Whenever I photograph a Chinese wedding, it’s usually a packed schedule. We’re talking, down to the minute. Bride prep, door games, multiple ceremonies, and lots of aunt/uncles. This couple had none of that. I’d say they were likely the simplest Chinese wedding I’ve ever done.
We started out with a morning tea ceremony at the bride’s family home. Just the couple and her parents, followed with some couple portraits. Then we went to the groom’s family home and did the same. He did have two sets of aunt/uncles but that was it. The couple had lunch, changed outfits and did a second round of couple and family photos at Milken Park. And the rest of the evening was just a fancy dinner at The ONE Fusion Cuisine. Can all my Chinese Weddings run work like this?
Chinese Tea Ceremony
The tea ceremony begins with the bride’s family, followed by the groom’s family. It is an ancient ceremony to honour your elders. As always, these traditions differ from family to family. As a rule, the tea is usually served in order of hierarchy. So starting with grandparents. Then parents, aunties/uncles, elder siblings, and finally cousins. The tea set is often a family heirloom. If the bride has a dowry, they will include a tea set for the ceremony. The tea is usually infused with lotus seeds or even red dates to symbolize fertility. The bridal party will usually help with pouring the tea and cleaning cups during the ceremony.
Traditionally, the couple serves tea whilst kneeling down, but some modern families prefer to bow instead. Either way shows respect to your elders. Following the tea ceremony, gifts are given to the bride and groom. They can usually be red envelopes containing money. They can also consist of jewelry handed down from mother-in-law and female relatives to the bride.