Singaporebrides | Essentials

March 2015

What You Need To Know About The Chinese Betrothal Ceremony, Guo Da Li

When it comes to planning a wedding, searching for a wedding dress, a dream venue or a wedding photographer isn’t all that difficult for the modern bride, especially when she has help from wedding websites, forums and Pinterest. But when it comes to the more traditional parts of a wedding, particularly the Guo Da Li ceremony, things get a little tricky.

To help our brides understand the Guo Da Li ceremony better and prepare for it, we’ve come up with a list of everything you need to know about the Guo Da Li ceremony, including a list of shops that specialise in selling Guo Da Li items.

What Is Guo Da Li (过大礼)?

Guo Da Li Set by The Chinese Wedding Shop

Guo Da Li (过大礼), or the Chinese betrothal ceremony, marks the important formal meeting between both families and symbolises the groom’s sincerity towards marrying the bride and his assurance that she will be well taken care of after marriage. It is part of the traditional Chinese wedding rituals known as the Three Letters, Six Etiquettes (三书六礼), which includes the selection of an auspicious wedding date.

Guo Da Li usually takes place any time between two to four weeks before the wedding. During the betrothal ceremony, the groom and a matchmaker, or an elder female relative with good fortune, will present the bride’s family with a variety of gifts that represent fertility and prosperity. The items used for the Guo Da Li should always come in pairs as a representation of good fortune. A Guo Da Li set usually has:

  • A betrothal basket
  • One pair each of dragon and phoenix candles
  • A red packet bearing the bride price, or ping jin
  • A can of pig trotters or a platter of roast pork
  • Hard liquor or wine
  • Traditional wedding cakes (喜饼)
  • Oranges
  • Jewellery for the bride (四点金)
  • Double happiness stickers
  • A red banner to hang over the door

Different dialect groups will have different items for the Guo Da Li ceremony. The items gifted have to correspond to the bride’s family dialect group. Check against our Guo Da Li List to ensure that you’ve prepared the correct items according to your dialect group.

Hui Li (回礼), or Returning of Gifts

Hui Li Set from Le Knot

To show their acceptance of the marriage and gratitude for the over-generosity of the groom’s family, the bride’s family will reciprocate his generous gesture and share the good fortune by returning a portion of the gifts. This is otherwise known as Hui Li (回礼), the returning of gifts. Check against our Hui Li List to learn what items you need to prepare for this part of the ceremony. The bride’s dowry (嫁妆) will also be presented during the Hui Li to the groom’s family as a symbol of the wealth and prosperity of the bride’s family, and to bless the couple’s marriage with happiness and prosperity. The dowry includes items such as:

  • A tea set for the wedding tea ceremony at the groom’s house
  • A five-piece descendant pail set (baby bathtub, potty, washbasin, tray and mug)
  • New bedsheets and duvet for the bridal bed
  • A set of bed-side lamps
  • A dining set consisting of a pair of chopsticks, spoons, bowls and plates
  • Two pairs of red wooden clogs, wedding slippers or bedroom slippers
  • A sewing basket with an even numbered rolls of colourful thread, a set of needles, pincushion and scissors
  • A set of gold jewellery given by the bride’s parents

Where to Get Your Guo Da Li (过大礼) items?

There are many Guo Da Li shops located island-wide, with the majority of them situated in the Chinatown area. To save you the trouble of googling for all the available Guo Da Li shops, we’ve compiled a list of shops you can go to for your Guo Da Li needs.


1. The Chinese Wedding Shop
#01-12A Jubilee Square 61 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8 Singapore 569814
Contact: 6455 9863


2. The Wedding Chamber
32 New Market Road #02-1082/1106 Singapore 050032 (Beside People’s Park OG)
Contact: 6532 1102
Opening hours: Mon – Sun (10am to 7pm)

3. Tiong Poh
531 Upper Cross Street #02-58 Hong Lim Complex Singapore 050531
Contact: 6533 1407
Opening hours: (Mon-Sat) 10.30am-5pm; (Sun) 1pm-5pm

4. Chop Kwong Mee Chinese Wedding Shop 
Blk 4 Sago Lane # 01-127 Singapore 050004
Contact: 6220 8442

5. Tiao Xiang Wedding N Gift
Blk 335 Smith St #01-77 Chinatown Complex Singapore 050335
Contact: 6224 8848

6. Jia Jia Wedding Items
Blk 335 Smith street #01-226 Chinatown Complex Singapore 050335


7. Golden Happiness
Katong Shopping Centre 865 Mountbatten Road #01-45 Singapore 437844
Contact: 9171 6463 / 9795 8499 / 6345 6988
Opening hours: (Tue-Sun) 12pm-6pm

8. Le Knot
810 Geylang Road City Plaza #05-09A Singapore 409286
Contact: 6844 5803
Opening hours: (Mon-Sat) 12.00pm to 8.00pm; (Sun & PH) 12.00pm to 7.00pm


9. Cheok Keuw Bridal
Blk 506 Jurong West St 52 #01-180 Singapore 640506
Contact: 6566 0311
Opening hours: 12pm-8pm

10. Sin Chye Departmental Store 
144 Upper Bukit Timah Road 01-K3 Beauty World Centre Singapore 588177
Contact: 6469 4653

11. Minah Departmental
140 Upper Bukit Timah Road #01-19 Beauty World Centre Singapore 588177
Contact: 64685870 / 98357956


12. Shuang Xi Le
Square 2 #03-39 10 Sinaran Drive Singapore 307506
Contact: 6397 2018
Opening hours: (Mon-Sat & PH) 11.00am to 9.30pm; (Sun) 12.00pm to 9.30pm

Learn about the history of Xi Bing (喜饼) and its significance in a Guo Da Li ceremony.

Credits: Feature Image by The Wedding Chamber.