Our photography team has captured a number of beautiful tea ceremony presentations throughout the years. We understand the importance of incorporating traditional aspects, like the tea ceremony, into the wedding day. Starting from early in the process, we will talk with you about the types of traditions you may want to building to your wedding celebration, to honor your heritage. Then, as we build out your photography timeline, we will make adjustments and recommendations based around the cultural practices that will be observed. This way, we are able to provide the coverage you are after, and the day will run right on schedule.
Tea Ceremony Traditions
Even in modern Chinese weddings, the couple often chooses to hold a tea ceremony to honor the family. This longstanding custom was created to show respect for the family, and to recognize the parents in front of the wedding attendees. Traditional tea ceremonies were centered primarily on the groom’s family. However, many couples of today prefer to commemorate both sides equally. We are happy to honor whatever your chosen practice is.
During the tea ceremony, typically, the groom stands on the right. The bride is on the left, while the parents sit on chairs. In this position, parents wait for the wedding couple to kneel and serve the tea. Parents are served first, followed by grandparents, then uncles and aunts, and finally elder siblings. There are customary ways to serve, hold, and drink the tea, each of which has meaning to the family. Often, the kind of tea used also has special significance.
After the tea is finished, gifts are bestowed upon the wedding couple as a gesture of appreciation. This is where the "red envelope" comes into practice, which can be filled with money, checks, or other forms of currency. Some families also present jewelry as a gift, which the wedding couple wears right away.
Photography For Your Ceremony
As your San Diego wedding photographers, it is helpful to know who will be involved in the tea ceremony. For example, if you fill us in on the parents’ names, and their specific roles, we will have a better understanding of how to photograph the event. For example, if you have booked two photographers at your wedding, we may have one photographer stand with each side of the family, capturing the faces of the participants. Or we may have one photographer standing close by, and the other moving about and getting coverage of the room. This way, we are able to preserve the crowd reactions. This often results in some of the most memorable photos of the wedding day.
We don’t just capture the people during a tea ceremony. The details matter too! Our creative photographers will take time to photograph the gaiwan or teapot in a stylized and artistic way. We know that each subtle gesture during a tea ceremony may be important in some way, so we photograph continuously during this time. As a result, you will have a lot of coverage of your tea ceremony. You never know which photo you will cherish most, and which you will want to hang in your home as newlyweds. So you will be seeing a lot of photos from us!
Honoring Your Wedding Traditions
It is not only Chinese families that have wedding tea ceremonies. There are also Vietnamese tea ceremonies, and ceremonies from many other Asian heritages. Even couples from two different cultures, or Western couples may adopt a tea ceremony into the wedding festivities.
We know that all tea ceremonies are different, and that yours may not be strictly by the book. If you have specific nuances or re-interpretations of your tea ceremony that we may not be as familiar with, please share! We love to learn. The more we know about the cultural traditions that are most meaningful to you, the better prepared we will be as photographers. It also gives us a way to get to know each other by learning what symbols of your heritage hold a special place in your heart. We will always honor and uphold your wedding traditions, taking great care to be respectful and unobtrusive. If there is anything we need to know in advance, please fill us in!
Our Wedding Photography Team
On this page, you will see examples of San Diego wedding tea ceremony images photographed by our team. These photos may help to serve as inspiration for your own upcoming wedding. If you look at the Full Weddings, you will see how the tea ceremony fit into the events of the wedding day. This may help give some context, especially if you plan on incorporating multiple traditional practices throughout the day.
If you have any questions about photography for your tea ceremony, or any questions at all, please don't hesitate to ask! Our experienced team of San Diego photography professionals is here to help.