Carmen Weddings » the little blog home of : carmen weddings

I am feeling super honoured to be able to feature this couple. In fact, I am still as high as a kite after seeing their photos a couple of days ago. Thank you to Pure Photography By Lindsey Tropf, who so kindly agreed for me to share with you all. Not only is Lindsey ridiculously awesome at her job, she just loves, loves, loves wedding […]


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I was on top of the World when I tapped into Brian Khang Photography’s blog… he has captured many beautiful cultural weddings and so I just had to swiftly shoot him an email. When Brian told me he loved being part of such beautiful weddings, I was ecstatic that he also knew what gets my eyes dancing. One wedding […]


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  • Sam - Wow – thanks for sharing that beautiful proposal & wedding – all the little touches and everything is gorgeous! The Bride and Groom both looked stunning…I loved where they got married…I had imagined something like that – wish I lived in California…hehehe! Loved her gorgeous white wedding dress as well as the traditional vietnamese dress…gorgeous!!

    I truly hope I get as many gorgeous memories and emotion and beautiful pictures as this lovely couple on my own wedding day….xoxoMay 26, 2010 – 3:05 pm

  • Carmen at Smitten By Weddings - It really is Wow isn’t it Sam! If I could copy everything you have said there, I would, as I couldn’t agree more. I would love to go to California now too! I’m sure you will have an amazing wedding Sam and with lots of gorgeous memories.xMay 26, 2010 – 3:58 pm

Going into Etsy is like going to heaven for me. As I was browsing through the many pretty items that Etsy has to offer, I came across the fabulous shop of Rule 42. They have these gorgeous pinwheels perfect for a fun and quirky wedding or even an engagement shoot.  Another reason why I love these pinwheels is because it reminds […]


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  • Sam - Wow – love the idea…I used to love them as a child at CNY time….think it looks fab in the first photo with the bride and her bridal party! xoxoMay 25, 2010 – 3:45 pm

  • Carmen at Smitten By Weddings - I have to say, I am so in love with them too Sam! xMay 25, 2010 – 3:59 pm

  • Kellee - Thank you so much for featuring my pinwheels! I love what you wrote about them and my shop and cherish your compliments :O) Keep your eye out, we are working on another new, very unique and fun, non-traditional piece for weddings, I am planning on releasing it in the Fall. Thanks!

    KelleeMay 26, 2010 – 8:49 pm

  • Carmen at Smitten By Weddings - Thank you so much for calling by Kellee! I love your pinwheels and now cannot wait for your new pieces… I am super excited already! xMay 26, 2010 – 9:24 pm

There are many Chinese wedding traditions that are still practiced in this modern day. One of the most popular is the Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony. A time to show respect to the bride and grooms elders and thanking and showing appreciation for raising them. If it’s a large family, do prepare for some time for the couple to be on their knees! Chinese Tea Ceremony : […]


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  • Sam - Thanks for this, its helped me even more by reading through your tips above…and just reminded me that I need to get some more cups as I dont have enough….oops….! Cant wait to implement this into my wedding…!! 🙂 xoxoMay 20, 2010 – 2:28 pm

  • Carmen at Smitten By Weddings - Glad these little tips have been helpful Sam. Oh yes… must have enough tea cups! xoxMay 20, 2010 – 4:48 pm

  • chinese tea - Thanks for share this,nice post 🙂July 5, 2010 – 12:43 am

  • Ed - Hi, is it possible to hold the tea ceremony on both the bride and groom’s side family in same place? How would the flow be? Thanks!October 9, 2013 – 4:50 pm

  • Carms - Hi Ed, traditionally the Tea Ceremony begins with giving tea to elders to the brides side of the family. You then return to the grooms side of the family and home. Because logistically this can become a challenge if locations/ timings are not suitable, I have known to arrange (and is a popular option) for the Tea Ceremony at one venue for both sides of the family.

