A photo album of Chinese wedding customs, Chinese wedding ceremonies, and receptions in Taiwan!
Information About Chinese Wedding Traditions
Since moving to Taiwan in 2000, I’ve had the chance to attend many Chinese weddings. Not only as a guest. I’ve also had the honor to be the official photographer at my girlfriend’s brother’s wedding day.
In Taiwan, traditional Chinese weddings are very complex affairs that take a lot of preparation. Most families seem to pride themselves by having huge ceremonies with as many people as possible, in the biggest restaurants / banquet hall they can afford.
Chinese traditional weddings and customs are fascinating and I’ll do my best to show you some of the most interesting aspects on this page.
Pictures of Chinese Weddings in Taiwan
These pictures of traditional Chinese weddings were taken in Taichung City, in the central part of Taiwan.
You might look at these Chinese wedding photos and think they’re not very artistic… and I agree with you! That’s not the point of this page. I’ve only included the images that depict some of the most important customs and traditions of Chinese weddings in Taiwan.
This photo gallery of Chinese weddings is for educational purpose. It’s not to show off my skills (if I have any) as a wedding photographer – which I am not!
In this picture, the groom picks up his future wife at her house with his best men. The rented black BMWs and Mercedes cars are supposed to give face to the family. It shows they have money. That’s what my girlfriend told me. I actually think this tradition isn’t only Chinese. Many people rent or borrow nice, expensive cars for weddings in the west, too.
Boys and men walk and jump on the newlyweds bed so their first child will be a boy. Don’t tell them they are superstitious! I’ve tried and got told that I don’t understand Chinese wedding traditions because I’m a foreigner. They’re probably right… Who am I to tell them what to do?
Tang yuan are glutinous rice balls that are eaten by everyone who attends a Chinese wedding ceremony. This traditional Chinese wedding food is said to represent perfection because it is round. The sweetness of Tang yuan soup is supposed to bring happiness, or a sweet future to the newlyweds.
I know all this sounds weird, but please don’t laugh – this traditional Chinese wedding custom is observed religiously at every marriage in Taiwan!
Family members carry the bride’s clothes, pillows, and bed linen to her new house. You see, a very important ancient Chinese custom for weddings wants the bride to move into her husband’s home only on the day of the wedding. It is not proper or accepted for a Chinese woman to move into her boyfriend’s house before the big day.
Prayers are made, and incense is burned at both the groom and the bride’s homes on the day of the wedding ceremony in Chinese culture. Most Taiwanese homes have a small place of worship in them. At my girlfriend’s parents’ house, there’s an entire room dedicated to that purpose.
A circular rice screen made of bamboo (a round object again!) is used to protect the bride (who is not pregnant) from ghosts. If the girl is pregnant, a Chinese umbrella is used instead of a rice screen.
A traditional Chinese wedding isn’t official without a couple of formal pictures with all the family member. These wedding photos and portraits are usually taken at the groom’s house.
(By the way, the bride’s Chinese wedding gowns are usually rented for the wedding ceremony.)
Chinese people spend a fortune on wedding pictures in Taiwan. Many will spend an entire day or weekend (some even travel abroad) with a photographer and assistants to take glamorous shots at various “famous” spots such as restaurants, parks, and beaches.
It’s definitely not for everyone, but I guess that for Chinese people, it would be a loss of face to not have these pictures taken. (People might think you don’t have enough money to take them.)
I find the whole Chinese wedding pictures thing, and renting clothes that you don’t usually wear totally phony. Why not keep all this money and take a trip to the Maldives or Fiji Islands!
Now we’re talking about the real stuff – ghosts! Can’t get married without a bang in Chinese society! Chinese firecrackers are lit in front of the groom’s house before the bride moves in. It’s much safer to scare the bad spirits away before the girl’s clothes and bed sheets make it into the house. Lighter anyone? Step back!
Ruby, her family, my mom, and I attend a traditional Chinese wedding banquet in Taichung, Taiwan.
Red ribbons are placed on all the cars that will carry the new Chinese husband and wife on their wedding day. Red is a traditional color for luck in Chinese society and it is widely used during traditional Chinese ceremonies.
Very often, professional photographers and videographers are hired to take pictures of Chinese wedding ceremonies. This tradition is not very old, but with the strong popularity of social media (like Facebook) in Taiwanese society, it means that having professional looking photos of your wedding day is crucial! The most expensive wedding pictures = gaining face!
A traditional element that cannot be avoided even during modern Chinese weddings: a box of Chinese firecrackers. This box is called: Red Fortune Firecrackers! These boxes are also used as Chinese wedding decorations because… you guessed right… it’s red!
Chinese Wedding Traditions
This formal family picture at a Chinese wedding tea ceremony was taken right outside the groom’s house, on the street and the bride’s gown was covering half the road. A Taiwanese guy on a scooter rode by and missed the dress by an inch! Everybody went… whaaaaa!
Food has a huge importance in Chinese wedding traditions. The last part of the day during a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony is spent at a restaurant or banquet hall to eat and drink. My girlfriend’s brother’s wedding reception had no less than 500 people! I was told that it’s very normal to have that many (or few) guests at a wedding in Taiwan.
Traditional Chinese wedding games are also played on a stage after the ceremony. Here, the groom had to guess who his wife was by feeling the hands of people who quietly stood in front of him. Fortunately for him, he guessed right!
Traditional Chinese wedding decorations are displayed around the groom’s house.
More Chinese Wedding Traditions…
New bed sheets, quilts, and pillows (offered by the bride’s family) are placed next to a religious altar at the groom’s house.
The bride (not the groom) has to walk over a metal bucket with fire and hot coals just before entering her new house. This whole thing about “cleansing” the bride before she enters her new environment and life might sound totally sexist for someone who comes from the west… and it is!
Chinese traditional views about women seem to come straight from the stone age. A woman is viewed and treated like a possession that is transfered from one family to another. Once she is married, she “belongs” to her husband’s family and has to comply with their ways of doing things and values.
Picture of a Chinese bride in her wedding dress and her maid of honor.
During a traditional Chinese marriage, it is customary for the best men to follow the groom from early morning until late at night after everybody has left the wedding reception. One of their “duties” is to spend time with the grooms’ family and drink Chinese tea with them like you can see in this picture.
The groom visits his future wife at her home with his entourage to “propose”. Here, he waits outside her bedroom while she is getting ready. Before she lets him in, she asks him to tell her to make a love declaration. He had to say (yell) “I love you!” a couple of time before she let him in.
I have to admit that this is my favorite Chinese wedding tradition! It is very cute!
The groom proposes, and of course she says yes!
Chinese wedding decoration in a doorway.
The groom brings back his new wife at his home, and of course, they protect her from dangerous Chinese ghosts who might not approve of their new union. I told you… Taiwanese / Chinese wedding customs are fascinating!
Chinese wedding traditions and customs are not different from western ones in one way – everybody is happy to have a drink after such a long day!
I hope you enjoyed this photo gallery about Chinese wedding traditions!