Planning a wedding infused with traditional events such as the Guo Da Li ceremony is not an easy feat for any modern bride. Oftentimes, our Asian heritage gets passed down through conversations with our family.
But remembering what to do or the purpose of it can be daunting! Don’t worry, we got you! Here is where this insider guide comes in on what you need to know when planning your Guo Da Li ceremony.
So what is Guo Da Li (过大礼)?
Guo Da Li is a Chinese betrothal ceremony practised among the four main Chinese dialect groups in Singapore - Hakka, Teochew, Cantonese and Hokkien.
This ceremony celebrates the custom of the groom’s family showering the bride’s family with betrothal gifts, symbolising the groom’s sincerity in marrying his bride and his assurance that she will be well taken care of.
The gifts the bride will receive represent fertility and prosperity, the desirable factors for the making of a happy marriage. Accompanying the groom in his task will either be a matchmaker or a recommended relative.
Guo Da Li Ceremony: Your Questions, Answered.
1. When should the ceremony happen?
According to traditions, you need to pick an auspicious time and date in the lunar calendar for your Guo Da Li ceremony. While deciding on the date, you will need to check in with parents on both the bride and groom sides to ensure their availability too.
2. Who attends the ceremony?
The attendants will be the newlyweds, the bride’s parents, the groom’s parents, and a matchmaker or a senior relative who has good knowledge and fortune to aid in conducting the event.
3. What do I need to prepare for the ceremony?
It truly depends on your dialect group. There are variations of what a Hokkien bride needs to put together as compared to being a Cantonese bride. Besides the dialect group, the items for the ceremony should come in pairs as it is a representation of good fortune.
We gathered a list for you according to the different dialect you may be from!
4. How much Pin Jin (聘金) should I give or return?
Pin Jin refers to the bride’s price offered by the groom’s family to the bride’s family as a symbol of respect and sincerity.
The groom’s family will present the monetary gift to the bride’s family during the ceremony. Then, the bride’s family will take a small sum from the Pin Jin and return the remaining amount to the groom. This return of Pin Jin represents the gratitude and acceptance of the marriage from the bride’s family.
5. What does the bride need to prepare for the ceremony?
The bride will normally arrange a Dowry for the groom’s family (which is what the bride will be able to keep after the event ends):
- A sewing kit
- A 5-piece descendant pail set (baby bathtub, potty, washbasin, tray, mug)
- Chinese wedding tea set
- A fresh set of bed sheets for the bridal bed
- A dining set consisting of: chopsticks, spoons, bowls, plates etc
- Bedside lamps
- 2 pairs of red wedding slippers (bedroom slippers)
- New clothes, shoes and accessories for the bride (purse filled with angbao)
A bride also needs to prepare a gift for the Groom and his family:
- Watch, belt, wallet (containing ang bao)
- 2 bottles of orange juice or syrup
- Huat Kueh
- A ruler
- A red umbrella
- 5 elements of seed
6. What does the groom need to prepare for the ceremony?
Usually, this is what the groom’s side needs to arrange for their Guo Da Li set:
- A betrothal basket
- A pair of Dragon and Phoenix candles
- A platter of roasted pork or a can of pig trotters
- Spirits or wine
- Traditional wedding cakes
- 8 oranges
- Double Happiness (囍) decorative stickers
- A vibrant red banner to hang over the door
- Si Dian Jin set for the Bride
7. What is Si Dian Jin (四点金)?
A cherished tradition from olden times, Si Dian Jin was practised when the houses in the Teochew provinces had 4 curved rooftops that looked like the umbrella-shaped mandarin character, “Jin.”
Si Dian Jin is a 4-piece betrothal jewellery set given to the bride by the groom’s mother, symbolising welcoming her into a new family, promising that she will always be taken care of and have a roof over her head. Want to read more about this unique tradition - click here.
In recent years, modern brides prefer to have a versatile jewellery set that is minimalist yet meaningful at the same time - compared to the olden days when 24K gold jewellery is highly recommended.
This is where we come in again! We thoughtfully design our Si Dian Jin jewellery with the modern brides in mind - for the designs to be versatile and imbued with meaningful stories from our Asian heritage.
Check out our wide variety of designs that will fit any style, personality or occasion, just click here!