Traditional Chinese Wedding Clothes

Chinese weddings are steeped in tradition from the first to the last moment, so traditional Chinese wedding clothes are a huge part of the ritual of the wedding and are held with very high importance. The color is very important, always red. Red is the color of happiness, joy and passion and is considered good luck. It is a strong color that the Chinese believe can keep away evil spirits. In China, the color white means death and is associated with funerals. This color is expressly avoided for weddings.  Both the bride and the groom have some very specific components to their Chinese wedding clothes that have been updated some in the last 50 years or so, but are still very rich with tradition.

  1. Wedding Dress. Traditionally Chinese wedding clothes will have three dresses for the bride to wear the day of the wedding. The wedding dress, called a qi pao is a one piece dress embroidered with silver and gold designs.
  2. Banquet Dress. This is the second of the traditional Chinese wedding dresses that the bride would wear; this would be put on after the ceremony right before her reception or banquet. This dress is called a cheongsam and is also elaborately adorned with gold phoenix and dragons. 
  3. Escape Dress. The third dress that is part of the traditional Chinese wedding clothes is the bride’s dress she would put on just before leaving the banquet. This dress would also be red, but often would be two pieces and in general, much more casual.
  4. Veil. A very traditional piece of Chinese wedding clothes is the veil. In a ceremony for the bride before she leaves her house to go to the ceremony, a piece of red veil is put on the bride to cover her face during the wedding ceremony. Traditionally, the bride and groom would see each other's face for the first time on their wedding night.
  5. Jacket. An older piece of the traditional Chinese wedding clothes is what is called a qi pau, which means “Chinese jacket.” This is perhaps the oldest and most traditional of the wedding clothes. 
  6. Groom’s Outfit. The groom's traditional Chinese wedding clothes are called da gau. This is a front closing tunic that can be either knee or hip length. This is generally worn over a dark blue robe embroidered with a dragon.
  7. Tassel Hat. The groom’s headwear is a black hat that is adorned with red tassels and is put on him in a ceremony similar to that of the bride’s veil.
  8. Brocade. One of the oldest sewing techniques of creating fabric, brocade is often prominently featured in traditional Chinese wedding clothing. In most Chinese weddings, both the bride and the groom would wear brocades woven in with their clothing that would often feature the double happiness symbol.
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