What To Do With These Chinese Wedding Items After Your Guo Da Li
Singaporebrides | Weddings 101

February 2020

What To Do With These Chinese Wedding Items After Your Guo Da Li

Here are some suggestions on what you can do with some of the items you received during your Guo Da Li ceremony.

The Chinese betrothal ceremony, known as the Guo Da Li (过大礼) ceremony, traditionally marks the formal meeting between both families and symbolises the groom’s sincerity in marrying the bride and his assurance that she will be well taken care of after marriage. During the Guo Da Li ceremony, a variety of gifts are given and exchanged between the bride and groom, and you’ll realise that some items are included for their symbolic meanings instead of their practical use.

And because these items are given as blessings for your marriage, you are not advised to donate, give or dispose of them. Find out what these items are and what you can do with them after your Guo Da Li ceremony here.

1. Coconuts

Amanda and Stephen’s Elegant Chinoiserie Wedding at The St. Regis Singapore by Andri Tei Photography

Given during the Guo Da Li ceremony, coconuts represent having a lot of children and a multi-generational family. In Chinese, coconuts are pronounced as “椰子”, which sounds like “爷子”, meaning grandfather and children.

It is advised not to throw the coconuts out immediately after the ceremony. You can spray water over them from time to time, and if a sprout grows from it, it might mean you’ll have a child soon! After a month or so, you may then throw it out.

2. Thuja Leaves

Jacqueleen and Roy’s Intimate Wedding at Sinfonia Ristorante by Andri Tei Photography

Thuja leaves are part of the bundle of items given during a Guo Da Li, but are usually only used during the hair combing ceremony. Since most Guo Da Li ceremonies happen at least 2-4 weeks before the actual wedding day, the Thuja leaves may not be fresh by the time the hair combing ceremony comes about. You may dispose of the thuja leaves if they start to wither and purchase new ones for your hair combing ceremony. If the dates are not too far apart, keep them in the refrigerator to keep them fresh as long as possible.

After the hair combing ceremony, the bride and groom is advised to keep their Thuja leaves and red string in a red packet, and place it under their pillows for a month. After which, they may throw it away.

3. Tea Leaves

Joymarie and Mackenzie’s Fun, Tropical Bali Wedding by Apel Photography

During your Guo Da Li ceremony, you will receive a packet of tea leaves and sesame seeds. Don’t throw the tea leaves away – you can keep and use them for your tea ceremony on your actual wedding day.

4. Chinese Wedding Pastries

Michelle and William’s Beautiful and Intimate Botanico Wedding by The Beautiful Moment Photography, Juanmoley

Made in many shapes, sizes, taste and form, Chinese wedding pastries, or Xi Bing (喜饼), are given to the bride’s family during the Guo Da Li ceremony. It is symbolic of the groom’s gratitude to the bride’s parents for having raised and taken care of her over the years.

It is usually given away to family and friends, and serves as an announcement of the couple’s marriage. It is believed that the more you share with your friends and family, the more blessings will come for the happy couple.

If you have leftovers after distributing to your family and friends, or if you can’t finish eating them (it is considered taboo for brides to eat their own Xi Bing!), you may set them aside until they grow mould. Mould in Chinese pastries signify affluence, riches and good luck. After that, you may discard them.

5. Five-Piece Descendent Set

Alicia and Ryan’s Heartwarming Cross-Cultural Wedding at Tamarind Hill and Villa Samadhi by Bloc Memoire Photography

The five-piece descendent set gifted by the bride’s family during the Hui Li (回礼) on the day of the Guo Da Li ceremony, which includes a baby bathtub, potty, washbasin, tray and mug, symbolises fertility and offsprings for the happy couple. Traditionally, these items are not to be thrown away after the wedding until your baby is born.

Modern day couples can either can get miniature replicas of these items if they do not wish to purchase full size ones so that they can keep them as keepsakes of their wedding, or repurpose some of these items for their daily needs.


Credits: Feature image from Amanda and Job’s Beautiful Wedding at The Clifford Pier by Louis Gan & Yung Yaw of Munkeat Studios.

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