Singaporebrides | Weddings 101

April 2023

9 Well-Loved Wedding Traditions in Singapore To Include Into Your Big Day

Incorporate these well-loved wedding traditions into your big day to add meaning and fun to your celebration!

Wedding traditions are important because they not only honour and celebrate a newlywed’s love and union, it also pays tribute to their heritage and family. It connects them to their past, present and future, and creates a memorable and meaningful experience for the couple and their loved ones.

Wedding traditions are also often steeped in symbolism and meaning, and including them into the celebration is akin to blessing your union with prosperity, love, fertility and harmony. Here, we’ve put together a list of nine well-loved wedding traditions that are practiced by Singaporean couples for you to include into your big day.

1. The Chinese Tea Ceremony

Arguably the most important wedding tradition in the Chinese culture, the Chinese tea ceremony is all about respect, honour, gratitude, acceptance and blessings. This is where you’ll be formally introduced to both sides of your family and pay your respects to your elders. A specially brewed sweetened tea containing dates and longan is served during the ceremony, symbolising fertility and a harmonious marriage. Younger relatives will also pay their respect and send good wishes to you during the ceremony, acknowledging you into their family.

Wenjin and Bay’s Beautiful Wedding at Andaz Singapore by Liangzuo Studio

2. The Hair Combing Ceremony

The hair combing ceremony, or 梳头, is an age-old Chinese wedding tradition that represents the coming-of-age of the soon-to-be-wed couple. This important ritual is also extremely meaningful to your parents, who will be the ones carrying out the ceremony on the eve of the wedding, as they send you off from your family home to create a family of your own, combing through your hair while reciting an ancient litany of Chinese blessings, just like how their parents did for them when they got married.

3. The Guo Da Li Ceremony

Justina and Yiming’s Cosy Lawn Solemnisation and Wedding at Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore by Mavericks Wedding

Guo Da Li, otherwise known as the Chinese betrothal ceremony, is the formal meeting between both the bride’s and groom’s families. Traditionally, this important meeting is where the groom makes a formal proposal and shows his sincerity in marrying the bride as he seeks the approval and blessing of her family.

Together with a matchmaker, or an elder female relative with good fortune, the groom will present the bride’s family with a variety of gifts that represent fertility and prosperity. In turn, the bride’s family will return half of the gifts as a show of acceptance of his proposal.

Today, this age-old tradition is still practiced by soon-to-be-wed couples to honour their heritage and family, and continues to be passed down the generations as a show of respect to our Chinese roots.

4. The Gatecrash

Traditionally known as 闯门, the gatecrash served as a test of the groom’s sincerity and love, and represented the reluctance of the bride’s family to marry their daughter off. Today, however, most couples include the gatecrash into their wedding for the fun and excitement of it. It is also a great way for the bridesmaids and groomsmen to bond and get to know each other, especially if they have not met before the wedding.

Patricia and Martijn’s Island Luxe Wedding in Khayangan Estate, Bali by Putra Bali Photography

Before the groom can see the bride on the wedding day, he and his groomsmen have to go through a series of “tests” to prove his determination and sincerity to marry and cherish her. The “tests” can range from games to quizzes, and at the end of each challenge, the groom and his groomsmen have to endure the tasting of four requisite favours: sour, sweet, bitter and spicy (酸甜苦辣). These flavours are a symbol of the ups and downs every couple will encounter in their marriage, so it is important for them to get through the tasting successfully for the couple to have a smooth-sailing marriage.

The last hurdle of the gatecrash involves the groom “bribing” the bridesmaids with red packets to gain entry into the bride’s home and room to see her. Once he has successfully endured these “tests”, he is said to have won the approval of the bride’s family.

5. The Flower Girl and Page Boy March-in

Elle and Hafiz’s Contemporary Monochrome Wedding at Anggun by Mastura on Stevens by Huz Weddings

Dressed in adorable outfits and tasked with leading the bridal entourage down the aisle as they scatter flower petals and deliver the wedding rings safely to the groom, there is nothing not to love about the tradition of having flower girls and page boys march down the aisle during a wedding solemnisation.

Besides the cute factor, the inclusion of flower girls and page boys are symbolic in some cultures. Flower girls are believe to bring fertility and good luck to the bride and groom, while page boys are seen as a symbol of strength and protection.

It is also a good way to honour and involve your family by including young children from either or both sides of your family into the wedding proceedings, symbolising a harmonious union between two families.

6. The Exchange of Vows

Nissiel and Paolo’s Magical and Touching Wedding at CHIJMES by Rylz Photography

Whether you choose to write your own vows or recite the traditional “Til death do us part” wedding vows, the exchange of vows is an important wedding tradition that you should include into your big day. As you bare it all publicly in a deeply personal expression of love, commitment and promise to love, honour, cherish, protect and stand by your partner in life, through thick and thin, you are giving your guests an insight into your relationship and love, and your sincerity to do right by it.

7. The First Wedding March-in

During the course of a wedding celebration, the bride and groom walks down the aisle a number of times, but the first wedding march-in is a significant moment for them and their guests. Usually the more formal walk down the aisle as compared to the second or third march-ins, the first march-in marks the beginning of the night’s celebrations as they take their first walk down the aisle as husband and wife under the blessings of their family and friends.

Grace and David’s Dreamy Wedding at The Clifford Pier by Aura Studios

8. The First Dance

Generally considered a Western wedding tradition, the newlyweds’ first dance is quickly becoming a tradition that couples in Singapore are including into their big day.

Whether you have planned a couple’s dance or a group mob dance with your bridal party, the first dance is regarded as a celebration of the couple’s love and commitment to each other, and an expression of their unity. This time-honoured tradition also doubles as a form of entertainment for their guests, and a way for them to give back to show their appreciation for their presence.

9. The Yum Seng Toast

Eunice and Jeremy’s Lively Wedding at Monti at 1-Pavilion by Freddy Wong Photography

The yum seng toast is a tradition unique to weddings in Singapore. This lively toast creates a festive atmosphere as guests raise their glasses and cheer in honour of the newlywed’s happy union, blessing them with a harmonious and fruitful marriage. Often held at the end, the emcee of the night will gather everyone from the VIP table up onto the stage and invite the rest of the guests to join them in a toast to the newlyweds. The yum seng cheers will continue for at least three rounds before it comes to an end, and may continue at the guest tables as the happy couple make their rounds to greet their guests.

Feature image from Shauna and Rainer’s Minimalist and Modern Zen Wedding at Raffles Hotel Singapore by Iki Company

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9 Well-Loved Wedding Traditions in Singapore To Include Into Your Big Day