    Depending on your wedding day, you can plan for this for either before or after your ceremony (depending on whether the bride/ couple have a preference whether to see the groom before the ceremony or after) On many occasions, this is purely down to the couple and their families decisions with how, where and when they have their Tea Ceremony. I hope this helps!October 23, 2013 – 9:49 pm

  • JS - Hello,
    We would like to have the tea ceremony during a Western civil ceremony (replacing the lighting of the candle/filling a jar with sand). But since there will be many family members, aunts, uncles, etc,
    Can we only serve tea to bride and grooms parents?
    do we have to serve tea to grandparents and aunts and uncles who are older than us?February 24, 2014 – 2:15 am

  • Carms - Hello JS, Absolutely! You can serve tea to only the elders you choose to, however, be sure to warn all elders who you are serving to as some will naturally assume you are going to serve them also and will take a seat without your invitation (or some parents will invite relatives without your say so unless you have this very well communicated beforehand)

    Traditionally you will serve to grandparents before your parents but again, this is your choice and decision.

    I’m assuming you’re having a ceremony in the UK? Do also make sure you communicate your plans in detail with your Registrar or celebrant.

    Happy Planning!March 3, 2014 – 12:48 pm

  • Lisa - I’m the mother of the groom. There will be a tea ceremony before the wedding.
    Do my husband and I present a gift to the bride during this tea ceremony?March 7, 2014 – 2:27 pm

  • Carms - Hello Lisa, it is tradition that both you and your husband presents a gift to the bride and groom; whether a lai-see {red envelope} with a small sum of money inside or gold jewellery.

    The order of the tea ceremony –
    You and your husband take a seat, bride and groom will kneel in front of you. The bride (or groom) will then present to your husband tea with both hands, he may then want to say a few words of congratulations to the bride and groom, take a sip of the tea, place cup back on the tray and present them with his gift with both hands. If gifting them jewellery, many will actually place this on for the newlyweds, whether it’s a bangle or a necklace. The above is then repeated by the bride to father in law, then groom or vice versa to you.

    Example of the order –
    Groom gives tea to father, drinks tea, gift
    Bride gives tea to father, drinks tea, gift
    Groom gives tea to mother, drinks tea, gift
    Bride gives tea to mother, drinks tea, gift

    Parents then stand first, followed by bride and groom before the next couple takes their seat.

    I hope this helps!March 12, 2014 – 12:11 pm

  • Malcolm - Hi

    Really love the tea set in the picture. Do you know where you bought this from as I need one for my tea ceremony

    Many thanksMarch 24, 2014 – 8:43 pm

  • Carms - Hi,

    The tea set was purchased in Hong Kong. If you’re traveling to HK or know of anyone who may be there, visit Golden Plaza on Nathan Road for traditional Chinese wedding items. Good luck!April 1, 2014 – 4:31 pm

  • Jason - Hi… I’m going to be someone ‘uncle’ for the first time, my brother is getting married soon and I’m his only elder brother(me and him only) and groom parent only our mum. Chinese always say ‘elder brother as father’ but I’m not married yet, definitely my mum will be serve tea but should I be serve tea by the groom and bride also? If yes, do I need to give the red envelope because I’am the elder or no need because I’am not married yet? 🙂May 5, 2014 – 7:26 am

  • Carms - Hi Jason, congratulations to your brother! I have worked with couples where despite their elder siblings marital status, they choose to still give tea but both the newlyweds and sibling are all standing (so no need for couple to kneel). A red envelope is normally still given to the bride and groom. Good luck and I hope they have an amazing day!May 12, 2014 – 9:20 pm

  • B - Hi there, can i check with you how long is the tea ceremony usually?June 9, 2014 – 4:54 am

  • Carms - This depends on many factors, such as – whether you plan to give tea to the brides family in one location and then the grooms family afterwards in another and how many relatives/ family friends you’re giving tea too.

