How To Plan A Chinese Tea Ceremony

How To Plan A Chinese Tea Ceremony

In Chinese culture, newlyweds often include a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, called “敬茶” in Chinese, as a part of their wedding day festivities. The Chinese tea ceremony is a way for you to show gratitude to your parents and elders while addressing them by their new titles for the first time. This also gives the elders an opportunity to personally bless your marriage and shower you with gifts.

If you’re thinking of including a Chinese tea ceremony on your wedding day, we’ve compiled a list of everything you need to know.

When Does The Chinese Tea Ceremony Happen?

Traditionally, a Chinese tea ceremony happens on a lucky engagement day. In modern day, this usually happens on the wedding day between your ceremony and the reception.

Where Does The Chinese Tea Ceremony Happen?

This is something that should be done in private with family, so choose a location away from your other guests. The tea ceremony can be done at either the bride or groom’s home, or in a private room at your reception venue.

What Do You Need For A Chinese Tea Ceremony?

Tea Set & Serving Plate

Traditionally, this is part of the bride’s wedding dowry. If you don’t have this, you can buy one yourself or borrow an existing set from home or the reception venue.

Tea

Choose a Chinese tea like pu’er or jasmine tea. As an option, add two lotus seeds and two red dates per cup to symbolize fertility.

Table

A small table is needed to put the tea and gifts.

2 Cups Per Elder

You don’t want to reuse cups, so plan enough cups for each person. You can ask the reception venue to prepare cups or buy some fancy disposable cups.

2 Chairs

The elders will be sitting (as couples) on chairs.

2 Kneeling Cushions

If you choose to kneel while serving tea, choose a pair of red cushions to keep yourselves comfortable.

Helpers

To help things proceed smoothly, get helpers to assist with the tea ceremony process such as filling tea cups, passing the tea, and receiving the gifts.

Lucky Lady

Couples sometimes hire a Lucky Lady to assist with the proceeding. Bridesmaids are a great modern alternative!

What’s The Setup For A Chinese Tea Ceremony?

If you want to stick with tradition, kneel while you serve tea out of respect for your elders. Nowadays, some couples choose to stand and bow while serving tea instead. The bride should sit or stand to the left of the groom. At the same time, couples on chairs should sit in the same way, with the lady on the left and the mister on the right.

What’s The Order Of Procession For A Chinese Tea Ceremony?

As a tradition, the bride’s side should go before the groom’s. However, the best thing to do is to check with the newlyweds’ parents first, in case they have another preference. Within the family, the serving order is by seniority, starting with the immediate parents. Then, the oldest in the family goes first and finishes with the youngest in the family. Here’s a sample order:

Parents Of The Bride
Grandparents Of The Bride
Uncles & Aunts Of The Bride
Older Siblings Of The Bride
Older Cousins Of The Bride
Parents Of The Groom
Grandparents Of The Groom
Uncles & Aunts Of The Groom
Older Siblings Of The Groom
Older Cousins Of The Groom

What Are The Steps For A Chinese Tea Ceremony?

  • Before you serve the tea, the Lucky Lady may say a few lucky sayings to you and the elders.
  • The Lucky Lady or helpers will have four cups on the serving plate for you to pass to the elders.
  • The groom addresses the male elder with his title like, “Dad, please drink tea,” then serves him a cup of tea. The bride then follows the groom and proceeds with the same actions with the address and serving of the tea.
  • The same actions are repeated again to the female elder.
  • After drinking the tea, the elderly couple will bless you and present you with money or gifts.
  • If the elders present you with jewelry, they will be putting it on you on the spot. If you receive gifts that’s not jewelry, pass them onto your helpers so they can put it aside.

Infographic Download

Download a printable infographic so you can pass this information onto your helpers, or anyone who wants a refresher on what to do during a Chinese tea ceremony!

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