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    |Traditional Chinese Wedding considerations

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    Mike
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    |Traditional Chinese Wedding considerations

    Post by Mike on 28/07/10, 10:17 pm

    Hello, I live in Canada with my newly arrived Chinese fiancee. She does not ask me for anything and I am not sure if she is being polite or is just very conservative. I am specifically wondering if Chinese ladies care as much about wedding rings,dresses, parties and ceremonies as the women in North America are accustomed? We do have a little bit of a language barrier because my mandarin is almost nonexistent and some of the more serious conversations are therefore sometimes awkward, I try to avoid too many in order to minimize the frustration level. Any input is much appreciated, thank you.
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    chinatyke
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    Re: |Traditional Chinese Wedding considerations

    Post by chinatyke on 29/07/10, 02:04 am

    Mike wrote: We do have a little bit of a language barrier because my mandarin is almost nonexistent and some of the more serious conversations are therefore sometimes awkward, I try to avoid too many in order to minimize the frustration level. Any input is much appreciated, thank you.

    Hi Mike and welcome.

    Don't worry about the language problem, just continue to take it slowly with her. My wife spoke virtually no English when we met. I bought a note book and would write a simple sentence, usually a question such as 'what is your job?', and then we would get the electronic dictionary out and translate it and she would write the Chinese characters on the page. It could take a whole evening to find a few details but it gradually became easier and she could refer to previous questions in her notebook. Now thanks to her hard work, the language is not a barrier to us. It is more important for your fiancee to learn English than for you to learn Mandarin if you will be staying in Canada, but you'll be amazed how many Mandarin words and phrases you will pick up and it will be helpful if you can master her language.

    My wife wasn't worried about a wedding ceremony, we just went to the marriage office and signed the papers and that was it. No fuss, no wasted money and it suited us. But this was a second marriage for her. Some weddings in China are lavish affairs. Talk to her and see what she wants.

    Best wishes. Graham
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    nigelld7
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    Re: |Traditional Chinese Wedding considerations

    Post by nigelld7 on 29/07/10, 04:00 am





    Mike wrote:Hello, I live in Canada with my newly arrived Chinese fiancee. She does not ask me for anything and I am not sure if she is being polite or is just very conservative. I am specifically wondering if Chinese ladies care as much about wedding rings,dresses, parties and ceremonies as the women in North America are accustomed?

    Hi Mike and welcome to the Forum.

    Some Chinese ladies do not concern themselves too much about wedding rings, necklaces and bracelets.Others do and I suppose it is best summarized by depending on the individual couples attitude.
    In Chinese culture, if wedding rings are exchanged, then they are generally worn on the right hand and not the left as in the West.
    As for dresses, parties, ceremonies then that is dependant on your finances, her dreams and wishes and the compromise between East and West traditions.

    She may well appear to be both polite and conservative, after all, she is still acclimatising to the culture changes! Maybe she is realising what her friends told her is not always true!

    Good luck for the future.

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    Re: |Traditional Chinese Wedding considerations

    Post by Guest on 29/07/10, 07:30 am

    Hi Mike and welcome to the Forum.

    I can only really talk about my wife when she came to UK not all Chinese are the same. The language barrier can be very frustrating as your experiences this already is even more frustrating for your wife who may have no Chinese friends who speak Chinese locally at the moment this is why it's really essential on arrival to place her into college so she can learn English, just be patient in the meantime.

    Wedding ceremony in China is not really a big issue but the wedding reception is, where in the West a small wedding would be less than 50 people in China a small wedding would be 150 people a big wedding reception would be 500 or more.

    If you was marrying a Canadian lady you would be expected to buy your future wife a engagement ring and wedding ring why treat your Chinese wife any difference it's all part of Canadian culture what she as to understand (if you don't you leave yourself open to criticism in the coming years lol.)

    When I married in China I did miss my family and friends if they was there it would have been a lot more enjoyable for myself I think your wife will be the same she most probably just go through the motions to please you as I did with my wife. So really is down to you about the wedding, would be a good idea to tell your wife next time you go back to China we have small wedding reception for your family say about 60 which will really pleaser her,the cost works out roughly 500 yen per 10 guess in a four-star hotel.

    Just remember when you first went to China everything was different the food the language etc but you had return ticket home your wife is experiencing the same thing but she has no return ticket, so every think is really strange to her the culture the language the food eventually she come more accustomed to her new surroundings just takes time be patient, remember the Chinese do not like wasting food or throwing anything away

    Would be better to allow your wife to cook Chinese food as much as she likes and just slowly introduces her to Western food even after six years my wife living in England it's about fifty-fifty Chinese and English.

    Whatever you do in four or five years' time you will find the truth what your wife is thinking you be amazed and you both will be laughing, what more important to her is you try not take the cultural differences too serious just work through them or round them just enjoy your life together.










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    dafu
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    Re: |Traditional Chinese Wedding considerations

    Post by dafu on 29/07/10, 08:44 am

    nigelld7 wrote:In Chinese culture, if wedding rings are exchanged, then they are generally worn on the right hand and not the left as in the West.
    So far I in China have not seen a wedding band worn on the right hand. I live in the outer southeastern part of Nanning. We have a good mix of Zhuang, Yao and Han people here, mostly of village origin or folk who have moved from the inner city. In our subdivision about 30% of the married women wear rings and they are all on the left hand. Some of the older women have the ring on the third finger; the others on the fourth finger. My wife has a plain platinum band which she wears on the fourth finger. Very few men wear wedding bands here, usually those in their 20's.
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    nigelld7
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    Re: |Traditional Chinese Wedding considerations

    Post by nigelld7 on 29/07/10, 10:46 am

    dafu wrote:
    nigelld7 wrote:In Chinese culture, if wedding rings are exchanged, then they are generally worn on the right hand and not the left as in the West.
    So far I in China have not seen a wedding band worn on the right hand. I live in the outer southeastern part of Nanning. We have a good mix of Zhuang, Yao and Han people here, mostly of village origin or folk who have moved from the inner city. In our subdivision about 30% of the married women wear rings and they are all on the left hand. Some of the older women have the ring on the third finger; the others on the fourth finger. My wife has a plain platinum band which she wears on the fourth finger. Very few men wear wedding bands here, usually those in their 20's.

    IMHO it just goes to show what different cultures do then. I attended a wedding between a member of this Forum and his wife and the exchange of rings was done right hand to right hand. The video shows this. I have also attended another wedding recently outside Nanning and the same happened there. I cannot comment on your statement that men in their 20's wear wedding rings because most of the Chinese men I know are early 30's before they enter into marriage.



    Last edited by nigelld7 on 29/07/10, 10:49 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : subbed for brevity.)
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    handyal
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    Re: |Traditional Chinese Wedding considerations

    Post by handyal on 29/07/10, 02:14 pm

    Hi Mike,
    and welcome to the forum.

    I think your wife would love a Marriage ring, and at least a sit down meal with family and friends as they would in China.

    One thing not mentioned is that the Chinese consider our 'our gold' cheap. In the UK it is up to 18k. In China it is usually 21k.
    I have heard of many of the women preferring Platinum rings to gold, as with Dafu's wife.

    My wife preferred a 'jade bracelet', but has since found that many foreigners wifes have a gold ring, so she wants a ring as well now. Of course I tell her the UK gold is cheap, which is what she told me !

    Let your wife choose her dress for the wedding, whether it be plain, or the full white wedding dress.
    If this is her first marriage, I think the full white wedding will be appreciated.

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    Re: |Traditional Chinese Wedding considerations

    Post by AndyB1984 on 29/07/10, 02:30 pm

    Hi Mike

    My wife - on paper, we have yet to do the ceremony seems to have picked out some from both west and east. When engaged was after a ring, we also purchased wedding rings, which were fitted for the left hand third finger as normal in UK. We are yet to celebrate in China, currently prepping for it, from what I see the official wedding on paper is just a formality with the main part for the Chinese being the sit down meals, evening prior, breakfast, and in this part of China it it Lunch for the first wedding, or an evening meal if second.

