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Checklist for Chinese Wedding Preparation

A wedding is the most important part of your life. You are excited, nervous, happy, and sad at the same time. Preparing for your wedding day is not an easy thing no matter where you live. Every country has its own customs and China is no different.

A Chinese couple that is engaged has to go through meticulous wedding preparations as they have tons of rituals to follow.

It is important to have a proper plan and check-list of things to take care of so that you can have the most beautiful wedding.

Here is a checklist of all the things that you need to keep in mind when planning your Chinese wedding.

After the proposal

  • Once the groom proposes to the bride, it is time to start preparing for the wedding. The first few months are crucial.
  • Have your parents meet and let them get familiar with each other. During the meeting, it would be a good occasion to talk about what the wedding could be like. Where will it happen? How will both the parties distribute the money, and so on?
  • Set a wedding date and time for every ceremony that both families will have.
  • Create a budget that is approved by both the families and make sure that you stick to it.
  • Booking your wedding venue at the earliest time possible is important because if you are late, your favorite venue will not be available.
  • Once you finalize the date, start sending out the date so that you know how many people will be able to come to the wedding.
  • Start making a wedding guest list.
  • Choose a stylist and a makeup artist for your wedding in advance. You would need to try them out too, so do that “asap.” Both the groom and bride should finalize the choice of a stylist in advance.
  • Decide if you want a planner or not.

A red Chinese Tea set, commonly used at Chinese weddings.
(Image: CSSS, CC 2.0)

Five months before the wedding

  • Book a hotel for your guests and you. Check out the menu and select your favorite dishes for the rituals.
  • It’s time to select your “ji mui” and “heng dai” (bridesmaids and groomsmen). Decide on the grand gift, “gua da li,” from the groom’s side, and dowry, “jia zhuang,” from the bride’s side.
  • Finalize the wedding guest list and decide on the design of your invitation card. If you can, make a house run to invite your guest personally to the wedding.
  • Once you get the RSVPs, do a final headcount so that you know how to seat everyone and tell the final number to the caterer.
  • Find your “qipao and kwa” (suit and bride’s dress). Finding the right dress can take time, so doing it early on is good.
  • Book a florist and a musician or band for your wedding.

Two to three months before the wedding

  • Its time to try the dress and make sure it fits. Check for alterations, you would need to check the fitting again 4-5 days before the wedding.
  • Time to decide who is going to be your maid of honor or ‘dai kam jie.’ It can be anyone who is helping you make your wedding preparation go on smoothly.
  • Send out wedding invites.
  • Select and book your photographer. Decide and get your pre-wedding shoot done.
  • Decide on your honeymoon destination and book tickets, and so on. If you are going out of the country, get your documents like passport and visa in order.
  • Plan an itinerary so that the wedding function takes place on time.
  • Book a master who can decide the time and perform the rituals.

A month before the wedding

  • Confirm orders with caterer and wedding venue and so on.
  • Delegate responsibility, who will be responsible for taking care of what.
  • Work on your first couple dance as a couple.
  • Purchase gifts to give as wedding tokens.
  • Prepare a list of songs you want the band to play at your wedding.
  • Have the “gua da li” ceremony, which is the groom’s family giving gifts to the bride’s family and finalizing the union.
  • Choose between a drink and two and have a bulk order.

A week before the wedding

  • Have a dinner party with your close friend.
  • Have your bachelorette and bachelor party. You can have it before too.
  • Have an emergency kit ready for a bride, like tissues or makeup.
  • Start packing for your honeymoon.
  • Have a final facial session.
  • Have your An Chuang ceremony (decorating the matrimonial bed).

Have cheques ready for all vendors.

A day before the wedding

  • Pack all the wedding items you need and give them to your bridesmaid.
  • Sleep early — rest is essential.
  • Spend time with your family and friends.

The wedding day

Just enjoy your day, relax, and let others take care of everything.

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