In recent years, the Eastern world has become enamoured with Western culture and has adopted characteristics in many areas of life, including wedding themes. Designing wedding invitations around Chinese tradition can add a unique flair to the wedding theme. Additionally, traditional Chinese wedding invitations can pay homage to the bride or groom's ancestry.
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Traditional Chinese wedding invitations are predominantly red with gold or yellow accents. According to World Wedding Traditions, the usage of red in Chinese wedding invitations symbolises love, happiness and prosperity. It is also common for brides to wear red wedding dresses because of this symbolism. Modern invitations may also use more variations of traditional red, including pink, maroon, purple and magenta.
Not only do gold or yellow accents contrast with the red designs, but variations of these colours have historically represented royalty such as the Emperor. The symbolism has broadened over time and the gold in Chinese wedding invitations also represents prosperity.
Generally, Chinese wedding invitations do not include colours with negative connotations. Black, blue and green represent colours of mourning in Chinese culture and are not common on traditional wedding invitations.
Elements of Design
Traditional Chinese wedding invitations may include the images dragons or phoenixes because these mythological creatures represent the balance between male and female power. Traditional Chinese wedding customs also pay homage to this balance with gifts such as a pair of chickens, dragon and phoenix cakes and foods such as lobster and chicken feet, the names of which literally translate to "dragon shrimp" and "phoenix feet," respectively, in the Chinese language.
Wedding invitations may contain the Chinese calligraphic symbol for "double happiness"
Traditional wedding invitations will include the date of the wedding banquet on both the Gregorian and Chinese calendar. Additionally, the invitations will include the order of birth as well as the name of both the bride and groom. The invitations list the parents of the bride and groom. Chinese Wedding Guide, a website dedicated to Chinese wedding traditions, explains that the groom's information appears before that of the bride.
Invitations instruct guests as to the name of the venue, time or reception (cocktails) and the timer of the dinner. This information is listed vertically and, traditionally, read from the left rather than right.
Envelopes and Addressing
Traditionally, those writing Chinese invitations will only include the name of the guest on the invitation envelope. This name includes the formal title of the guest. Titles typically describe the familial or peer relationship between the guests and the couple. These titles will also differ whether the couple or parents of the couple are extending an invitation to the spouse or family of a guest as well.
It is tradition that the bride and groom's parents would distribute invitations by hand. When delivering invitations, the parents would typically gift the guests with dragon and phoenix cakes. Because Chinese families traditionally lived together under patriarchal rule, it was not common to issue invitations to siblings. It is also common to send Chinese wedding invitations by post.
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- World Wedding Traditions:Chinese Wedding Traditions
- China Bridal:Traditional Chinese Wedding Invitations
- Chinese Wedding Guie:Are you ready to prepare the Chinese wedding invitation?
- Chinese Historical and Cultural Project:Chinese Wedding Foods
- Chinese Wedding Invitations:Double Happiness is Essential in Chinese Weddings