If you are Chinese but have never been exposed to the culture or are a guest/participant at your first Chinese wedding than seeing or being part of your first Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony is very beautiful to witness. Everything done for a Chinese Wedding is for luck and prosperity for the new life that the bride and groom have started for themselves. From wearing red and gold to dragon and phoenixes to the symbol for Double Happiness emblazoned everywhere.
I am very close to my family and at our wedding I wanted to be sure that all of my elders (grandmother, godmother, parents, aunts and uncles) and also my elder cousins were given the opportunity to be given tea by my husband and me. It was also very exciting for me to introduce the Tea Ceremony custom to my in-laws who are not Chinese.
The Chinese Tea Ceremony is a traditional wedding ceremony where the newly married couple expresses their thanks, gratitude and respect to the elder members of their family on their wedding day by offering them tea. In return, the couple receives monetary gifts in red or gold envelopes, jewelry (dragon phoenix bangles are very popular) and sometimes good old fashioned marriage advice to start the married couple on their new life together.
Traditionally, when giving tea to the elders, they sit in two chairs, while the bride and groom kneel before them. For my elder cousins, the offering is the same, however, instead of the bride and groom kneeling and the elder cousins sitting, everyone stood up. For our wedding, one of my cousin-in-laws prepared the tea cups and handed it to us and we then offered the tea to our elders to drink. Another cousin graciously handled the placement of any jewelry that was given to us. It made things go very smoothly.
My husband and I wanted to give back a little something to remember our special day by. So I made Tea Ceremony tea cup favors to give our elders as a special thank you for their participation and support. I handpainted the Chinese character for “Love” and also wrote the date in Chinese, and on the bottom I inscribed the first initial of our names like a seal.
Everyone loved the favors and thought it was a great idea!