The summer months are among the most popular for weddings, and for good reason — the weather is warm, the colors are bright, and the vacation time is plentiful. If you're hoping to incorporate Chinese culture into your summer wedding plans, this is the article for you. We’ve compiled a list of nine seasonal touches that will mesh perfectly with your summer theme while giving nods to your heritage, so read on!
At a summer wedding, traditional Chinese hand fans are both beautiful and practical. You can use scented wood fans as favors for your guests, or opt for more intricate hand-painted or silk fans as part of the bridesmaids’ attire or for your personal accessory.
The use of umbrellas, specifically oil-paper umbrellas, in Chinese weddings has a long history. Traditionally, the bridesmaid covers the bride’s head with the umbrella as she arrives at the wedding venue. This protects the bride from evil spirits, and it’s also sure to keep you shaded and cool in summer heat. As with many features of Chinese weddings, red is the traditional and auspicious color for the parasol.
If you’ll be going outdoors and enjoying a warm summer evening during your ceremony or reception, a charming way to add some light is by hanging up paper lanterns or using them to line walkways — especially your ceremony aisle! Opt for red and more elaborate lanterns for a traditional festival feel, or simple white spheres for a more minimalist and summer-y look.
For many Chinese brides, wearing a qipao makes them feel not only beautiful, but deeply connected to and proud of their heritage. Thus, it’s often a must-have for their wedding day. If you love the idea of wearing a qipao or cheongsam for your wedding but are nervous about the summer heat, there are tons of ways to make your qipao more weather-friendly while continuing to honor tradition.
Opting for a sleeveless wedding cheongsam will show off your arms and let them breathe at the same time. At East Meets Dress, all of our bespoke wedding qipaos can be made sleeveless, or you can design a custom wedding gown with us from the ground up. Choosing a cheongsam with a back cutout or leg slit is also a great way to keep the air flowing.
The traditional qipao silhouette is a figure-hugging sheath dress that goes all the way down the body. Keeping things classic up top but then cutting off at the knee is a fun twist on the original and an adorable way to keep cool during the summer. In a similar vein, you could have your qipao flare out into an A-line silhouette for a fit that’s looser around the legs and more forgiving in hot or humid weather.
A traditional cheongsam is made with silk brocade fabric. It’s undeniably gorgeous, but has the potential to be overwhelming in hot weather depending on thickness. You can keep all your favorite elements of the qipao style while using fabrics like lace, tulle, and chiffon for more breathability. In whatever material you decide on for your summer wedding, comfort should be a priority — when you feel good in your wedding gown, you look good in it, too.
Wedding Hair Pins
Sweeping your hair up off your neck is one of the simplest and most elegant ways to stay cool on a warm-weather wedding day. Intricate updos adorned with jewelry and decorative pins have been popular throughout Chinese history, and it’s easy to incorporate Chinese heritage into your wedding hair by adding a hair pin that complements your dress and wedding theme.
As you may know, fresh fruit is a staple of Chinese desserts. The summer months are peak season for many fruits, so it’s easier than ever to put together fruit offerings for your reception or pre-ceremony snacks. Mango and lychee are particularly popular Chinese dessert choices, but watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, plums, strawberries, and peaches, along with many others, are all in season as well.
The Dragon Boat Festival is a traditional Chinese holiday that occurs in late May or June in the Gregorian calendar. If your wedding falls on or around the festival (or if you just love good food), you might consider including zongzi on your wedding menu. Zongzi is a sticky rice dumpling wrapped in bamboo leaves and can be made with both sweet and savory fillings. It’s an important component of summertime Dragon Boat Festival celebrations but is also eaten year round, and we’re certain it would be a hit with your guests.
Who says celebrating your culture has to stop once your wedding day is over? Spending your honeymoon in China is a great idea, and if you’re not sure where in the country you’d like to go, we strongly recommend checking out Yunnan province. Yunnan is renowned for its natural beauty and consistently pleasant weather, even in the summer as the rest of the country gets sweltering. The capital Kunming is known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its lushness and has plenty to offer to tourists, including easy and convenient transit to other cities in China if you decide to brave the heat.
Whether your wedding is quickly approaching or many months away, we’re hoping these Chinese summer wedding ideas inspire you to hold your heritage close and let it shine on your big day and beyond — no matter the temperature!
More to Love: