This articles was first published by YouTrip and is republished with permission
From the formal proposal to the actual wedding day, Chinese weddings are peppered with traditions and rituals that carry great significance for couples and their families. While an abundance of blessings and well-wishes are always welcomed, the Guo Da Li (过大礼) ceremony can be really confusing to navigate — especially if your families are from different dialect groups or backgrounds. Plus, it doesn’t help that many elements of the ceremony are often passed down via word-of-mouth, therefore, making it dangerously open to anyone’s interpretation or opinion (read: unchecked expectations). Thus, today, we’ll be covering everything you need to know about the Guo Da Li Ceremony to help you mitigate all that potential family drama.
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So…What is Guo Da Li?
Guo Da Li is the Chinese betrothal ceremony that marks the first formal meeting between the families of the bride and groom. Traditionally, the date of the ceremony would be picked during the Liu Li (六礼), when dates are picked out for events from the proposal to the actual wedding day. Suitable dates are calculated based on the ba zi or eight digits of the bride and groom by a Feng Shui master, avoiding inauspicious periods like during the Hungry Ghost Festival and Qing Ming. Here’s how a typical one would play out:
Two To Four Weeks Before The Wedding: The groom would make his way to the bride’s home accompanied by a matchmaker or an elder female relative with gifts to officially ask for the bride’s hand in marriage.
👉🏻 A couple would traditionally only be considered engaged after this ceremony took place
💡 The gifts represent an acknowledgement (and affirmation) of the bride’s family’s efforts in raising their daughter
Rule Of Thumb For Different Dialect Groups: Perishable items should follow the dialect group expectations of the bride’s family, while non-perishables should follow the dialect group expectations of the groom’s family.
💡 If all else fails, while there are differences in gift requirements based on dialect groups, universally-okay items include candles, oranges, pig trotters (or a platter of roast pork), alcohol, jewellery, and traditional wedding cakes.
In case you need a proper checklist, here’s one to keep handy for your ceremony regardless of whether you are Teochew, Hokkien, Hakka or Cantonese:
While there are different shops in Singapore that the items you need for the Guo Da Li ceremony, many of these items can be found online for a lot less. More specifically, here are some of the best-rated non-perishable items on Taobao that you can get shipped right to your doorstep.
|Item||Price (RMB)||Price with YouTrip (SGD)|
|Straw Basket (Teochew)||from 46||from 9.80|
|Red and Black Basket (Hokkien)||from 19||from 4.10|
|Red Packets||from 18||from 3.80|
|Wedding Candles||from 16||from 3.40|
|Double Happiness Stickers||from 56||from 11.90|
|Red Banners||from 11.50||from 2.50|
|Charcoal||from 128||from 27.30|
|Coconuts||from 82||from 17.50|
|Tea Leaves||from 158||from 33.60|
If you’re a little pressed for time and can’t afford to go out to hunt for the perishable items, why not get them online too? Just make sure to use your YouTrip Card when shopping on Shopee or Lazada to enjoy up to 10% cashback on both platforms with YouTrip Perks!
What About Hui Li ?
In exchange for the gifts and to show their acceptance of the proposal, the bride’s family will return the gesture by returning a portion of the gifts and presenting the bride’s dowry or jia zhuang（嫁妆）. This ceremony is known as returning of gifts or the Hui Li（回礼）ceremony. This portion of the ceremony symbolises the acceptance of the proposal and the entrusting of the bride to the groom’s family.
We’ve also found some of the most popular Hui Li item listings on Taobao so that you don’t have to plough through the brick and mortars, or the web, on your own. Check out our Taobao shopping guide to learn the ins and outs of the platform to minimise your effort while maximising your savings!
|Item||Price (RMB)||Price with YouTrip (SGD)|
|Bedsheets & Duvet||from 249||from 53|
|Descendant Pail Set||from 25||from 5.30|
|Bedside Lamps||from 70||from 14.90|
|Red Umbrella||from 20||from 4.30|
|Fate Coins||from 60||from 12.80|
|Tea Ceremony Tea Set||from 26||from 5.50|
|Dining Set||from 178||from 37.90|
|House Slippers||from 27||from 5.80|
|Toothbrush and Toothpaste||from 5.10||from 1.10|
|Sewing Box Set||from 38||from 8.10|
|Ruler||from 6.90||from 1.50|
Make The Most Of These Traditions With YouTrip!
At the end of the day, the wedding and all its festivities are just the beginning of your beautiful journey as a couple. So be sure to have fun and enjoy the process! Planning weddings can be an expensive affair, so remember to use your YouTrip Card for the best exchange rates especially if you’re ordering items online. Check out the YouTrip Perks deals available too – from make-up to shoes, and more, be sure to maximise every cent!
If you are interested in applying for a YouTrip card to enjoy the wholesale exchange rates, use the promo code <DNS5> during registration to receive an additional $5 in your YouTrip account.