A Complete Guide for Wedding Tea Ceremony: A Beautiful Tradition of Honor and Respect

The wedding tea ceremony is a revered tradition in many Asian cultures, especially among Chinese families. It is a beautiful and symbolic ritual that honors the parents and elders of the bride and groom, signifying respect, gratitude, and the merging of two families.

What do you need for a Wedding Tea Ceremony

Here is a comprehensive list of what you need to ensure the ceremony is carried out smoothly and respectfully:

1. Tea Set

  • Teapot: Often ornately designed, ideally with red or gold double happiness motif a symbol of celebrations of marriage.
  • Teacups: Small cups, usually matching the teapot.
  • Tray: To hold the teapot and cups.
Traditional chinese double happiness floral tea set

2. Tea

  • Type of Tea: Traditional Chinese teas such as jasmine, oolong, or pu-erh.
  • Additional Ingredients: Red dates and Lotus seeds can be added for symbolism (fertility and sweet marriage).

3. Attire

  • Bride: Traditional dress such as a red qipao(cheongsam) or qun kwa( qun gua) dress.
  • Groom: Traditional attire like a Ma gua or a mandarin tang suit that complements the bride’s outfit.

4. Ceremony Setup

  • A Tray with red dates, peanuts, longan, and lotus seeds:  These ingredients are homophones for the phrase "早生贵子" wishing for fertility and a harmonious marriage.

  • Chairs and Cushions: For the couple and elders to sit or kneel on during the ceremony. Enhance the ceremony's prestige with Double happiness , dragon and phoenix cushions. These symbols is believed to bring blessings of good luck, prosperity, and a harmonious union.
Double Happiness Dragon Phoenix Kneeling Cushion Pads for chinese vietnamese wedding
  • Double Happiness Decorations: Decorations featuring the double happiness symbol (囍) to enhance the festive atmosphere.
  • Red Envelopes (Hongbao): Containing money or jewelry, to be given to the couple by the elders as a token of blessing and good fortune.
  • Gifts: Sometimes small gifts or jewelry are given to the couple.
  • Dragon & Phoenix Candles and Incense: Optional, but can add to the ceremonial atmosphere. Some ceremonies include lighting candles or incense to honor ancestors and seek their blessings.
  • Ornate Bowls and Spoons: Occasionally used for serving the sweet treats or for other ceremonial purposes.

5. Order of Service

  • List of Elders: A prepared list of family members in the order they will be served.
  • Speeches or Blessings: Any prepared words or blessings from the elders.

6. Optional Additions

  • Ceremony Coordinator: Appoint someone (a family member or a professional) to guide the ceremony, announcing the order of service and ensuring smooth proceedings.
  • Photographer/Videographer: To capture the special moments.
  • Background Music: Traditional Chinese music to create an appropriate atmosphere.

Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting the Tea Ceremony

1. Setup:

  • Arrange the table with the tea set and any additional ceremonial items.
  • Set up the tea set, kneeling pads, and decorations in a designated area. Ensure there is a comfortable place for the elders to sit.
2.  Attire: The bride and groom dress in their traditional outfits.
3 . Serving the Tea:
  • The couple kneels or bows before the elder receiving the tea.
  • The bride holds the teapot while the groom holds the cups, or vice versa.
  • The couple pours the tea and presents it to the elder with both hands.
  • Serving Tea to Groom's Family:

    • Parents of the Groom: The groom’s father is served first, followed by the groom’s mother. The couple addresses them formally (e.g., "Father, please have some tea," "Mother, please have some tea").
    • Grandparents of the Groom: If present, the groom’s paternal grandparents are served next, followed by maternal grandparents
  • Serving Tea to Bride’s Family:

    • Parents of the Bride: The bride’s father is served first, followed by the bride’s mother.
    • Grandparents of the Bride: If present, the bride’s paternal grandparents are served next, followed by maternal grandparents

4. Receiving Red Envelopes and Blessings:

  • Each elder drinks the tea served to them and gives the couple a red envelope (hóng bāo) or a gift, along with blessings and words of wisdom.
  • The bride and groom accept the red envelopes with both hands as a sign of respect and gratitude.

5. Concluding the Ceremony:

  • After serving tea to all the elders, the couple may bow or give a final gesture of respect to all the gathered family members.
  • The bride and groom then thank everyone for their blessings and participation.

Additional Considerations:

  • Sequence of Families: Sometimes the bride’s family is served tea first if the ceremony is held at her home before moving to the groom’s home. Alternatively, the groom’s family may be served first at the groom’s home.
  • Inclusion of other family members uncles, aunties, siblings : typically starting with the eldest. Siblings of the couple may also be served tea, but typically younger ones do not give red envelopes and instead may give simple blessings.

Final Thoughts

The wedding tea ceremony is a timeless ritual that deeply honors family and tradition. Preparing each element thoughtfully ensures the ceremony is not only respectful but also a cherished memory for the couple and their families. This order may vary slightly based on specific family traditions, regional customs, or personal preferences, but the general principle of serving elders first and showing respect remains constant.


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