The Chinese tea ceremony is thousands of years old and is considered one of the most time-honored traditions in the Chinese culture. It features prominently in prestigious celebrations, particularly weddings. If you’re wondering how to plan a tea ceremony, here are four important things to remember:
- Always serve the groom’s family first.
The tea ceremony in Chinese weddings follows certain protocols, but in modern times it is being adjusted bit by bit. For example, it is customary to serve the groom’s family first after the couple has exchanged vows. This is followed by his older relatives who are present in the ceremony. The bride, on the other hand, serves tea to her family before the wedding takes place – and in private. Majority of couples today do serve both the bride and groom’s family during the wedding. But take note, that the groom’s family must always be served first.
- There’s no strict time for it.
Some couples wait after they have exchanged vows before holding the tea ceremony, while others hold it the following day. There are others who have the tea ceremony in place of cocktail hour so that guests can witness the ritual. You can choose which is the best time for the tea ceremony based on the sequence of events during the reception. If you have a lot of things going on on the day of the wedding, it would be wise to have the tea ceremony the following day.
- You can have it either indoors or outdoors.
When it comes to venue, it can be held at a ballroom, a function room, or restaurant. Modern weddings also have the tea ceremony outdoors, as a contrast against the wedding ceremony which takes place indoors. Wherever you decide to have it, make sure that the place is quiet and big enough for the number of people that you want to attend. Having a seat plan will also help the couple go around the tables when they serve tea. Apart from their parents, tea is offered to relatives according to age. It would be best to group together people in the order of when they will be served for a better organized ceremony.
- Expect money and jewelry.
Tea ceremonies are meant to honor the couple’s parents and relatives. However, in exchange for the tea, the parents and relatives give the couple a small token or gift. Money, jewelry, bonds or even titles to lands or other properties can be given to the couple during this ritual. It is the elders’ way of blessing their union and wishing them prosperity in their new life together.
The tea ceremony is a deeply respected tradition in Chinese weddings. If you are unsure of how to go about it, you can ask your wedding or events coordinator to take care of the set up and venue.