    I have planned weddings where only the bride and grooms parents are served tea and other weddings where the list is endless!June 9, 2014 – 4:47 pm

  • Fun things | Ken and Eliza's Wedding Fun-day Fantastico - […] This is the traditional Chinese wedding in which we will be pouring tea for our parents and near relatives to ask them to bless the marriage. You are welcome to watch if you around.  For more ink see this link. […]June 30, 2014 – 3:06 pm

  • Judy - This is our first invitation to a “tea ceremony” as an elder on the groom’s side. What is the appropriate amount of monetary gift in the red envelope?
    Thank you.August 17, 2014 – 7:01 pm

  • Carms - Hello Judy! There is no set amount – it depends if you plan on giving them a gift as well as a red envelope for the Tea Ceremony. If this is the case, you may want to gift a small amount for Tea Ceremony only {I know of some elders who have gifted as little as £20 just for the Tea Ceremony} If the Tea Ceremony red envelope is your wedding gift to the bride & groom, then of course you gift as much or as little as you wish to. I hope this helps.August 25, 2014 – 7:18 pm

  • Iris - Hi Carmen,

    What does the “lucky lady” need to say when serving tea? Pls advise. Thx!!September 18, 2014 – 5:47 pm

  • Carms - Hello Iris,

    I have attended weddings in both Hong Kong and the UK where there has been a lucky lady. The one in HK was a lot more experienced since it was her full time job. Her words throughout the day involved the guests in attendance of the Tea Ceremony which involved many words that wished the couple a lifetime filled with happiness, health and fertility. They also prayed to the couples ancestors – bowing to them in a certain direction.

    Her other roles included assisting with the serving of sweet dessert to the families and then the couple. A long red ribbon was also given to the bride & groom to walk from one end to the middle for their first kiss!

    In the UK, the Lucky Lady was less involved as the ceremony was much shorter (tea ceremony only rather than throughout the day) She gave tea to the couple and spoke words of ‘We wish the newlyweds a lifetime of happiness, health & fertility. Please… mami yam cha (drink tea)’

    I hope this helps!October 14, 2014 – 7:40 pm

  • Emily - Hi,
    Since my fiance is Vietnamese/Chinese we are looking to incorporate the tea ceremony in to our western wedding (I’m white from a traditional southern family in the US). My parents are divorced but my father remarried. Do I serve my stepmother tea? And if so, in what order? Her and I are very close so I didn’t want to exclude her unless it just isn’t something that is proper.
    Thank you!March 31, 2015 – 8:27 pm

  • Helen - Hi Carmen,

    Really helpful tips above thanks for explaining everything so clearly! I’m thinking about conducting the tea ceremony during the western ceremony, as a nod to culture but not a full tradition. But there are some things I am unsure if it will offend some relatives that will come from HK and Taiwan. 1) Do we have to kneel? I will be in my wedding dress and kneeling may be difficult 2) Is it ok for the parents to not give lai see? Both families are more Christian, and I want the emphasis to be on words of wisdom. 3) Is it a good idea to set up 2 chairs at the front of the room so everyone else can see, or can we do the tea ceremony with the parents seated at the front row? Thanks for any advice you can give!April 16, 2015 – 6:17 am

  • Carmen - Hi Emily, I will always recommend that you do what you feel is best. It’s absolutely more than fine to serve tea to your step-mother, particularly if you are very close. I think it will be lovely to include her but perhaps check with your in-laws to-be so they know this is what you’re planning for. I have worked on weddings where tea is served to step-parents and noone bats a eyelid. Enjoy your planning!April 16, 2015 – 8:54 pm

  • Carmen - Hi Helen, Thanks for calling by! I’m going to answer you the best I can and based on past experience on working with mainly Hong Kong Chinese clients.

    1. You should always kneel if serving to an elder. If they are an elder but the same generation as you both, it isn’t necessary to kneel – you would give tea standing. Personal choice and it is your wedding but I would seriously consider kneeling if you have family coming from overseas and are used to this tradition

    2. Parents either give lai-see of another type of gift, such as gold or jewellery. Normally lai-see for tea ceremony contain a minimum amount – it’s the meaning behind it that matters.

