Chinese wedding traditions: 4. Chinese wedding outfit and Chinese sedan

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Although we keep quite some rituals of the Chinese wedding, but quite some things are still changing as time goes by. Especially the outfit of the bride and groom, as well as the transportation. In this post I will write some of the most typical ancient Chinese wedding outfits and transportation means.

1. Wedding outfit
Unlike the western tradition where brides wear white wedding dresses, the traditional Chinese brides always wear red outfit.
Depending on the outfit of the dynasty, the wedding outfit also vary.
Below some typical ancient Chinese wedding outfit:

Tang dynasty (168 – 907):

Qing dynasty royal wedding(1644-1911)
wedding outfit

Qing dynasty(1644-1911)

Republic of China(1912-1949)

Modern Chinese wedding:


2. Wedding veil
A piece of wedding veil to cover the bride’s head before she met the groom.
The red veil in ancient times was used to cover the bride’s shyness. Typically, brides and grooms did not meet before the wedding ceremony. It would be on the day of their marriage, when the groom removes the red veil in the “洞房 (dòngfáng) bridal chamber” that the couple would meet for the first time. I will write in another post about the rituals in the bridal chamber.

Another saying is that, in the ancient days, the groom marry the bride because of power or robbery, covering her head with a piece of veil is to prevent she knows the way to go back.



3. Transportation
As we see in the previous videos, to pick up the brides nowadays, we all use cars. But in the old days when the cars did not exist, the most common used one is something really special: Chinese Sedan, and also horses in some area.

a. Horses
It is logical that the horses are used as transportation in the old days, on wedding days, only in some area, horses are used.

b. Chinese sedan
Chinese sedan is very popular in Chinese history, it is popularly used in the royal palace, as a transportation for the royal families.
It is simply a chair with one person sitting on it, and the other 4 people carry this chair in order to transport this person. Usually only import person, or one person at one important moment can have a chance to sit on a sedan.

The royal families were always transported using sedan:

When po from Kongfu panda was chosen as dragan warrier, he was transported using Sedan as well:


A bride is also transported to the groom’s place using Sedan:

With the Chinese veil and the Sedan, if there are more than 1 couple getting married on the same day, it is very easily to make mistakes and marry the wrong guy. There is even a TV series based on a wrong wedding, but ends up with the correct marriage in the end(上错花轿嫁对郎).

More about traditional Chinese wedding:
0. Introduction
1. Wedding decorations
2. Gate crash
3. Tea ceremony
4. Chinese wedding outfit and Chinese sedan
5. Formal ceremony – Bai tang(拜堂)
6. Bridal chamber rituals
7. Wedding Proposal
8. Pre-wedding photo shooting(Behind the scenes)
9. Chinese wedding agency
10. Our wedding lunch menu
11. Our wedding program 1: Fetch the bride
12. Our wedding program 2: The lunch ceremony
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