Wedding Traditions of Asia

NicoleMaui Photography

Wedding Traditions of Asia

Many wedding traditions in Asia are not known to the outside world as Asia has always been a mysterious continent. However, like many other nations, the rituals of a wedding in Asia are steeped in tradition, both family and in religion. Regardless of which country in Asia you are in, the basic idea of a wedding is for new beginnings and for two to come together and live life as one.


Clothing during the wedding ceremony is very unique in the Chinese tradition. The bride’s wedding dress is usually in red. Red is considered as a good luck color in China and a color that keeps evil spirits away. Often the dress will include the traditional Cheongsam with designs of the Phoenix and Dragon. The Phoenix and Dragon means the balance of power between male and female.

The groom will generally wear a black silk coat that is to be worn over the dragon embroidered robe, which is dark blue. In recent years, the custom for the groom has changed some as the overcoat is often left out of the evening wear. The groom also wears a black hat that is adorned with red tassels.

Other Chinese traditions include:

– At the wedding, the sounds of firecrackers going off are intended to scare away evil spirits.

– A three hour, nine-course meal takes place at the reception.

– A family member generally will serve as the Master of Ceremony at the reception.


In North America, tradition is that the bride and groom say their good-bye’s the night before and then don’t see each other until the next day at the alter. In India, the tradition goes a little further, as the bride and groom to be do not see each other for several days, before reconvening at the alter.

At the ceremony, two traditions give India a unique aspect to it. During the ceremony, it is customary for the bride’s parents to wash the feet of the new couple with water and milk. This symbolizes the purification for their new journey together. In addition, during the ceremony, both the bride and groom hold in their hands oats, rice and green leaves. This signifies good health, wealth and happiness.


The biggest thing to note with an Indonesian wedding is that rarely the guest list is less than a thousand people strong. Despite the amount of guests, the new bride and groom will be sure to greet each and every one of them in a receiving line. The receiving line takes place just prior to the start of the reception, and the reception can not begin until the line is gone.


As for the dressing of the ceremony, it is custom for the bride to be painted as pure white from head-to-toe. This is her way of stating her status of maiden to the gods. Along with that, the bride will wear a headpiece that is covered with ornaments as a way of inviting good luck to the new couple.

In addition to the headpiece, the bride will also wear a white kimono and a white hood. The hood serves as the Japanese version of the veil, but also it is a way to hide from the groom’s mother her “horns of jealousy” as she becomes the head of the family. For the groom, he simply wears a black kimono.

Other wedding ceremony traditions include:

– The families will face each other at the ceremony while the bride and groom exchange their wedding vows.

– Drinking nine cups of sake is often tradition and when completed, the new couple will then be considered united as one.

– The fathers of the new couple are expected to introduce each of the family members.

– At the reception, it is tradition for the bride to change her clothes often. She starts in her wedding kimono, but soon after she will change into a red kimono. Later, she will change again into a western style gown.

– Either prior to or after the wedding ceremony, Goshugi, or money, is expected to be offered by guests to the new couple by being placed in festive envelopes.


Prior to a Korean wedding, custom has it that the couple is to visit a fortune teller, which is known as a kung-hap. The teller looks into their future prior to the wedding to verify that they will live happily ever after. Knowing their future is a happy life together is an important part of the wedding process as the engagement gifts can be very costly. In addition to the kung-hap, the bride-to-be needs to be accepted into the groom’s family through a traditional introduction ceremony.

At the wedding ceremony, it is custom for the groom to formally introduce his wife to his parents. In addition, it is possible that the father of the groom could throw red dates toward his new daughter-in-law. This is thought to bring her good luck in fertility.