Wedding Tea Ceremony 敬茶
The tea ceremony is one of the most significant event in the modern chinese wedding ceremony, second only to fetching the bride. The bride and groom are formally introduced to each other’s family through this ceremony.
Order of service
It will usually take place on the wedding day when most of the family members are present. If some members are not available, supplementary sessions can be conducted at the wedding dinner or at other convenient times and locations.
The order of service is usually
– grand-uncles and grand-aunties,
– uncles and aunties,
– elder brothers and sisters,
– elder cousins.
For some family, grandparents are served before parents. Within each generation, dad’s relatives are served before mum’s relatives.
To kneel or not to kneel
In very traditional family, the young couple is required to serve tea whilst kneeling down. Most modern family only requires them to bow while serving tea.
Do you use a special tea set?
A new tea set is included in the bride’s dowry. It usually comprises of four tea cups and a tea pot without any milk jar and sugar pot. Popular designs include those with double joy, dragon and phoenix, or poeny flowers and gold trimmings.
This new tea set will be used for the groom’s side tea ceremony. On the bride’s side, the parent’s tea set from their own wedding will be used if it is still available. Otherwise, a new tea set can be used.
What’s in the tea?
Sweet tea boiled with dried longan, lotus seeds and red dates are used for the Tea ceremony. Red dates 红枣 (hongzao), longan 龙眼 (longyan), and lotus seeds 莲子 (lianzi), represents the family’s wish for the couple to have sons soon after the wedding 早生贵子(zaoshengguizi). The sweetness symbolises harmony and sweetness in the couple’s union.
Red packets money gifts or jewellery?
The tea ceremony gifts such as red packets or jewellery are presented on the serving plate after drinking the tea. Usually the relatives of the bride will present her with jewellery rather than red packets. This is referred to as “adding to her dowry” 添嫁妆.
When will you have the tea ceremony for the bride’s side?
The tea ceremony for the bride’s side is usually carried out during the bride’s home visit. Sometimes the distance between the bride and groom’s home is too far apart for the bride’s home visit to be on the same day as the wedding day. In this case, the bride’s side tea ceremony may be conducted when the groom arrives to fetch the bride.