If you’re looking for a unique and meaningful way to incorporate your Chinese tradition into your wedding day, then having a Chinese tea ceremony is one of the most popular ways you could do this. This special ritual is performed in many parts of the world as a sign of respect, gratitude and love for friends and family for hundreds of years and it is a wonderful way to honour your heritage (and it will make your parents incredibly happy too!)
As a Sydney Wedding Photographer for nearly 10 years now, I can say I have seen over 100 Chinese tea ceremonies in my time so I can safely say I know a thing or two about them. I am proud to say that I’ve seen grown Asian dads cry tears like a watefall (did you think your dad could do that?) and mums be so happy they couldn’t say a single word for the first time known to you!
Plus, I did one for my own wedding and organised one, so I can say that I’ve been there too and seen how my own parents were so happy on my wedding day.
From making sure that all of your relatives are taking part to selecting the right tea to finding the perfect cups and saucers and everything in between, here’s how to plan for a beautiful tea ceremony on your big day.
Talk to your parents about who should be involved
Organising a Chinese Tea Ceremony can be quite “involved”, and especially if none of your siblings have done one before, it is hard to know exactly what to do and even where to start. The first point of contact has to be your parents.
Ask them who has to part of it, will it be just the immediate family, grandparents, your uncles, aunties, cousins, dog, or any other pets of your liking.
Once you find out who will be involved, write them down and ask your parents to give you the order of who will go first. Being Chinese, it would have to the eldest first to the youngest. No exceptions to that rule!
Have a Tea Ceremony MC
My biggest advice to ensure your Chinese Tea Ceremony is “smooth as the tea you will be drinking” is to have one person who will take charge of the ceremony and ensure there is a proper order of service. Have them write down who will be first to receive tea, and who will follow afterwards. They will also round up the next people who will be next so that everything flows like water falling down a waterfall (stop it Kev with these Chinese poetic stuff!)
To kneel or not to kneel?
Being the youngest of the family unfortunately you have to pay your respects to your elders, and that includes kneeling down so that you are “lower” than your parents. That will likely include your uncles and aunties and whoever is above you in the family tree.
Siblings you get to see eye to eye fortunately! So you can stand up and be on the same level as they are. Even if they are older than you (that makes things even for once in your life!)
I highly suggest getting some nice decorative red cushions so that kneeling isn’t so painful.
Choosing the Right Tea
The right type of tea is a really good idea so it’s important to select one that will be both flavorful and aromatic. Loose leaf tea is a must and please don’t use teabags for this, especially for such a nice occasion. Oolong is a popular choice as it is kind of in the middle of black and green. Pu-er is nice and strong and will wake everyone up. You can also opt for green tea if you prefer something slightly lighter in flavour.
Also make sure you have enough hot water handy so you can refill the tea pot when you run out of tea. I am sure your parents will have a stash of hot water urns nearby (I know my parents have a few at their place).
If you need some help to find some really delicious tea for your Chinese tea ceremony, here is where I buy my tea from
Preparing the Room
When setting up your space, keep it simple yet elegant by using traditional decorations like red paper lanterns or wooden furniture pieces. Make sure that there are enough chairs for all participants – including yourself! – as well as enough tables for everyone’s cups and saucers. If possible, try to place everything in a circle so that everyone can see each other during the ceremony. Set aside some time beforehand for rehearsal to ensure that everyone knows what they’re supposed to do during the actual event.
Selecting Cups and Saucers
Cups and saucers play an important role in any Chinese tea ceremony, not only does it serve as your vehicle to get tea into people’s mouths but also look the part at the same time. Porcelain cups are considered traditional while glass or crystal ones are more modern; pick whichever style suits your tastes best! Be sure to choose saucers with patterns or designs that match your cups; this will help create an aesthetically pleasing presentation when everything is placed together on tables before guests arrive.
Make sure you have allocated enough time
If you are having a tea ceremony on your wedding day, make sure you assign enough time for it to take place. Most of the ones I have seen in the past take about 30minutes to 1 hour, dependent on how much family you have and who will attend. Also think about if you will be having lunch or refreshments afterwards and whether you have enough time to travel to the next part of your wedding day.
Knowing how to incorporate Planning a Chinese tea ceremony on your wedding day can be an exciting process if done correctly! Take care when selecting teas, preparing the room, choosing cups & saucers, and rehearsing beforehand – these steps will ensure that everything runs smoothly during the actual event itself. By adding this timeless ritual into your celebration, you’ll be able to share in an ancient tradition while creating lasting memories with family & friends on such an important day.
P.S If you still need some more handy practical hints and tips on how to plan an amazing Sydney wedding that doesn’t cause you more stress, I have a really great article for stress free family photos to check out.