    She has had a lot of western influence and been outside of China a lot, so possibly seen more than others, but I agree with HandyAl about the meal as it appears to be of importance in our upcoming celebration, more than the paperwork.

    Andy
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    Re: |Traditional Chinese Wedding considerations

    Post by handyal on 29/07/10, 03:38 pm

    In Chinese philosophy, which finger does the wedding ring go on ?

    In Western cultures a wedding ring is traditionally worn on the ring finger. This developed from the Roman "annulus pronubis" when the man gave a ring to the woman at the betrothal ceremony. According to tradition in some countries (derived from Roman belief), the wedding ring is worn on the left ring finger because the vein in the left ring finger, referred to as the vena amoris was believed to be directly connected to the heart, a symbol of love.

    There is a beautiful and convincing explanation given by the Chinese.....
    Thumb represents your Parents
    Second (Index) finger represents your Siblings
    Middle finger represents your-Self
    Fourth (Ring) finger represents your Life Partner
    & the Last (Little) finger represents your children
    Firstly, open your palms (face to face), bend the middle fingers and hold them together - back to back
    Secondly, open and hold the remaining three fingers and the thumb - tip to tip
    Now, try to separate your thumbs (representing the parents)..., they will open, because your parents are not destined to live with you lifelong, and have to leave you sooner or later.
    Please join your thumbs as before and separate your Index fingers (representing siblings)...., they will also open, because your brothers and sisters will have their own families and will have to lead their own separate lives.
    Now join the Index fingers and separate your Little fingers (representing your children)...., they will open too, because the children also will get married and settle down on their own some day.
    Finally, join your Little fingers, and try to separate your Ring fingers (representing your spouse).
    You will be surprised to see that you just CANNOT....., because Husband & Wife have to remain together all their lives - through thick and thin!!

    Watch the Video.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eL1Vjf0AZjY
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    Ian- Karen Mok Fan
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    Re: |Traditional Chinese Wedding considerations

    Post by Ian- Karen Mok Fan on 29/07/10, 04:39 pm

    Alan, really like that write up about the rings, really does bring back all the feelings of Chinese culture.

    Mike, welcome to the forum, you will have a great time here, is a very friendly place.

    i got married to my wife in Nanning last year, it was my first marriage, her second. I was very much into Chinese tradition before we got married, even when we got engaged. so for me, i preferred to get married in China as my wife did.

    We did not go the formal engagement route as some do in China, we just went to parents house and talked, but nothing really formal, not even talking about being engaged with them.

    As for engagement ring, i definitely wanted to buy one for my wife, but long story was i got my credit card and money taken in Shenzhen, so was then working off limited funds. so had to put off the engagement ring at that time.
    After i got home from Nanning, i started to prepare all the marriage documents that were needed, and my wife found us some lovely rings and showed on webcam.
    hers was a double ring, connected in the centre, forming two ring loops that interlocked. one being and engagement ring and the other a wedding ring, which then joined together. it is in yellow gold, and not white gold like some also prefer.
    My ring is platinum with a single diamond in the centre.
    Chinese prefer pure 24K gold more than the other K ratings, but also bear in mind that this can easily get damaged or bent out of shape.


    when we met next time (may 2009) for the 3.5months i stayed there, this was our time for marriage. we went to the Marriage office on 30th May and were married very easily, 30 - 45mins tops.
    after this we then met with family and friends and all the other pre-wedding things to do, choose outfits, arrange food and drinks, and importantly the hotel where we had dinner.
    we had our 'wedding dinner/banquet' on 20th June.
    we used the Taoyuan Hotel and booked the 3rd floor as it was a private function area and had lift to the floor.
    We changed into our wedding outfits, i had red jacket and black trousers, my wife had a long off the shoulder red dress. i was very much for marrying in red and all the other traditions for us as well as the family.
    we had 10 or 11 tables, and about 100 guests.
    then we had to get up on stage and say a few words and then lots of things take place, the pouring of Champagne, the cutting of the cake, and throwing of the wedding flower bouquet.