    3. This is entirely your choice and how and when you want this to take place. If you really want to follow tradition, you would give tea to brides family on the morning of the wedding with groom. This may take place before your ceremony. Then you would travel together to the grooms family home and give tea to the grooms family.If you are trying to incorporate it into your day AFTER the ceremony, then you need to think about the flow of the day and venue layout. What works best for photographs {if this is important to you} and whether you would like other guests to witness this part of the day too.

    I hope this helps!April 16, 2015 – 9:03 pm

  • Little Miss Random - Hi Carmen,

    Thanks so much for writing this. My English HTB and I are planning a tea ceremony before our wedding reception (banquet) in Singapore (where I am from), but have been generally clueless on how to go about it. My parents don’t know much about it either so the Internet’s been my main source of info and your site is much better written than the others I’ve read. As my family isn’t traditional (we’re Catholic), we’re not following the strict tradition, because we have a wedding ceremony in the morning to get to and there is no groom’s home for us to go to as well.

    Is there a script for what needs to be said during the tea ceremony?

    Many thanks again!September 1, 2015 – 9:26 am

  • Carmen - Hi there,

    Congratulations on your engagement and I’m so glad the web has been helpful to your planning! There is no particular script unless you employ a traditional ‘Chinese wedding lady’ who will organise all of the traditions for you and ensure you follow it correctly. Although very few {if any} in the UK but I’m sure you can source wedding lady’s in Singapore and Hong Kong easily. Kind words offered include happiness, luck and fertility to the happy couple, and newlyweds will always greet elders with their title in particular to when serving tea.September 2, 2015 – 10:02 am

  • Nicole - Hi Carmen,

    You’ve got a great website, full of inspiration. Love it!

    I’m getting married next year to my English fiancé. During the tea ceremony we have a mixture of English elder relatives, such as aunties and uncles who are either not married or divorced. We have also have older siblings who are not married too. Can we serve tea to these people or is this seen as inappropriate?

    Thanks.April 3, 2016 – 8:00 pm

  • Char - I am the mother of the groom and attending a Tea Ceremony for the first time. My son is marrying into a Vietnamese family. I have been asked to introduce my family and request for my son to be engaged to their daughter. I was hoping for an example of what to say and possible advise what not to say. All the YOUTUBE videos available are speaking Chinese, Vietnamese, etc therefore I am not able to understand what is being said. Are you able to advise? I really don’t want to offend anyone. The family is so wonderful and this ceremony is such an honorable one. I thank you in advance for any advice you might be able to offer.April 7, 2016 – 11:56 pm

  • Karman - Hello, i was wondering.. What do the people who are giving the red envelopes say to the bride and the groom? What are the meaningful words and blessings that are supposed to be said? Thank youApril 12, 2016 – 5:16 pm

  • Tin - Hi, for tea ceremony.
    If my older brother is younger than my fiancè, do we still serve tea?
    Need help urgently.

    Thanks.June 14, 2016 – 1:25 pm

  • Carmen - Hello Nicola, Thank you! I’m glad it’s been useful to you. Going by past experience, it is absolutely fine as long as you and your family are aware and agree.
    Over time, I am finding an increasing number of couples choose to serve to tea whom they wish, whether the couples are married or not. Generally, however, you serve to elders by kneeling and siblings or cousins are served where all are standing.June 17, 2016 – 12:24 pm

  • Carmen - Hello Char, Congratulations and what an exciting time for you all!

    Unfortunately this is not something I have ever been asked to advise on, however can only assume it would be very similar to a meaningful speech the Father of the Bride would normally give after dinner. If my reply is not too late, do feel free to pop an email over to hello{at} with what you plan to say and I can share my thoughts.June 17, 2016 – 12:28 pm

  • Carmen - Hi Karman, those giving red envelopes will tend to congratulate the bride & groom, wishing them a long and happy marriage, and bless them with good health and children aplenty!June 17, 2016 – 12:32 pm

  • Carmen - Hi Tin, this is entirely up to you and your family but I would say yes, since he is your elder. However, you can serve standing rather than kneel as he is in the same generation as yourself. Have a wonderful wedding!June 17, 2016 – 12:34 pm