Traditional Chinese wedding attire places strong emphasis on bold red colours – often viewed by the Chinese community as a colour that ushers in fortune, good-luck and bliss. Expect strong, bright colours during a Chinese wedding – contrary to that of a typical Western one- because such bold red colours are believed to ward off evil spirits and influences. However, in modern times, Chinese brides are pushing the envelope and going beyond the traditional red outfits in order to better cater to their own styles and personalities.
Traditionally, the bridal gown is red, featuring an embroidered, sewn phoenix. The phoenix signifies the female’s role of femininity between the newly-weds. The wedding dress is normally a qi pao for a northern Chinese bride- it includes elaborate, intricate gold and silver embroidery. The qipao is a gown which fits the bride, with a high neck, frequently made of silk. Many brides include symbols, animals motifs, and even Chinese characters on their qipao. A good method to personalize your qipao is to have the animal which represents your birth year embroidered onto it. In contrast, for Southern Chinese brides, the Hung Kwa is often worn, which stands for a two-piece dress, embellished with golden details of phoenixes and dragons, which signifies the balance of male and female power.
A unique pair of wedding shoes are worn by the bride. In Southern Fujian Province, the bride normally wears a pair of shoes embroidered with patterns of a turtle, illustrating which joy and bliss upon marriage. In southern Zhejiang Province, the bride dons Shang Jiao Xie, which are shoes that are worn before the bride steps into the sedan.
To elaborately match the gown, the bride’s accessories may be intricate and bold. She may a head accessory adorned with feathers and pearls, thus illustrating the female role in the relationship- representative of a phoenix. By tradition, a red silk cloth also veils the bride’s face. Due to the sheer weight of the heavy silk cloth, current day brides normally only wear it for short durations of time during the photoshoots.
The groom’s costume, however, is different. It entails a silk black overcoat, worn over a robe, which is embroidered with dragons. An elaborate headgear is also worn. Nevertheless, modern day grooms often simplify the outfit to just the robe. Robes come in a panoply of colors- for formality reasons, dark blue robes are advised.
When it comes to the bridesmaid, a choice is made between the traditional and the less conventional. Brides can opt for their bridesmaids to don a modern outfit, or take heed from the bride’s outfit and instead wear formal cheongsams, which come in a myriad of colours. If you would like a higher degree of formality in your wedding, select fitting black cheongsams for your bridesmaids.
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