We got wedding photos back and are so excited to share parts of our day with you guys! Today’s post is from our Chinese marriage tea ceremony, which took place the morning of our wedding. Traditionally, the tea ceremony is a symbolic way of presenting the bride to the groom’s family, and for the couple to express gratitude to their elders. The couple typically wears embroidered silk outfits in the color red for luck and prosperity. We wanted to pay homage to our heritage in a way that made sense for us – we may not have adhered to all the pillars of tradition, but focused on honoring our parents and family from afar whom we don’t get to see nearly enough!
All jittery during our first look…you may recognize this dress from our engagement photos, minus the convertible snap-on bolero.
I came across several websites that made Chinese wedding dresses, but was unsure about their legitimacy and quality and couldn’t find any reviews. My talented friend Khatu offered to hand-make this one which made it all the more special to me. The design is inspired by the traditional qipao / cheongsam dresses with mandarin collars, but we used a softer color scheme and lace applique instead of embroidery. As for my most favorite feature – the mandarin collar snaps off for a strapless gown, as seen in our Paris engagement shoot!
During the ceremony, the couple kneels down and offers cups of tea first to the groom’s parents then the bride’s, followed by other family members in order of seniority. The elders sip the tea, and share words of blessing and red envelops filled with “lucky” money or jewelry.
Nick’s mother wore a darling dress by Eliza J – it comes in petites and runs ~ a size small FYI.
My grandma was MIA during her turn…we finally found her hiding in a corner looking like this (upper left) ^
I had been pretty composed up until then, but the grandparents get me every time! They are elderly but traveled in from both across the country and globe. It meant the world to me to have them there.
I love how my other grandmother’s outfit matched her jade (they never take these off, ever!).
I also wanted to mention my petite aunt rented this sequined Nicole Miller gown (starts in sz 0P) from Rent the Runway. I thought it was an eye-catching yet elegant option for anyone looking for a black tie dress in petite sizing.
My mother (below) went for a silvery-blue beaded Sue Wong dress…I wish we were the same size so I could steal it from her closet!
I’ve gotten numerous emails and messages about where to find a similar teapot set as well as a mandarin-style dress – I’m so bummed I can’t be of much help since we used an heirloom tea set and my dress was made by a friend. For any readers who have tips and suggestions from your own experience, I would love to hear them in the comments! I am sure that fellow ladies planning a similar ceremony would greatly appreciate any advice as well as reviews of mandarin dress companies.