Chinese Tea Ceremony
Greetings from Lake Bled! I’m Petra Starbek, your Lake Bled wedding planner, and I’m thrilled to share how I infuse the charm of Chinese traditions into my couples’ Lake Bled destination weddings.In this blog post, I will talk about The Chinese Tea Ceremony which I was part of this year.
A destination wedding is a symphony of love, culture, and breathtaking scenery, and Lake Bled stands out as a picturesque canvas for such a celebration. For couples with Chinese heritage, incorporating the rich tapestry of traditions into the ceremony is a crucial element and one that deserves meticulous planning. My commitment goes beyond the typical destination wedding services; I love to integrate cultural practices, such as the revered Chinese Tea Ceremony, into the couple’s weddings if they want.
The Chinese Tea Ceremony
One of the most cherished customs in a Chinese wedding is the Tea Ceremony. The Chinese Tea Ceremony, a time-honored tradition symbolizing respect, gratitude, and the union of two families, takes place in Lake Bled Chinese destination weddings. In contemporary Chinese weddings, the tea ceremony stands out as a profoundly significant tradition. This ritual, where newlyweds pay homage to their elders and receive acknowledgment of their union, remains a cornerstone of cultural weddings. The colloquial phrase “drinking a daughter-in-law’s tea” in Chinese encapsulates the essence of a wedding, underscoring the enduring importance of this practice. If you aspire to infuse your wedding with Chinese cultural elements, incorporating a tea ceremony is a poignant choice. However, orchestrating this tradition necessitates a comprehensive understanding of the logistics involved in seamlessly integrating it into your wedding day.
We need to prepare: Teapot & tea cups with enough additional cups for each person (2 cups per guest); Serving tray; Tea (oolong, black, jasmine, green, puerh, etc.); Kneeling pillows; Decorations; and Cheongsam to wear
My meticulous planning extends to every aspect of the ceremony, from selecting the perfect tea set to advising on appropriate attire for the occasion. The couple and their families are immersed in the elegance of this ancient tradition, creating a moment that transcends time and space. The incorporation of family and cultural elements into the wedding elevates the experience, making it uniquely personal and meaningful.
Adding cultural elements doesn’t necessarily mean compromising the aesthetics of a destination wedding. I believe that the infusion of cultural richness enhances the overall beauty of the celebration. Whether it’s incorporating the auspicious color red in subtle details or designing invitations in the couple’s native language, every touch is thoughtfully curated to reflect the couple’s heritage.
In the heart of Lake Bled, surrounded by the beauty of nature and the echoes of tradition, a Chinese destination wedding becomes an exquisite blend of cultural reverence and scenic splendor. It’s a celebration where the past meets the present, and two families come together to create memories that will be cherished for a lifetime.
During the Lake Bled wedding day
Executed on the wedding day itself, the Chinese tea ceremony unfolds as the bride and groom reverently serve tea to their parents, in-laws, and other family members. Set within the familial confines, this ritual symbolizes the merging of two families and holds profound significance. Traditionally attired, with the bride adorned in the elegant qun kwa, the couple kneels before their elders, assisted by attendants, typically bridesmaids.
Primarily, the parents and in-laws are the central recipients of this ceremonial gesture, though occasionally other relatives such as grandparents, aunts, and uncles may partake. Rooted in history, the origins of the tea ceremony date back to the Tang dynasty in China (618-907). In contemporary contexts, however, it is widely perceived as a symbol of familial acceptance, marking the integration of the bride or groom into their new family.
Renowned wedding consultant Sharon Au emphasizes that the act of drinking tea during this ceremony signifies more than mere recognition; it embodies the family’s acceptance of the new member. This sentiment is particularly pronounced on the groom’s side. Furthermore, the ceremony serves as an expression of gratitude from the couple, conveying a message, “I am marrying into this family, and I honor and respect my elders by serving them tea.”
PICKING TEA FOR THE CEREMONY
Choose any tea you like for the ceremony, says one of my Brides. Add red dates, lotus seeds, and lily to the tea; red dates for luck, lotus seeds for children, and the Chinese name of the lily flower rhyme with an expression meaning marriage longevity.
THE GUEST LIST
When organizing a Chinese tea ceremony, discuss with your family to decide who to invite. Include your parents, and close family like grandparents, aunts, and uncles. The bridal party, especially bridesmaids, usually helps with serving tea to relatives. It’s advised to avoid asking a relative to be an attendant if they’re also receiving tea to avoid potential awkwardness.
Much like a Western wedding ceremony, the groom is on the right side and the bride on the left. Female relatives are seated across from the groom, while male relatives are seated in front of the bride.
WHO COVERS THE COSTS
Traditionally, the bride’s family pays for the tea and decorations. They use Chinese-style teaware and cushions with the “double happiness” character, symbolizing weddings.
SELECTING THE CEREMONY LOCATION
In Hong Kong, where weddings blend Chinese and Western customs, the bride’s side has the tea ceremony at her family home in the morning. The groom and groomsmen pick her up. If the couple goes to the groom’s home, the ceremony is held there. Doing it all at once is considered the best, but it’s flexible; you can also do it at a lunch banquet, for example.
Most of the couples I work with choose to start their Lake Bled destination wedding day with a Chinese tea ceremony with both families and a wedding party in the hotel room (look at some Lake Bled venues) with an amazing Lake Bled view they rented specially for this occasion.
During the tea ceremony, the bride and groom face relatives of their gender, serving tea in a specific order. They use kinship terms, hand the teacup with both hands and say, “[kinship term], please drink the tea.” There’s no rush, and it’s okay if tea drinkers don’t finish.
Kneeling is a customary practice during the tea ceremony. Some even kneel with their head touching the ground to show respect. Couples may choose to kneel only before parents and in-laws, reaching a consensus with their families. Some may opt not to kneel at all, but Au emphasizes that if the mother-in-law requests it, it’s usually accepted without hesitation.
After the ceremony, parents share wisdom and present red envelopes (called lai see) with cash, symbolizing luck. Following this, the groom’s parents give the bride gold jewelry, particularly the traditional “dragon and phoenix bangles.” Au advises the bride to put them on immediately to avoid appearing rude or unappreciative.
SIGNIFICANT SYMBOLS IN DECOR
Tea ceremony decorations are typically simple yet meaningful, often featuring the Double Happiness symbol (囍), phoenix and dragon motifs, or depictions of Chinese marriage gods. Gold and red are the preferred colors, symbolizing happiness, wealth, and prosperity—a fitting choice for the beginning of a marriage!
be unique during planning
Though the tea ceremony is usually an intimate family celebration, you may certainly extend the invite to all your wedding guests. If doing so, make sure to have a translator for the service, or prepare wedding programs that explain the tea ceremony traditions. For the ultimate wow factor, consider entertainment such as lion dancers or Chinese firecrackers to end the evening! I suggested that you look on Pinterest as well for the destination Chinese tea ceremony.
A destination wedding is a journey of love that transcends borders, and embracing your cultural heritage adds a layer of depth and authenticity to the celebration. With my expert guidance, your Chinese Tea Ceremony becomes more than a ritual—it becomes a symbol of the beautiful union of two families and the rich tapestry of your shared history. Let me be your partner in creating a wedding experience that is not only visually stunning but also deeply meaningful.
I’m here for you.
Wherever you are in the world, if you are planning a wedding and you’d like expert support by your side – I’m here for you. I can give you comprehensive guidance, or just peace of mind on the certain elements you need help with. To get in touch, you can fill out my contact form or just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org