Food is one of the most important elements of Chinese culture, so it of course plays a crucial role in any traditional Chinese wedding. As the wedding banquet is the time for the parents and families of the bride and groom to celebrate the new marriage and display their wealth and happiness, Chinese wedding feasts are usually lavish and exorbitant.
The following are tips to hosting the perfect wedding banquet:
*The parents, maid of honor and best man should make toasts. Some couples also include games or a tea ceremony.
*The menu should include 8 courses, with a 9th course for dessert. 8 is the luckiest number in Chinese culture and the word for ‘9’ sounds like ‘dragon’.
*After the fifth course, the couple usually meanders from table to table, offering toasts and thanks to their guests. If either cannot drink, one of their attendants should drink for them.
*Start the meal with ‘dragon phoenix plates’: cold appetizers like jellyfish, nuts and sliced meats.
*The second course should be Shark’s Fin Soup, which is a delicacy and a symbol of wealth.
*Include expensive red foods such as Peking duck, lobster, chicken in red oil and red bean foods, for red is the color of happiness.
*Serve all animals and fish in tact with head, tail, etc. This is a sign of the wholeness of marriage.
*Adding a roast suckling pig to your menu is a symbol of virtue and the bride’s purity.
*Other dishes can include fish, which stands for long life, sea cucumber, which represents selflessness and promotes a happy marriage, and pigeons, which stand for peace.
*Dessert, which stands for a sweetness of life, can include red bean soup and sweet lotus buns.
*Offer take-away cartons to your guests. Allowing them to take food home shows that they enjoyed the meal and is a compliment to the couple and their families.
*Around 20 minutes after the last course has been served is the time to escort your guests out. The couple should stand near the exit and thank the guests as they leave. Often, the bride changes her gown one final time before this exit ceremony.