Traditional Chinese wedding customs are considered as the foundation of rites in traditional Chinese culture. A wedding is usually a grand occasion with overly-elaborate formalities. There are eight major procedures of a wedding, including proposal making, birthday matching, marriage divination, betrothal gifts presenting, wedding date fixing, dowry urging, welcoming the bride to the wedding and performing the formal wedding ceremony.

  Traditional Chinese Weddings

  • Proposal Making

    In China, young people's marriages used to be completely arranged by their parents. In some areas, the boy's parents would invite a matchmaker to make the proposal to the girl's family. This was the proposal making procedure.
  • Birthday Matching & Marriage Divination

    The procedure of birthday matching was the process in which the boy's family asked the matchmaker to go to the girl's family to enquire about her name and date of birth. Then, the boy's parents would send the girl's and their son's names and birthdates to a sorcerer or fortune teller for divining to see if the marriage between the two would be appropriate.
  • Betrothal Gifts Presenting

    When the two families agree to the marriage, the man's family is supposed to send some betrothal gifts to the woman's family. The gifts mainly include clothes, jewelry, gold, silver and money etc. In former times, a gilded silver coin bearing the word "qiu" (meaning "proposal") was among the gifts, indicating the man's proposal. The woman's family would send back another coin bearing the word "yun" (meaning "agreed"), indicating their consent to the proposal.
  • Wedding Date Fixing

    If the engagement is confirmed, then an experienced person will be invited to choose a proper date for the wedding ceremony. The chosen date is believed to be an auspicious one.
  • Dowry Urging

    During the period between the wedding date settlement and welcoming the bride, the boy's family would customarily urge the girl's family to send her dowry in for bridal chamber decoration, otherwise the wedding could not be held on schedule.
  • Proposal Making

    On the wedding day, the bridegroom's family would welcome the bride to the wedding in a bridal sedan accompanied by a wedding procession.
  • Welcoming the Bride to the Wedding

    On the wedding day, the bridegroom's family would welcome the bride to the wedding in a bridal sedan accompanied by a wedding procession.
  • Walking Marriage of Mosuo People

    The walking marriage widely adopted by the Mosuo people of China is a unique marriage custom that is deeply related to its social and cultural traditions of the matrilineal family system. In a walking marriage, the couples do not marry to each other and both stay in their own matrilineal family for their whole life. The marriage and propagation...More>>
  • Stealing Marriage of Tujia Ethnic Minority

    In the suspended wooden buildings (Diaojiao Lou) of Tujia ethnic group in western Hubei Province, several interesting "stealing customs" have been handed down till now, such as stealing pumpkin or beam. Among it, stealing rice bowl is a unique custom of the Tujia ethnic minority group, which is called "stealing marriage"...More>>
  • Wedding Culture of Modern and Contemporary Times

      The Chinese wedding culture in modern and contemporary times has been undergone constant evolvements and innovations, presenting the characteristics of a rich combination of western and eastern cultures and both traditions and fashions.
    • Wedding Photos

      Shooting wedding photos has become indispensable to each wedding in modern and contemporary times. There are a large variety of wedding dresses, which are mainly categorized into the Chinese and western styles. The bright red of Qipao among all Chinese wedding dresses is the most festive and commonly chosen color, while in a western wedding, the while color symbolizing purity and loyalty has always been the first choice.
    • Wedding Cars

      In modern weddings, it is a univeral phenomenon to escort the bride with cars. The cars or "wedding cars" driven on the wedding day are richly decorated with flowers around and red letters of "happiness" on windows. Some are ornamented with mascot or dolls on the front hood.
    • Wedding Banquet

      The wedding dinner is a banquet held for celebration of marriage. During the dinner, friends and relatives gather together to congratulate the newlyweds with blessings of eternal love and a precious son and give their gifts and red packets. The guests, in turn, will be treated with wine and cigarettes and wedding candies. The gifts and money received by the couple are recorded on a red-cover book for later reference of requital.
    • Honeymoon

      The first month after wedding is called honeymoon, which signifies the beginning of conjugal love. The custom was originated in Britain. The newlyweds often choose to travel in their honeymoon, through which they can enjoy their sweet and undisturbed life as well as the fun of traveling.