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Chinese Wedding Planning Guide

Everything you need to know for a stress-free Chinese wedding or banquet. 

Why have a Chinese wedding?

For couples of Chinese heritage around the world, planning a Chinese wedding or banquet is a great way to incorporate your culture into your special day. The wedding banquet was traditionally a way for the couple’s families to demonstrate their prosperity and generosity. Today, it’s an opportunity for celebrating your relationship and connecting with loved ones near and far.

Chinese Wedding Traditions

Chinese Wedding Decor

At any Chinese wedding banquet or celebration, it is important to include these 5 traditional elements in your decorations: the color red, double happiness symbol, phoenix and dragon signs, lanterns, and lucky Chinese fruit like oranges and red dates. 

Get More Ideas

Chinese Banquet Food

Typically, Chinese wedding banquets include eight or nine dishes. Many of the foods traditionally served at Chinese wedding banquets are chosen to symbolize wishes for happiness, longevity, or fertility.

Consider including in your banquet: lobster and chicken, roast duck, shark's fin soup, roast pig, abalone, fish, scallops, and noodles.

Learn their meanings

Chinese Traditions

There is a number of beautiful Chinese wedding traditions you can use to inspire your own wedding—from the hair combing ceremony, the procession, door games, tea ceremony, banquet, to the wedding night tradition. 

Read all 12 traditions

Chinese Wedding Dress

What better way to engage with your culture than through clothing? On the wedding day, it is traditional for Chinese brides to wear a qipao or cheongsam. Modern Chinese brides often have two to four dress changes as part of their wedding celebration, with a white dress for the ceremony.

Shop Modern Cheongsams

Chinese Wedding Timeline Cheat Sheet

One Year Before: Set a budget and figure out who's contributing. Choose your must-haves for throwing a wedding banquet. 

7-9 Months Before: Book your venue. A banquet hall or an upscale Chinese restaurant is ideal. Lucky wedding dates are popular so booking in advance makes sure you get the date you and your parents want. One the date is set, determine your guest list and send out invitations.

5-6 Months Before: Plan Your wardrobe. The dress is often the most exciting part for brides. During Chinese wedding banquets, it is customary for the bride to enter and re-enter the reception, changing gowns and accessories with each entrance.

3-5 Months Before: Finalize the menu to include some traditional dishes. Plan out your decor to include a few Chinese symbols. Consider entertainment options like lion dancers and door games. 

1-2 Months Before: Plan out your schedule and decide when you want to host your tea ceremony. Read our ultimate guide to planning your tea ceremony here

Day of Chinese Wedding: Relax, celebrate, and don't forget to collect those red envelopes!

Common Questions About Chinese Weddings

Everything you need to know to plan a stress-free Chinese American wedding or modern Chinese wedding banquet.
  • Who pays for a Chinese wedding?

    Traditionally in Chinese culture, the groom’s family will pay for the wedding. In modern day, often couples choose to split the costs.
  • Why do Chinese brides wear red?

    Red is a dominant color at any Chinese wedding because it symbolizes good luck, happiness, and prosperity. Therefore, traditionally, all brides wore red as their wedding dress. Modern cheongsams now have a variety of colors, get inspired by non-red cheongsam dresses here.
  • What color should you not wear when attending a Chinese wedding?

    You should avoid wearing red as the bride typically will wear red as her dress. You should also avoid white or black as a Chinese wedding guest, as these colors are often worn at Chinese funerals. Purples, pinks, and warm tones are great options to wear, as these colors represent the new life the couple will embark on. Learn more about the do’s and dont’s of attending a Chinese wedding here.
  • Where are the best places to buy a cheongsam?

    Depending on your budget, the best places to buy a cheongsam include East Meets Dress, Etsy, Aliexpress, your local Chinatown stores, and international cities like Shanghai. Read all your options here.
  • What are the best venues in San Francisco for a Chinese banquet?

    The most popular Chinese wedding venues include HL Peninsula, Grand Palace Seafood Restaurant, Harborview SF, Koi Palace, and HK East Ocean. Get the details on each venue in our guide here.
  • What are the top Chinese wedding vendors in San Francisco?

    Many of our brides have asked us for recommendations on wedding vendors, so we thought we would compile a list for you. Here are the top wedding planners, makeup artists, and photographers who specialize and have experience with Chinese-American weddings here.
  • What are Chinese wedding door games?

    Chinese door games, known as chuangmen, originated from the idea that a bride is a prized daughter, worth so much that her family refuses to marry her off easily. Therefore, a man worthy of her hand must pass certain “tests” to claim his bride-to-be. Some fun door games you can include in your wedding banquet or before your tea ceremony include: No Money, No Honey, the Four Flavors of Life, and Q&A Tests. Learn how to play these and 8 other door games here.
  • What are the most popular symbols to include for a Chinese wedding?

    There is a symbolic meaning behind every element in a traditional Chinese wedding. The five most important Chinese wedding symbols to include are the color red, the double happiness symbol, animals like the dragon and phoenix, Chinese flowers like lilies and peonies, and lucky fruits like jujubes and longans. Learn where to incorporate these symbols here.

Tips from Chinese-American Brides

When planning a multicultural Chinese wedding, figure out which traditions are the most important for you both to have. And make sure these pieces are explained to the guests so there is no confusion.


Feel free to honor your heritage in your own way. You can incorporate your heritage into the big picture stuff but let go of smaller traditions that do not speak to you as a couple.


Be mindful of your family but set expectations. It's important to be mindful of your loved ones' desires, but making everyone happy on your wedding day can be draining.