Today, many brides in the traditional Chinese weddings are influenced by the western wearing of the white wedding gown. At some point in the day they will change to the traditional gown, but it may be after the ceremony. It is very important to think about what you want to wear for you’re wedding day because there is so much tradition to consider. Central to the full wedding outfit is the traditional wedding veil.
If the bride wants to go with tradition from the beginning of the ceremony they will wear a red silk rainbow robe that is heavily beaded and embroidered. A beaded phoenix crown will adorn her head and it will be covered with a red wedding headscarf. The headscarf will sit on the head in a level way because of the beaded tassels on each corner. It will also cover the face.
If the bride is able to wear this it is probably something that has been handed down through many generations because it is part of traditional dress that Empresses wore and they are very difficult to find today.
The reason there is so much red is because the Chinese people see weddings as an auspicious red day which is very good luck. The red headscarf will protect her as she goes from place to place in case she should pass a taboo event like another wedding or funeral.
Today, a bride may choose to take a traditional veil instead and the parents would then attach this to her hair after the bridal makeup is done. If the parents are not available then an elder from the family would help her with it. The veil is supposed to keep the groom from seeing the bride before the wedding, but today the veils are clear.
In the older days tradition would not allow the veil to be lifted until after the bride went to the bridal room so the groom did not see her until then. Today with western influence the groom will lift the veil and kiss the bride at the end of the ceremony.
After the wedding ceremony there is a tea ceremony and the groom will take the veil off once they are in the bridal room. The bride will then change into a different set of clothes. Once this is done the bride will proceed to the bride’s home visit which traditionally happens three days after the wedding. However, when she changes clothes this is symbolic of the three days.
The traditional Chinese wedding can come in many different styles and it will have tradition woven into it in some way. Sometimes the traditional pieces are saved for the bridal visit or the wedding feast. This will depend on what you feel is most important for your wedding day. Some brides and grooms follow tradition from the very beginning to the end.