Every traditional Chinese wedding includes the roles of bridesmaid and best man. Chinese couples, like Western couples, usually choose one or several good friends to be their attendants during their wedding. The bridesmaids and groomsmen have many duties and play an important part in keeping the wedding festivities going, as well as helping and honoring the bride and groom as they get married.
For the most traditional weddings, the bridesmaids and groomsmen must be unmarried. Though, the influence of Western styles on Chinese weddings means that, nowadays, many Chinese couples include married friends or siblings into their wedding parties, as well.
Unlike in the West, where wedding attendants usually tease the bride and groom or make fun of them, Chinese attendants are expected to take up the slack or for the couple. This often involves completing tasks or drinking heavily in place of the bride or groom, which, of course, is always performed in good fun!
Both bridesmaids and groomsmen usually make toasts at the wedding reception, with a short speech about the couple. As well, they are always present in a receiving line to greet the guests as they enter and leave the reception.
Roles of the Best Man/Groomsmen
The best man should stay by the groom’s side all day, starting early in the morning when the groom gets dressed. He accompanies the groom to the bride’s house, where the bridesmaids test the groom by asking him to perform some tasks or answer questions about the bride. If the tasks become physical (such as walking across a plank or carrying a heavy item), the best man will usually step in to carry the groom’s burden.
Later in the day, it is the best man’s responsibility to step in and drink in the groom’s place, should he feel too overwhelmed by the toasting or get drunk early on in the reception. Finally, in the evening, the groomsmen (along with the bridesmaids, family and many guests) will accompany the couple to their bridal chamber and engage in a series of games to tease the couple before their wedding night begins.
Roles of the Maid of Honor/Bridesmaids
Bridesmaids are expected to stay at the bride’s side all day and into the evening, helping her with small tasks and drinking in her place when necessary.
In the early morning, before the wedding, the Maid of Honor will be present to help the bride get dressed and style her hair. Once the groom arrives to pick the bride up, the bridesmaids test the groom with a series of questions and tasks. This test is essential to make sure the groom is fit for the job of husband. The bridesmaids often prepare in advance questions about the bride (such as her favorite color, food, likes and dislikes, etc) and a series of funny activities for the groom to accomplish before he can be allowed into the family home to take the bride to his house.
Later in the day, the bridesmaids should be available to help the bride drink, in case she cannot continue her toasting duties or if she gets drunk too quickly. They should also take part in the bridal chamber teasing, along with the groomsmen, family and guests.