A Guide to Tea Pai: The Chinese Tea Ceremony

by Michelle Phang [[ 1540951200000 | amDateFormat:'ll | HH:mm' ]] in Wedding Ideas  


As a quintessential part of Chinese wedding processions, hosting a tea ceremony to the older family members means more than an expression of gratitude. While Chinese wedding tea ceremony nowadays has become modernized, the practice itself that is commonly known as teapai, is still highly valued. If you're about to prepare your own, let's not overlook the symbolic meaning behind each element. Scroll through this slideshow below to learn the etiquettes when serving the tea ceremony.

  • Choosing the right attire

    In Chinese traditions, brides will usually wear a striking red long dress on their wedding day as the color symbolizes luck, blessings and happiness. These days, brides may opt to wear a simpler gown than the traditional wedding attire, qun kua that is adorned with embroideries of dragons and phoenixes. Same goes with the grooms, they might as well wear a suit or Mandarin collar shirt as an alternative to ma gua.

  • The hair-do and accessories

    If you’re choosing to feature a qun kua, then you can go all out with the accessories too! Usually, it will come in a set of gold bangles and necklaces. Some bridal shops might also offer the headpiece that you’ve seen on the previous slide. Meanwhile, dressing in a modern outfit doesn’t require many rules. Such a sleek hair-do with fresh flower arrangement and even a silver jewelry would perfectly complete their bridal look.

  • Decorating the Venue

    Whether you’re hosting an indoor or outdoor tea ceremony, a plenty of double happiness symbol ornaments around the venue is a must-have. Also, prepare two cushions for the bride and groom or a comfortable rug in front of the chairs as some elders might want their children to kneel on.

  • The tea set

    There are so many Chinese wedding tea sets in the market, but each tea set only comes with four cups. Thus, bigger families might need to use disposable cups to make sure every family member will be accommodated during the ceremony.

  • Serving the tea

    How else do you represent the sweetness in your marriage if not serving a teapot of sweet tea? There is a type of sweet tea seeds that is preferred to be used at Chinese weddings, though. To symbolize innocence and true love, people would mostly serve lotus seeds as the flower is considered as representation of purity in China. Interestingly, the Chinese characters of these two words can be pronounced as a wish for continuous childbearing too. Furthermore, adding one red date in each tea cup would symbolize good luck.

  • Paying homage to the families

    Don’t forget to prepare an order of seniority, starting from grandparents to elder cousins. Unmarried elder siblings don’t have to present gifts for the couple after drinking the tea. Younger siblings and cousins could offer some help by assisting the older family members or taking care of the gifts that usually come in the form of red envelopes or jewelries.

Check out our related article, A Guide to Sangjit: The Traditional Chinese Betrothal Rituals.


  • Photography: Fill in the blank , Beginning of eternity , Emily Wren Photography , Sandy Tam , Love Flora Fauna , via Culture in Art

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