What did you think?

What were the best ideas/vendors that you saw at the Bridal Bazaar?

Final Bridal Bazaar Prize Secret: Loews Coronado Spa Membership!

See us Tomorrow 1/29/12 at the San Diego Convention Center Booth #107

Spin and Win a Grand Prize from SEA SPA at LOEWS CORONADO

3 month Bridal Spa Membership

Includes:

Fitness Center

Aerobics Room

Tennis courts

Group Exercise Classes

Outdoor Patio with Jacuzzi

Complementary access to Swimming Pools

Discounts

Complimentary Parking

 

Grand Prize Secret #4 Revealed: Brazilian Mardi Gras Ball

http://dguides.com/sandiego/events/upcoming-events/20th-annual-san-diego-brazil-carnival-february-18-2012/

You won’t need your passport to visit Rio de Janeiro Brazil for Mardi Gras, which they call Carnival!

Come to BOOTH #107 @ the Bridal Bazaar this Sunday, Jan. 29th 
and spin our prize wheel to win this exciting grand prize.
 
2 TICKETS TO THE BRAZILIAN Mardi Gras Ball
on Feb. 18, 2012 at 4th and B. St. San Diego, CA
 

Enjoy the Energetic Music, Delicious Drinks, Samba Dancing and Gorgeous Showgirls of Brazil at this Exotic affair.

Book our amazing Brazilian Mardi Gras Party Package @bffbridesmaid.com for your next Bachelor/Bachelorette party!

You’ll fall in love with the energy and beauty of the Brazilian culture!

Grand Prize Secret #3: BFF Bridesmaid Bootcamp

Ok, either you or your friend has a new engagement ring so that means you’re due to put on a pretty expensive dress soon.

What does that mean?

Probably, that you are on a diet or have a goal to lose some weight to look fit and trim in your beautiful dress. Perfect timing too as it probably coincides with one of your New Year’s resolutions!

So in honor of all of you looking to debut a New you on the big day, here is our next grand prize for the Bridal Bazaar on Jan. 29th at the SD Convention Center.

BFF Bridesmaid Bootcamp Prize Packet

What is this? It’s the perfect way to reach your weight loss goals through fun, fitness and a bonding experience you can share between the bride and bridesmaids.

Imagine it, you and your best girlfriends supporting one another, eating healthy together and exercising together through personal training and fun outdoor activity.

Your prize package includes:

An individualized personal assessment

A nutrition plan

A one day trial bootcamp session with your closest friends at the park or beach with certified trainers from KOOL BODY Fitness.

So stop by booth #107 to spin and win.

You may win a brand new YOU!

Bridal Bazaar 1/29/12  @Booth107

10 tips for getting the most out of the SD Bridal Bazaar

The San Diego Bridal Bazaar is just ONE week away!

Here are some useful tips for navigating the largest bridal expo in San Diego.

1)Get discount tickets at http://www.bridalbazaar.com or on their facebook page (buy 1, get 1 free). Remember to bring $10 for parking under the convention center.

2) Bring your support group! Members of your bridal party and female family members and friends work best. Decide if you want to bring your groom because it can be very stressful and overwhelming for the guys. Make sure everyone has cell phones, each others phone numbers and cameras to take pictures of wedding ideas for you.

3) Eat a little beforehand as there is only a small snackbar inside. Leave space though for all the cake and food samples that you’ll be able to try at the Bridal Bazaar. The booth next to BFFbridesmaid (booth#107) is giving away samples of delicious gourment popcorn and homemade cold stone ice cream! Bring a bottle of water with you as it can get expensive buying onsite.

4) Wear comfortable shoes and bring a backpack for all the promotional material you’ll receive. Bring color swatches if you’ve already picked out your wedding colors

5) Make a plan. Check http://www.bridalbazaar.com for the map and decide your plan of attack. Best is to go aisle by aisle starting with aisle #100 and working your way towards the fashion show area. You can also use your friends to fan out and then meet back up to see if there were any you wanted to revisit together. Plan out what questions you want to ask. Make a checklist for the different types of vendors that you still need and make sure you find at least two of each so you can comparison shop.

6) Schedule in the fashion show. There will be three fashion shows: 11:30am, 1:00pm, 2:45pm. Make sure you stay until the end when they throw out prizes into the audience. My best friend won a free engagement photography session. BFFbridesmaid will be giving away a free Bridesmaid Bootcamp for you and 3 friends!

7) If you already have your gown and bridal party clothing, take the opportunity to visit the most popular or crowded vendors during the fashion shows as it will make their booths a lot less crowded.

8) Bring your business cards or pre printed labels with your contact info on them. Sign up for as many drawings and prizes as you can. A friend of mine won a free honeymoon!

9) You won’t remember all the vendors you see and meet so take notes on flyers and promotional materials that you find. Write down if they have any special Bridal Bazaar offers. Many vendors give special discounts if you book at the Bridal Bazaar!

10) Relax, have fun and DO NOT get overwhelmed. There will be 320 vendors there but remember, you don’t need to get everything you see! You are there to get ideas and most importantly enjoy this first step of your bridal journey…

BFF Bridesmaid Prize SECRET #2

Ok…. giving away the next secret…

BFF Bridesmaid will be giving away a completely unique prize package:

A SURF DIVA Bachelorette Party!!

