Tea ceremony at Chinese nuptials

Newlyweds will serve tea to each other’s parents, which is also called serving tea in order to change how to call each other, meaning that the two families become the relatives by marriage. Thus, serving tea is an important ritual in the wedding ceremony. Then, what should you pay attention to about the tea ceremony at nuptials? Let’s take a look at the proper etiquette on the tea serving ceremony.

Preparation for the ceremony

Teapot and Teacups: The number of tea cups needs to be arranged according to the number of elders at the ceremony.

Gaiwan (Chinese lidded bowl): The number of tea cups needs to be organized according to the number of elders at the ceremony. The instruction of how to use Gaiwan should be explained beforehand. Do not drop the cup stand.

Color and pattern: Avoid the use of the word “longevity”, the pattern of the single dragon, green pine tree or cypress tree. It is better to use a single color that is either elegant or joyful.

Materials: Red dates, means good fortune is ahead of you; if you want to expand the family and have a baby soon, do not pick the pit out. Because pit is a seed, which represent descendants. Do not cut the lotus seeds. They must be kept complete because cutting them into half means separation. It is bad luck. Do not remove the skin of lotus seed, because the lotus seed without skin is white, which is the opposite color to marriage (red). Therefore, brewing tea mixed with unpeeled lotus seed is the best. In term of quantity, as what is called “good things should be in pairs”. So everything comes with a pair will be enough. The diet tea needs to be avoided because traditional wedding cares a lot about the meanings. It is better to have a “fat” family and big house, as fat means luck. If you try to lose weight, you will also lose your luck. Thus, it is better to use Tieguanying, Pu-erh or Flower tea.

Gestures used in serving tea

Typically, the groom should serve the first cup of tea to the father-in-law, change the appellation. Then, groom serves the second cup of tea to the mother-in-law, change the appellation, too. After that, bride serves the tea. The newlyweds should hold the cups with two hands, and kneel before the parents. The arms stretch up to the chests of the parents with 40 cm distance, so their parents can reach the teacup without moving their body. After the parents finished the tea, newlyweds must take the cups with two hands and then give them to the ceremonial personnel. At this time, parents often have return gifts for the newlyweds; they will accept the gifts with two hands to show their appreciation.

Dos and don’ts on tea ceremony at wedding

It is said that serving guest need to know “a full cup of tea is humiliation” and “70% full of tea and 80% full of drinks”. It means that tea should not be served to others full, 70% full is the best. Do not serve tea single handed. Do not put your fingers on the edge of the cup, or inside the tea, which are all very impolite.

All mentioned above is the etiquette newlywed must know. It is the indispensable parts of the wedding ceremony. Newlywed should get to know them beforehand.