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Chinese Weddings

I'm not Chinese but my Fiance is - Should I do a tea ceremony?

My fiance is American-born Chinese, and I'm just well...American.  But I'd like to work some important traditions into our ceremony.  Should we do the tea ceremony?  I know he has relatives that are planning to come over for the wedding, and I don't know if they would be more offended by my doing the ceremony or not doing it!

On a related note - should I also do a Chinese-style dress for the reception?

Thank you!

Re: I'm not Chinese but my Fiance is - Should I do a tea ceremony?

  • edited December 2011
    My husband is not Chinese, but we did the tea ceremony because it was still very important to my family.

    Talk to your fiance's parents to see how they feel about the tea ceremony.

    I don't think they should be offended at all for a non-Chinese to do the tea ceremony. Rather, I'm sure that they'll be happy and pleased to see you accepting their culture. Remember that a tea ceremony is all about honouring the parents and elders. Not very many Chinese parents turn down that opportunity!

    You can get a Chinese dress if you have the money and you want to wear it. I actually opted out of changing dresses because I just didn't' want to spend the money, and I loved my wedding dress so much. It's not a requirement by any means, but a great way to incorporate his culture if you want to do it.
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  • edited December 2011
    This is really all up to you guys. How does your fiance feel about it? I agree to ask his parents to see what they think. My mom originally didn't care, but now she wants it done, so we're doing it. My fiance is white. He's all for it. I am changing into the red dress for the reception, but he didn't want to wear a Chinese outfit. Fine by me. And I also wasn't going to wear the red dress, but I was in China recently and got the dress made for a good price.
  • will47will47 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I would guess that they'd be more likely happy than offended, but you should definitely ask your fiancé or his family.

    I think it would be nice to wear a Chinese dress at the ceremony; if you get a qipao or something fitted like that, make sure it fits well, though - the best is to get one custom made, but if you're in the US, may be hard to get a good one. My cousin is white and wore a qipao at her wedding, and I think she pulled it off pretty well. Another option would be to change into a western style red dress, as a sort of nod to tradition.
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  • edited December 2011
    i guess a lot of time is not really up to u
    it's always good to follow the tradition if possible
    so for that better talk to yr parents
    since they are the closest family member to u
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  • edited December 2011
    thebeej, My situation is similar to yours. My fiance was born in Hong Kong but moved here as a child, and I'm "plain Canadian." We're doing a tea ceremony just before the cocktail hour at the reception and I'm getting a cheongsam made for it. Although my fiance's sister (who moved back to HK after university, so lived there for the last ~10yrs) said that a lot of girls in HK just do any red dress these days.

    I have nothing in the way of my own cultural traditions, so I just asked my fiance's parents what they wanted. They specifically asked for the tea ceremony, as it's very important to them. And although I probably would have preferred to get some other red dress, just so I can wear it again, I couldn't say no to the cheongsam after seeing how excited my future MIL got when she brought it up.

    From what I've seen with my future in laws, they're absolutely thrilled with anything "Chinese" that I try to do - whether it's related to the wedding, or just saying "happy new years" or "thank you" in Cantonese. I imagine that your fiance's family will feel the same way, and will appreciate you trying to embrace/respect their culture.
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  • jenandcrisjenandcris member
    Eighth Anniversary 500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I agree with pps.

    I would definitely ask your ILs what is most important to them. I'm sure they'll have something important to them traditionally. If you feel comfortable with wearing and paying for a cheong sam, I say why not and go for it! Just realize that you don't need to wear a traditional red outfit.
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  • rbtrumpetrbtrumpet member
    500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    talk to him.

    I'm the same boat as you - I'm your typical american mutt (I have just about every eastern-European decent in me!), and FI is Chinese (actually a FOB :-p).

    We asked his family, and they did not want a tea ceremony, so we are not doing that.

    FI wanted me in a qipao - he says "white women in qipaos are hot" - I'm trying to keep it a surprise, especially from my white-uncultered-midwestern friends :-p.  I like it - it's fun, but I'm also glad it was FI's idea and not mine (I feel like if it had been mine, I'd just be doing the whole "yellow fever" thing)
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  • edited December 2011
    Up until today, I was planning on including the tea ceremony out of respect (I am Asian, FDH is Caucasian).  I mentioned it to my mother who looked at me horrifed, "I don't want you to get on your knees to give me tea!"  Lol, so I guess it's gone.  I don't mind, as long as I get my door games hahaha.  My mom is a rather liberal and free-spirited Asian.
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  • k24giniak24ginia member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    yes- are you crazy not too. end of story. I feel like this will be disrespectful if you didn't. 
  • edited December 2011
    I think that having a tea ceremony would be highly appreciated by your future in laws, as it is a sign of respect in Chinese culture and shows your thankfulness towards your parents in-laws.  As for changing into a traditional Chinese dress, it is completely up to you!  I have friends who are Chinese who don't want to bother with a dress changing, but in my opinion I think it would be a fun way to incorporate your fiance's culture and it also makes for great pictures! 
  • edited December 2011
    ya know when I brought of the tea ceremony with the in laws, they said that's not what all chinese people do. I guess it's a regional thing. I felt kinda stupid to think that all chinese people do that and those door games. So ask your fiance first and if he knows of any family members that have done it, then maybe you should consider it. Otherwise, don't assume the parents expect it. Maybe curiously bring it up and get their opinion and if they think it's important then say that you want there help to do one.
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  • edited December 2011
    Tea ceremony is basically the groom's  family and relatives giving the bride money- and welcoming her in the family.   I would talk to your groom about it and ask him to ask his parents if he should have one.

    I'm Taiwanese, my fiance is American-born Singaporean..... and we're not having one- since I'm planning all of the wedding and their family doesn't care about the traditions.  Plus, since I'm planning it (and they dont really care)- then it's like I'm asking for money and that's really rude.

    About the qipao- I think it would be fun to change mid ceremony- maybe you can make it a surprise for your fiancee and his family!


  • edited December 2011
    Thank you all so much for your comments!  My fiance is totally lost on the whole subject, but I think it's time I have a sit down with his mom and have a conversation about it.  As for the dress change,  I think I'll bring that up with her as well.

    Thank you!
  • ya know when I brought of the tea ceremony with the in laws, they said that's not what all chinese people do. I guess it's a regional thing. I felt kinda stupid to think that all chinese people do that and those door games. So ask your fiance first and if he knows of any family members that have done it, then maybe you should consider it. Otherwise, don't assume the parents expect it. Maybe curiously bring it up and get their opinion and if they think it's important then say that you want there help to do one.

    This is what my FI says too (Fi is Chinese-American, and I am American).  He's been to family weddings in China, and he has never seen his family do a tea ceremony.
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