过大礼 – “The Big Gift” for Traditional Chinese Wedding

The basket of goodies I brought over to my in-laws
The basket of goodies I brought over to my in-laws

This took place on a lazy Saturday afternoon on 5 June 2010, a week prior to my traditional wedding ceremony with Rachel.

I remember waking up very early to get dressed smartly to impress my in-laws. I also remember checking through the gift basket repeatedly to ensure I got all the required items.

Via Baidu Baike:

过大礼是中国传统嫁娶礼仪之一。订亲过程中最隆重的仪式,约於婚前15至20天进行。男家择定吉日,便携同礼金和多种礼品送到女家。

“The Big Gift” is a traditional Chinese wedding custom. It is the most grand ceremony to take part in the engagement process and takes place between 15 to 20 days prior to the actual wedding. The groom’s family is to select an auspicious date and bring along cash and gifts to present to the bride’s family.

As both my family and Rachel’s family are not too particular about the details, we did not follow the 15 to 20 days rule nor picked an auspicious date. The particular Saturday was chosen because it was one of the only day in a weekend whereby everyone is available – this to us was auspicious enough. 🙂

Me downstairs of Rachel's home - Pardon my stoned expression
Me downstairs of Rachel's home - Pardon my stoned expression
The basket of goodies and hard liquor
The basket of goodies and hard liquor I prepared

What I prepared on my end:
8 giant oranges
Ang pows for my in-laws
2 x Martell Cordon Bleu
20 x wedding cakes (in the form of vouchers)

The basket of goodies I got back
The basket of goodies I got back

What I get in return:
8 giant oranges
Ang pows from my in-laws
A bottle of orange concentrate
8 x wedding cakes (in the form of vouchers)
2 x pair of trousers
1 x new wallet with some cash inside
1 x new watch

Upon reaching Rachel’s house, the gift exchange went quickly and seamlessly. Our parents then sat down and chatted for a while over tea to discuss some details on our traditional Chinese wedding to take place the next week. This concluded the simple ceremony.

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