    After this you then get a chance to mingle and meet everyone, we had a few minutes to sit down with family and chat a bit. then it was up and go see everyone at the tables and toast with wine and also with a cup of chinese tea for everyone. this is the fun bit, you get the chance to practices your Chinese if you wish, greeting everyone.
    After the two rounds of celebration you then get a more relaxed time, and can go and sit with the people you know at each table.

    one thing, of warning, if you are not used to it, watch out for the Chinese wine. it is best to go around and toast everyone at the tables with a glass of water each, or you may not make it to the last table.
    Chinese wine is a potent thing if not used to it.

    i would not have missed this for the world, and it is a good way for you to get introductions to all the family, and also your wife's close friends.

    if i think of anything else, i will write more here. all i can say is you will remember the experience forever, a Chinese wedding dinner is not to be missed.

    even if we had married in the UK, we would still have gone back and had a full wedding dinner out of respect for family there.

    finally, my wife automatically had the wedding ring on her left finger, at first only wear it on the right because needed to be resized a bit.

    all the best Mike, and have a happy future with your new wife

    regards
    Ian


    Last edited by Ian- Karen Mok Fan on 29/07/10, 06:04 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)
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    dafu
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    Re: |Traditional Chinese Wedding considerations

    Post by dafu on 30/07/10, 12:15 am

    As well as being a guest of many wedding celebrations held by our neighbours, I have attended several Family weddings.

    In each case the couple had actually "married" some time before the celebrations. The festivities began with a private celebration at the home of the bride's parents. The couple offered a special tea, first to the bride's parents and then to the other Family members. A light meal was then shared. Then the bride ritually moved her possessions and wedding gifts to the groom's home where the tea ceremony was repeated with the groom's parents and immediate family. Another light meal! The bride wore a traditional red wedding dress for these events on each occasion I was present. No rings were exchanged.

    The same evening the banquet was held for the bride and groom's guests. The ceremony consists of making three bows. A Western white wedding dresses was worn and the "Midsummer Night's Dream Wedding March" was played. The bride then changed into a traditional red wedding dress. The couple made their way to each table in turn and offered the same special tea to each guest. Each guest presents the couple with a hong-bao (red envelope) containing a few Renminbi on returning the teacup to the tray. Again no rings were exchanged.
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    Chris Seaborn
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    Re: |Traditional Chinese Wedding considerations

    Post by Chris Seaborn on 30/07/10, 05:24 am

    Hi Mike,
    As with the others I can only talk about my experience,Ying didn't ask for anything either, being polite and conservative is generaly the Chinese way. When choosing a ring Ying chose the cheapest and when I showed her what I considered worthy of her she shook her head and said,'too dear'. My wife has very expressive eyes and they actually shine when she is excited or sees something she really would like, also she holds on to it a little longer.LOL. Unlike the UK gold in Australia is far more expensive than in China, 24K is preferred, (even if it does wear out sooner) It was actually a tough job to get her to accept it, her neiece said afterwards that she was 'so very happy'. And that's been my experience throughout our relationship. She is extremely generous herself. Don't stop trying to communicate with your wife Mike, if you have a hand-held translator explain that sometimes things don't translate well, so never get angry or frustrated with what you read and to ask the question again,If you don't have one go out and buy one. In the earlier stages we had some corker translations that had both of us rolling all over the floor! Laughing helps with homesickness too which could be another reason why she's quiet. You probably have SKYPE or she will have downloaded QQ encourage her to contact her family often. I was lucky in the fact that Ying's daughter came over with her so we had no homesickness problem that I was aware of. I would say, by what I've read, you have a great partner and will wish you a very happy life together.

    Cheers, Chris

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