Q. Which traditional dishes will appeal to both our Chinese and Western guests' tastes?
A. Serving traditional Chinese dishes is a wonderful way to celebrate your heritage at your reception. And since most Chinese dishes are prepared with Western ingredients in the States, you can be sure to appeal to most guests' tastes. One favorite is Peking duck, a red dish symbolizing joy and happiness. You can serve the duck with lobster too (serving the dish whole, with head and legs still attached, would symbolize completeness). For your side salad, include sea cucumbers, which symbolize harmony and lack of conflict between newlyweds.
Q. As a guest, is there anything special I should bring for the bride and groom?
A. You could bring the couple a lucky red envelope (lai see) with money tucked inside. Traditionally at Chinese weddings the couple is given "lucky money" rather than gifts. If the couple has registered at a few stores, it's perfectly acceptable to purchase a gift for them off their registry in lieu of a red envelope.
Q. What is the meaning behind a lion dance and how can I have one at my wedding?
A. The lion dance dates back 1,000 years to the Ch'in and Han dynasties. The decorative lions, which typically dance and perform acrobatic-like moves to the sounds of drums, gongs, and clashing cymbals, are an expression of joy and happiness. Depending on your style and budget, you could have the dancers perform at the reception or the tea ceremony. You could even have a group of lion dancers escort you, your bridal party, and your guests from the ceremony to the reception site in your own mini parade.
Check out more about Chinese gift giving etiquette!
-- Anja Winikka