Totally different with western wedding attire, China has her own special wedding attire. Generally speaking, Chinese wedding dress is basically around theme of good luck and happiness. Dragon, phoenix, red color are thought to bring good luck and happiness, so they are indispensable elements in Chinese wedding dress. The main color of Chinese wedding dress is bright red, the traditional and sacred color, which is intended to reflect the wedding atmosphere, while that of westerner’s is pure white. Besides, other stuffs of Chinese wedding dress are with strong Chinese characteristics.
Stuffs of Chinese Wedding Dress
•Dress and Color
As we mentioned, red is a favorite color for all Chinese people for red is considered as a symbol of good luck that can keep evil spirits away. So you will find the bride and groom wear in red in their wedding part. The traditional Chinese wedding dress in northern Chinese usually is one piece frock named Qipao, embroidered with elaborate gold and silver design. Brides in Southern China prefer to wear two-piece dress named Qungua or Kwa, which also elaborately adorned with gold dragon and phoenix.
Chinese wedding color
During the traditional Chinese wedding ceremony, the bride is handed by her groom. Her head is covered by a red veil which is falling down to her shoulder for whole period. The veil is not taken off until all the relatives and friends have left. The groom needs to put the veil off by himself only. Imagine the special and sweet moment when groom takes the veil off and see a blush and exciting face with the timid candlelight while they sit on the edge of new bed. The bride covering veil is connected with the special occasion the lovers are eager for their life.
Chinese wedding covering veil
During the wedding ceremony, the bride usually wears a special pair of wedding shoes. For example, in Southern Fujian Province, the bride has to wear a pair of shoes embroidered with patterns of a turtle or a deer, which symbolizes blessing, happiness and longevity after marriage. In southern Zhejiang Province, the bride has to wear a pair of shoes named Shang Jiao Xie (shoes worn while stepping into the sedan chair) before getting into the sedan is for the sake of praying for auspiciousness.
Chinese wedding shoes
Either the bride or others can make the wedding shoes. These kinds of shoes are made with red and green cloth and usually with a soft sole. When a bride is going to step into the sedan chair, she is supposed to wear these shoes. In some places, relatives who make such shoes for bride can receive good fortune, while in other areas, they are made by the bride and another single girl in the morning of the wedding day.
Chinese Wedding Dress in Different Dynasties
The style of Chinese wedding dress is different in different dynasties. There are three main Chinese wedding dresss in China. They are “爵弁玄端-纯衣纁袡” ( Chinese pinyin: juebianxuanduan-chunyixunran) in Zhou dynasty, “梁冠礼服-钗钿礼衣” ( Chinese pinyin: liangguanlifu-chaidianlifu) in Tang dynasty, and “九品官服-凤冠霞帔” ( Chinese pinyin: jiupinguanfu-fengguanxiapei) in Ming dynasty. All of these wedding attires, the first one is for bridegroom, and the second one is for bride.
•Chinese Wedding Dress in Zhou Dynasty
The characteristic of the Chinese wedding dress in Zhou dynasty is modesty and solemn. The color is different from that of later ages. Black and light red is the main color in Zhou dynasty, while that of later ages is bright red. The bridegroom wears juebian-the hat on the bridegroom’s head, and xuanduan-the dressing has two layers, white is for underwear, black and light red is for outwear. Bride wears xunran, which includes a light red underwear and a black outwear. Besides, the bride has to bound the hair up with a 50cm hair band and a 25cm hairpin.
Chinese wedding dress in Zhou dynasty
•Chinese Wedding Dress in Tang Dynasty
Chinese wedding dress in Tang dynasty combines solemnity of Zhou dynasty and the joy of later ages. The bridegroom wears red dress while the bride wears green dress. Based on long sleeve dressing with flower hairpin, the chaidianlifu is developed in late Tang dynasty. The characteristic of the attire is with many layers and long sleeves. Kimono in Japan is developed from this wedding attire. Wearing this wedding attire, the bride has to match with a hairpin made of metals and jewels. After Tang dynasty, the sophisticated chaidianlifu is simplified.
Chinese wedding dress in Tang Dynasty
As we all known, the more sophisticated thing is, the less aesthetic feeling people have. So how does the wedding attire combine so much sophisticated things to gorgeous art? What is classic about the wedding attire in Tang dynasty is its collar and long sleeves. Although matching with a set of hairpins and hair ornaments, the wedding attire in Tang dynasty has never ever brought cumbersome feeling. With time pass by, bride’s green dress has been updated to bright red dress.
•Chinese Wedding Dress in Ming Dynasty
From Ming dynasty to modern China, taking wife is a small civil examination for Chinese men, so the wedding attire for bridegroom is the ninth-rank officer’s costume (Chinese pinyin: jiupinguanfu), and phoenix coronet and robes of rank (Chinese pinyin:fengguanxiapei) is for bride. Fengguan is the most honorable ornaments for ancient women. Fengguanxiapei has been wedding attire since Ming dynasty. Bride’s fengguanxiapei includes phoenix coronet, red veil, red gown, descendent bag, red dress, and red shoes and so on. This wedding attire is regarded as the most classic and representative one among all Chinese wedding dress. Most Chinese couple will choose at least two styles when they take wedding pictures, one is western wedding attire, the other is Chinese wedding dress, and most of couples prefer to choose fengguanxiapei as their Chinese wedding dress.
Except the above three, longfenggua also popularizes among Chinese couples. It’s also indispensible Chinese wedding dress in China. Patterned with dragon and phoenix, the Longfenggua is endowed with their auspicious meaning. Besides dragon and phoenix, five embroidered bats, with the meaning of five blessing arrival, also appear in Longfenggua. The longfenggua is more simplified than the above three Chinese wedding dresss, and it can show women’s curvaceous shape. In modern China, when Chinese new couples take Chinese style wedding pictures, they prefer fengguanxiapei, but when they drink a toast to guests, they prefer Longfenggua.