Cultural Case Studies: Chinese + Asian Tea Ceremonies

The greatest variants for Chinese and Asian Tea Ceremonies occur during weddings for mixed couples, wherein the tea ceremony will be incorporated into the wedding ceremony. Otherwise, for more traditional tea ceremonies, the bride and groom’s families will each host a gathering for tea before the wedding ceremony and invite family members and friends to attend.

Typical Structure

  1. Brewing of Tea (Bridesmaid)
  2. Parents
  3. Grandparents
  4. Uncles/Aunts
  5. Great Uncles/Aunts
  6. Close Family Friends

Notes

Before the Day

  • Discuss the location of the tea ceremony prior to the wedding day.

On the Day

  • Arrange seats for angles on each individual
  • Adjust/add light as needed
  • Groom right, bride left (traditionally)
  • Serving order based on seniority/relationship

Time Allocation

If there are going to be multiple tea ceremonies and outfit changes, make sure the timeline is adequate for full coverage, especially if you’re covering prep for each outfit. Travel time can also add up quickly in densely populated areas. It is not unusual for Chinese wedding coverage to run between 12 and 18 hours.

Know the Culture

There are particular differences within cultures to be aware of when working with people outside of your own culture. For example, people from Taiwan might view themselves differently than people from Hong Kong, especially in a political sense. There is a chance that if you mention you’re covering a Chinese wedding instead of a Taiwanese wedding to someone from Taiwan, he or she may be offended. We note this to remind you to be culturally sensitive and learn what you can about the culture you’re working with.

Angles

If you’re shooting alone and can only get one perspective, it’s usually more important to get an angle that features the people the bride and groom are serving, as opposed to the bride and groom. For coverage with multiple shooters, capture both the bride and groom as well as the guests they’re serving.