Why go to the club? The HOT guys are in the water!

Enjoy a day of surf with your best girlfriends.

Prize includes:

Surfboard/soft board use
Wetsuit or Rashguard use
Lecture on beach
Surfing “pop up” demonstration on beach
Surfing skills instruction in water
Surf Diva Diploma

and

Exclusive Party Favors

Courtesy of our friends Coco and Izzy at Surf Diva in La Jolla, CA.

Come to booth #107 at the Bridal Bazaar next Sunday 1/29/12 to spin our prize wheel.

YOU COULD BE THE LUCKY WINNER!!

BFF Bridesmaid at the Bridal Bazaar 1/29/12

BFF Bridesmaid is so excited to be showcasing our booth at the Bridal Bazaar

San Diego Convention Center Sunday, Jan. 29th from 10 am- 4pm!

Check out our booth (BOOTH # 107) next to

Crunchtime Popcorn and Ice-Cream (offering great samples of ice cream and gourmet popcorn) and Friar’s Tuxedos.

As a resource center for bridesmaids and Maids of Honor, we are so honored to be partnered with the most amazing vendors who host our most creative packages.

I’m happy to report that we’ve gathered some amazing prizes from our preferred vendors to give away at the Bridal Bazaar. I’ll release one secret per day about our prizes starting right now.

Grand Prize # 1
A FREE Bridal Shower (or bachelorette party) TEA PARTY for 8 people at

Frosted Robin Cupcakes in beautiful Seaport Village.

 

FREE Tea party includes a private in the tea shop, beautifully decorated table setting for eight, delicious teas, cupcakes, fun accessories like fans, feather boas and tea party hats to wear during the event.

Come to our booth #107 and Spin the big wheel of Prizes for your chance to win!

Discount coupons for the Bridal Bazaar available at bridalbazaar.com

Bridal Bazaar January 29th, 2012 10am-4pm at the SD Convention Center

If you are a bride- Congratulations! You did it! You guys are engaged finally! Now that the euphoria is starting to wear off, some of you are beginning to wonder.. what now?

Just accepted bridesmaid or Maid of Honor duty? Then you are eager to do a great job and prove that she made the best choice. Well, the best thing to do now is jump into the fray and go to the 1-stop-shop for all things bridal. The nearest Bridal Show..

In San Diego, the biggest bridal show is definitely the Bridal Bazaar which will be at the San Diego Convention Center Jan. 29th from 10am-4pm.

The Bridal Bazaar is the only place to go to when beginning this journey towards wedding bliss. The awesome thing is the time you save researching because all of the best vendors come directly to one place and you get to meet them in person.I think they are expecting like 300 vendors this year! Also, they give great discounts for services when you book at the Bridal Bazaar..

It can also be a little overwhelming so make sure you have a plan and bring your support. There are going to be lots of eye candy, samples, prizes and even a fashion show.

So get ready, get set, and get rolling.. off to the Bridal Bazaar we go!

Check Bridal Bazaar on Facebook for buy one get one free tickets… or just email us and we’ll send you one! info@bffbridesmaid.com!

5 Ways to politely Say “No” to a bride

Maybe you don’t have the time?

Or in this economy… the money. (Welcome to the club!)

Or maybe you just don’t want to!

How do you say no to being a bridesmaid or Maid of Honor and not hurt the brides’ feelings and ultimately ruin the relationship?

 

Should she have said no?
                                 http://collider.com/bridesmaids-review/90677/

Should she have said no?     

 
 

#1 Be honest but be kind

Remember the bride has only wedding on the brain and maybe no reason you give her will be a good enough reason for you to miss her big day- even if you are pregnant and due to give birth on her wedding day! However, you owe it to her to be honest and bow out if you truly cannot afford it, are too far away, or feel that you won’t be up to all the tasks that will be expected of you.

#2 Be grateful for the request

This is a day she’s been dreaming of since she was a little girl and you have to be sensitive to that. Maybe she’s been picturing you by her side as she says her “I Do’s” since she was 5 years old. The fact that she’s chosen you above all her other friends and family to be part of her wedding is a great compliment and you should acknowledge that.

#3 Offer other ways of helping or being a part of the wedding

If your location, schedule or finances bar you from serving as a bridesmaid or Maid of Honor, you can still help out in other ways. Offer to attend fittings, help find resources on the internet for her, use your networks to find discounts, help with addressing invitations or making favors. Show her that you still care.

#4 Attend the pre-wedding and wedding events

Even if you can’t be a bridesmaid or Maid of Honor, you should still try your very best to attend at least one pre-wedding event like the bridal shower or bachelorette party. If you can’t afford a gift, be honest and come anyway. She’d rather have your presence there without a gift than having you stay away because you’re embarrassed.

#5 Offer support

This is one of the  happiest but most stressful times in the brides life. You can do her the biggest favor by just being there to comfort her, checking in by phone or email and trying to help her keep perspective. Ask her to come out for a pedicure, let her vent over coffee, rent movies and just stay in your living room talking about nothing wedding related. She’ll need a break from all the wedding craziness and having someone outside of the wedding party to act as an oasis will be greatly appreciated.

Remember, you don’t want to be the cause of wedding drama and you definitely don’t want to contribute to the breaking up of friendships over wedding duties. Sometimes saying No is the best gift you can give to a bride…