Chinese culture is steeped in tradition, and Chinese weddings are no different. In our years of experience as wedding videographers, we’ve had the pleasure of shooting and producing a number of Chinese wedding ceremonies and Chinese wedding traditions. Whether you are throwing a traditional Chinese wedding that hearkens back to the three letters and six etiquette or inflecting a Western marriage with Chinese inspiration, we’ll ensure that we capture every detail that’s important for your big day.
Chinese Wedding – Six Etiquette
Chinese marriage traditions became custom between 402 and 221 B.C. While times have changed since then, many elements of a traditional Chinese wedding or Chinese-themed wedding can be traced back to the six etiquette. Marriages were arranged, in part, by the parents, with a matchmaker serving as an intermediary. The matchmaker would then employ a Chinese fortune-telling technique called Suan Ming to determine whether or not the marriage was likely to be auspicious or ill-fated. Betrothal gifts and wedding gifts were then exchanged between the families of the bride and the groom.
After that, the fun begins. The two families work together to arrange the Chinese wedding ceremony, ensuring that it falls upon a lucky day on the Chinese calendar. The wedding ceremony itself consists of many elaborate rituals, beginning with the wedding procession. Unlike Western weddings, where the bride and groom merely proceeded down the aisle, historical and traditional Chinese wedding processions have the bridal party literally proceed from the bride’s home to the groom’s home. Once there, the bride would be welcomed in traditional Chinese fashion. Ceremonies were followed prior to welcoming the bridal party into the groom’s home. Next, follows the exchanging of the vows, wherein the couple pays respects to deceased ancestors, family deities, family elders and each other.
The wedding banquet follows the wedding ceremony. This word used to describe a Chinese wedding reception translates literally to “joyful wine.” In this way, a Chinese wedding reception isn’t much different from a traditional Western wedding reception. Like a Western wedding reception, the events after the ceremony are sometimes equally as significant as the ceremony itself, with traditions such as a Chinese wedding tea or wine presentation.
As wedding video producers, one of our favorite parts of a Chinese wedding is the lion dance or dragon dance. This is one aspect that is often retained, even in updated modern Chinese weddings. Acrobatic dancers in visually stunning costumes perform a traditional Chinese dance as part of the entertainment and celebration.
Once-in-a-lifetime spectacles such as the lion or dragon dance are precisely the type of moments we capture as your wedding video professionals. We’ve seen Chinese weddings that incorporate some, all or none of the six etiquette, and each one has been unique and memorable - the perfect experience to capture on film. While we recognize that some Chinese weddings exclude the actual ceremony from photographs and video, there are plenty of opportunities before and after the Chinese wedding ceremony that we can capture for you as a keepsake and reminder of this special day.
For more information on finding a wedding videographer who is experienced with Chinese weddings, contact us at 1.888.222.0359.