Let’s take a look at the notable customs unique to Cantonese, Hokkien and Teochew dialects and how to do it with a modern twist.
CANTONESE STYLE (广东)
The Cantonese are quite particular about the bride wearing the red "kwa", which must have phoenix embroidery, for "groom receiving" and tea ceremonies.
A modern bride can choose to look ravishing in a silver "kwa" with intricate gold and silver embroidery instead of a red "kwa".
Among all the jewellery received by the bride from the groom, the most important is a pair of dragon and phoenix bangles (龙凤镯). These are to be worn together with the "kwa" on the actual wedding day, with other jewellery, as a token of prosperity and luck.
A modern bride may want to check if bangles in other precious metals or other types of jewellery can be substituted.
On the 3rd day of marriage, the groom will accompany the bride back to her family’s home and present a whole roast pig to his in-laws. The bride’s family will remove the middle portion of the roast pig. The pig head and tail will be returned to the groom’s family, together with a pair of trousers wrapped in red paper.
A modern twist to this is to get a small roast pig or to replace the roast pig with roast pork.
HOKKIEN STYLE (福建)
One essential set of items that the Hokkien bride must have in her dowry is "da yuan (大缘)" and "xiao yuan (小缘)". These symbolize that the bride is fated to be with her husband and his family. These are small pieces of "silver" resembling coins, and are to be placed with towels given to the husband’s siblings.
A modern couple may choose to place the coins in the newly weds' cupboard or room instead.
Hokkiens also place emphasis on the inclusion of traditional household items, like tea sets, bed linen, sewing kit, basins, in the dowry for an "obedient" wife.
If parents insist, a modern couple can buy a ready set from traditional wedding shops in Chinatown.
On the actual day, the pig's leg presented to the bride’s mother should be uncooked. This is a gift to thank her for "sow sai leo" (literally clearing of baby poo).
Nowadays, cans of stewed pig’s trotters are presented instead.
TEOCHEW STYLE (潮洲)
The most famous Teochew betrothal gifts is "si dian jin (四点金)", represented by a gold necklace, pendant, earrings and bangle. This is usually selected by the groom’s mother, and presented as a sign of favour to her daughter-in-law.
Jewellery is always welcome. Just jazz it up with modern designs. A modern bride may opt for other precious metals like white gold or platinum, with the inclusion of diamonds.
The Teochew wedding cakes are very specialized and must be ordered from a Teochew bakery. They are literally "big cakes", with dense bean filling and a flaky pastry skin.
Try ordering the cake in smaller sizes and in sweet and salty versions. Else cake vouchers are always another popular choice.
Preparation for 过大礼