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Preparation for 过大礼

Over the years, the elements of the traditional Chinese wedding ceremony undergone changes and have been simplified to the traditional "basics" of the Three Letters and Six Rites.

Three Letters (三书)
- Betrothal Letter
- Gift Letter
- Wedding Letter

Six Rites- The Proposal (求婚)
- Birth Date Matching (对生辰八日)
- Formal Betrothal (提亲)
- Wedding Gifts Presentation (下娉/过大礼)
- Wedding Date Selection (选吉日)
- Wedding Day (传统婚礼)

The wedding day had further associated ceremonies of: bridal bed setup; hair combing ceremony (上头); bridal procession; wedding ritual; wedding feast; nuptial rites and the return to the bride’s family home.
Wedding Gifts Presentation (下娉/过大礼)The groom and a friend or a matchmaker will pay a visit to the bride’s family, bearing the "bride price (娉金)" and betrothal gifts (娉礼) in sets of even numbers. The betrothal gifts are delivered up to a month and at least three days before the wedding day.

What are the Gifts?

Gifts may include incense, rice crackers, sweets (e.g. winter melon, rock sugar), roast pig or pig’s leg, jewellery, tea, lotus seeds, logan, red/green beans, red dates, nutmeg, oranges, pomegranate, lily, wine, bridal cakes, coconuts, betrothal jewellery and other items, depending on local customs, family wealth and requirements from the other bridal party.

Nowadays, the basic gifts from the groom include: "bride price (娉金)"; a pair of dragon and phoenix candles (龙凤烛); 2 bottles of liquor; boxes of traditional cakes (number to be determined by bride’s family beforehand) and 12 oranges (signifying each month of a year).

The recommended list of items (which is usually decided during Formal Betrothal 提亲)
* Bride price 娉金
* Wedding biscuits / cakes 喜饼
* 2 bottles of liquors
* 2 pairs of dragon and phoenix candles (龙凤烛)
* 1 set of si dian jin (四点金)
* 24 cans of pig trotters
* 12 oranges
* Sweet food items like rock sugar, melon sugar, lotus seeds
* Diaper ang pow (尿布钱)
* Ang pow for match maker (if any)
* Big basket --> for groom to bring the gifts and for bride to return to groom

Returning Gifts (回礼) and Delivering Dowry (送嫁妆)
The bride's family will accept the gifts and return part of the bride price and gifts so as not to present a picture of "trading off" their daughter. The bridal cakes will be distributed to relatives and friends, as a way of notifying them of the impending marriage.

The bride's family will also send the dowry to the groom's home with much fanfare. Dowry items may include new clothes, a chamber pot, filled for the occasion with fruit and strings of coins, and other items necessary for a wife to keep house with.

Modern brides may choose to have household appliances, clothing, and other practical items as dowry instead. Just remember to stick the "Double Happiness (喜喜)" sticker on all items.

The items to be returned (回礼)
* 2 bottles of honey or sweet syrup in exchange for the liquors
* A portion of the bride price (娉金)
* A portion of wedding biscuits /cakes (喜饼)
* A portion of the pig trotters
* 2 phoenix candles (凤烛) --> The bride will will keep the dragon candles (龙烛)

The recommended list of items for dowry (嫁妆)
* Pants for groom
* Ang pows for groom's parents and unmarried siblings
* Ang pow for match maker (if any)
* Towels wrapped up as presents for groom's parents, grandparents and aunties
* 2 lamps (either battery operated or electrically operated) --> to be lighted on wedding day in groom & bride’s bedroom
* A set of bedsheet to be used for an chuang (安床)
* Comforter set, blankets, pillows, bolsters (tie together using red ribbon)
* A new set of pyjamas for the bride
* Xi 喜喜 stickers (include 2 big ones to paste master bedroom door and main wooden door)
* Sweet food items like longans, red dates, lotus seeds, rock sugar
* Variety of gold jewellery in a box for bride --> to show to the in-laws, then bride keep after actual day
* Items for the wife to keep house with
  • Baby bath pail
  • Face basin
  • Ruler
  • 1 pair of fans (Not for Hainanese custom)
  • 1 pair of home slippers (Not for Hainanese & Cantonese custom)
  • Spittoon (Nowadays potty is used)
  • 1 Sewing Box with 6/8/12 rolls of threads + needles + scissors
  • Mirror, comb
  • Mouth rinse container

You can get your 过大礼 items from

Shuang Xi Le

Related Topics
Modern twist to notable 过大礼 customs