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How To Plan An Asian Tea Ceremony

Did you know the ancient tea ceremony is one of the most important events during a Chinese, Vietnamese, and Japanese wedding? It serves as a formal introduction of the bride and groom while showing respect to their elders.

The ceremony is full of meaningful traditions and takes a bit of knowledge to plan. Here are some of the basic details…

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(1) Bag of Tea – Be sure to make enough for all elders participating in the ceremony.

(1) Teapot – To hold all premade tea for the ceremony.

(4+) Teacups – You’ll need one per elder participating in the ceremony.

(2) Serving Trays – One tray is used to facilitate the tea distribution process while the other is used to collect all envelopes / gifts.

(1) Table – To hold all ceremony items mentioned above.

(2) Chairs – For the elders to sit (two at a time) during the ceremony.

(2) Cushions *Optional* – For the bride and groom to kneel on during the ceremony.

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The ceremony traditionally begins with the bride and groom serving the groom’s family first. The process starts with the groom’s parents followed by the rest of his elders in order of seniority. Here is an example of what that order may look like…
Groom’s Parents
Groom’s Paternal Grandparents
Groom’s Maternal Grandparents
Groom’s Aunts and Uncles (starting with the oldest first)
Groom’s Older Siblings

After the bride and groom have served all of the elders on the groom’s side then they begin with the bride’s family (following the same order of seniority).

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While kneeling, the bride and groom serve their elders a cup of tea as a sign of respect. If the couple is unable to kneel then they would bow instead.

After taking a sip, each elder hands the couple a lucky red envelope filled with money or jewelry. The bride and groom then place their gift in the serving tray and repeat the process until all of the elders outlined above have been served.