One of the many cool things about being a traveling photographer is experiencing little snapshots of other cultures. I had the privilege of flying out to Baltimore, MD to shoot three days of celebration leading up to the marriage of Michael and Rachael Wong. The day I arrived, I photographed a traditional tea ceremony. Since the bride was adopted by American parents, there was a wonderful mixture of cultures and traditions. I’ve taken a little bit of information about the tea ceremony from this website (http://www.chinabridal.com/etiquette/tea.htm) so that I can give you accurate insight into what goes on at these events
“At traditional Chinese weddings, Tea Ceremony is an equivalent of exchange of vows at a western wedding ceremony… Tea Ceremony is an official ritual to introduce the newlyweds to each other’s family, and it’s a way for newlyweds to show respect and appreciation to their parents.”
Rachael’s aunt’s arrival (below left), who has been battling breast cancer, brought a flood of emotions and marked a huge answer to prayer!
“The newlyweds kneel in front of their parents, serving tea to both sides of parents, as well as elder close relatives. Parents give their words of blessing and gifts to the newlyweds.”
Michael’s grandmother (below right) flew 30 hours all the way from Malaysia to join the celebration!
“Those who receive the tea usually give the bride gifts such as jewelry or Li Shi money wrapped in red envelope.”
“This official ritual is still widely practiced at modern Chinese weddings on the wedding day, either at home or at the reception.”
Once everyone was served their tea, and the bride and groom received all of their gifts, everyone enjoyed the rest of the evening over food and conversation with close friends and family.