How to run a Chinese Tea Ceremony

Are your parents expecting a Chinese tea ceremony on the day of your wedding? What happens at a Chinese tea ceremony? Who will serve tea to who? In what order do you serve tea to? Who's house should the tea ceremony be conducted at? What to wear at the Chinese tea ceremony? Who runs the tea ceremony?

Starting to panic? Well sweetheart, don’t despair! We are going to give you a rundown on the basics of running a Chinese tea ceremony, so you can have the wedding you have always dreamed of and honour your cultural background at the same time.


Let me first give you a little briefing of the tradition first. In the olden days when there were arranged marriages, the tea ceremony was when the bride was formally introduced to the groom's family after vows were exchanged (yes, this was the awkward moment when the bride meets everyone for the first time… I am sure yours won’t be like this at all!).

What happens at a Chinese tea ceremony and what do you have to do?

The tea ceremony for the groom’s side is usually in the morning before the ceremony with the bride’s family. However, working with modern day wedding logistics, it is now more commonly conducted at the bride's house after the "gatecrash" games and the "fetching of the bride from her room".

The groom is on the left of the bride, with the father facing the bride and mother facing the groom. The parents are usually served first, then the grandparents, granduncles/aunts, uncles/aunts, and then elder siblings.

Should you kneel? Well, in the traditional sense, the new couple is required to kneel while serving their elders tea. However, in some families, bowing is accepted. It’s best to check first, but whatever you do, it’s good to show some form of ‘bending’ as a sign of respect. As Elle Woods said in Legally Blonde, the “bend and snap has a 98% success rate.” Amen girlfriend! (Though I think we’ll leave the ‘snap’ out on the day…)

After the elders drink the tea, each one (not including unmarried elders) usually hands you and your new hubby a red envelope filled with either money or jewellery. Prepare yourself for people insisting you wear the jewellery immediately! (Having jewellery placed on you by your family make gorgeous photo opportunities) Afterwards, you as a couple will also present red envelopes filled with money to younger siblings who have helped you serve tea; it’s supposed to bring good luck and fortune to them.


Choosing the tea and tea set

Teas that are known for their sweetness are perfect for Chinese tea ceremonies as they represent a happy union (and the sweet sweet love between you and your husband). You can use sweetened red or black tea, but if you’re after a little extra bling bling, lotus seeds and red dates are a pleasant addition as they both represent fertility (and we all know that traditional elders are crazy about wanting grandchildren!).

The tea set is traditionally a crucial part of the gifts given by the bride’s family to the groom’s. This means your family is in charge (but don’t be scared!). Tea sets are available in modern and traditional styles, with the ‘double happiness’ word, phoenixes, dragons and flowers being popular decorations.

These days, it is more common to rent the tea set as there is little opportunity to re-use it after the wedding and of course there’s no wastage!

Choosing your Chinese tea ceremony dress

Since it is a traditional Chinese ceremony, it would be more appropriate to wear a traditional Chinese dress. This usually is red in colour, adorned with golden decorations of phoenixes, dragons and clouds. In Northern China, a one-piece frock is usually worn while in a Southern China it is usually a two-piece dress. If you’re into traditions, you can also wear a red veil/tulle on your head.

Depending on what specific culture you are honouring, the different types of dress can include: “Kwa”, “Kua” ,“Qun Kwa”, Qi Pao, Cheongsam, Ao Dai the names go on.

We can help you

We’ve helped many brides prepare for their tea ceremony; decorations, tea sets, tea recipes, Qi Pao and Qun Kwa rentals, we've got your back! In particular, we can help put together a run-sheet TAILOR MADE for your wedding! We love taking the stress away from planning and coordinating tea ceremonies for the modern day Australian couple who wants to honour their cultural background. (Get in touch with us if you could do with some help!)

So, are you ready for action!? I know all this may sound a little serious and intimidating at first, but always remember it’s your wedding day; relax and enjoy the moment, enjoy the tea ceremony, and everyone will enjoy it with you!

Floral ideas for Chinese & Cultural Weddings


Flowers not only add a touch of freshness and life to any wedding, but they also carry special values and meanings within the Chinese culture. Wedding decorations can become tricky when the two families come from different cultures. Floral decorations are an ideal way to get around this; you can mix and match them as freely as you like to represent many cultures at once. Hence, they’re not only perfect for traditional Chinese weddings, but also for the cultural weddings like Chinese-Australian weddings, or even just western style Chinese weddings. Below are a few tips and ideas on choosing the right flowers for Chinese influenced weddings.


Though it can vary from flower to flower, traditionally, red is often associated with prosperity and fortune, while pink symbolizes love. Hence, these two colours are a popular and safe choice for both white gowned and traditional Chinese weddings.

Although white flowers are also popular, they can be controversial as well; it’s best to consult both parties on their views. (Even when the parents don’t seem to care much, just double check…just in case!) Traditionally, white was mainly used in funerals as it is often associated with death. However, today, many Chinese brides already wear white dresses, thus white flowers may be acceptable especially in western style weddings.

Different types of gorgeous flowers  and their meanings

The Orchid

Orchids are a popular modern pick; a symbol of love, fertility and a married couple. They are also sometimes associated with fortune and wealth. Moreover, Moth Orchids can especially represent the pure and sincere bond between a loving couple.

The Lily

Lilies are also a popular Chinese choice. Not only are they often associated with a happy union and purity, they’re also a symbol of the feminine eternal; the beauty of a young lady, and the grace of a mother. Additionally, yellow lilies can represent joyfulness.

The Lotus Flower

Lotus flowers are also suitable especially for your more oriental weddings. With leaves still attached to the bud, it can represent a complete union whilst also being associated with love, virtue, and purity. They’re also great at adding an oriental touch to Asian themed weddings.


When in doubt about floral decorations for cultural weddings, roses are most likely the best choice. They’re probably the most universally used flowers in weddings (including in Chinese weddings).  Red roses can be a powerful symbol of deep and sincere love in both Western and Asian cultures.

For a greater hint of the orient, the China Rose (Rosa chinensis) can be the perfect choice with a variety that opens as a pale pink that later develops into a deep red; an embodiment of the ever growing and transforming notion of true love within a marriage.

Of course these are only a few suggestions of flowers that can be used in Chinese/cultural; there are many more varieties to choose from. Most of the flowers mentioned are great for cultural weddings due to their culturally neutral nature (such as with roses). Keeping in mind a colour theme that you may already have in place for your wedding, you should consult a professional florist before deciding to make sure the floral decorations will be in perfect bloom on your perfect day!