Singaporebrides | Essentials
The Guo Da Li (过大礼) Guide Every Bride Needs For Her Wedding
Ace your Guo Da Li with our comprehensive guide on this age-old Chinese wedding tradition.
With all the available resources around, wedding planning isn’t all too difficult for modern brides. But when it comes to the more traditional aspects of a wedding, things get a little tricky.
Chinese weddings are rife with traditions that are meant to bless the couple and their marriage, such as the Guo Da Li ceremony. As these traditions were passed down mostly by word-of-mouth through the generations, the purpose of these traditions and how to prepare for them may not be clear. To help brides better understand the Guo Da Li ceremony and prepare for it, we’ve put together a guide on everything you need to know about this ancient Chinese wedding tradition for your wedding, including where to find what you need.
What Is Guo Da Li (过大礼)?Image by SingaporeBrides
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.
When Does Guo Da Li (过大礼) Take Place?Jessica and Jun Wen’s Cosy Wedding at Arbora at Faber Peak by Knotties Frame
It 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.
What Do You Need For Guo Da Li (过大礼)?Image by SingaporeBrides
What you need to prepare for your Guo Da Li ceremony will depend on your dialect group. A Hokkien bride’s Guo Da Li ceremony will have a few items that are different from a Cantonese bride’s. But despite your dialect group, the items used for the ceremony should always come in pairs as a representation of good fortune.
A Guo Da Li set typically includes:
- 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)
- Jewellery for the bride (四点金)
- Double happiness stickers
- A red banner to hang over the door
To make sure that you’ve prepared the correct items for your dialect group, save our Guo Da Li list below.
Hui Li (回礼), or Returning of Gifts
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.Angie and Kelvin’s Neon-Lit InterContinental Singapore Wedding by Antelope Studios
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
Save our Hui Li checklist to help you prepare for this important ritual.
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. Chop Kwong Mee Chinese Wedding Shop
Blk 4 Sago Lane # 01-127 Singapore 050004
Contact: 6220 8442
3. Jia Jia Wedding Items
Blk 335 Smith street #01-226 Chinatown Complex Singapore 050335
4. 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)
5. 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
6. Xiang Heng Wedding & Gifts
Blk 335 Smith St #01-75/76 Chinatown Complex Singapore 050335
Contact: 6224 8848
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. Minah Departmental
140 Upper Bukit Timah Road #01-19 Beauty World Centre Singapore 588177
Contact: 64685870 / 98357956 11. Sin Chye Departmental Store
144 Upper Bukit Timah Road 01-K3 Beauty World Centre Singapore 588177
Contact: 6469 4653
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
Credits: Feature Image from Jessica and Jun Wen’s Cosy Wedding at Arbora at Faber Peak by Knotties Frame.