January 24, 2023  •  7min read

Chinese Wedding Invitations Etiquettes You Should Know

Best chinese wedding invitation inspo

There are many things to consider when planning a wedding, an invitation is one of them, and when it comes to Chinese wedding invitations, it can add another level of stress! It might sound great to think about the designs and content of a Chinese-style wedding. 

Also, it will be overwhelming if you’re trying to incorporate different Chinese wedding traditions. 

So, where should you start and what are the etiquettes you need to know? We’ve organized a helpful guide that you can use to help you plan your Chinese-American wedding. 

What Should be Included in a Chinese Wedding Invitation

Chinese invitations wedding

If you’re hosting a Chinese-American wedding, you’ll need to include a few things in your traditional Chinese wedding invitation besides the standard invitation card and RSVP card. Indeed the most noticeable difference between a regular western invitation and a Chinese one is that Chinese invitations are sent in red envelopes. 

The invitation envelopes are embossed with a “double happiness” sign which proudly announces the upcoming wedding. Here are some things that should be included in a Chinese wedding invitation:

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Wedding Cake Cards for the Bride’s Family

Wedding cake cards are crucial in Chinese wedding invitations for the bride’s guests. Wedding cakes were traditionally sent to the bride’s family from the groom’s as part of the engagement gift. 

The more wedding cakes the bride’s family receives, the more it shows that the bride will marry an affluent family. The bride’s family will then offer the wedding cakes to her family and friends to spread happiness. 

Nowadays, physical wedding cakes are usually replaced by wedding cake gift cards so guests can get the cake whenever they want to. These cake gift cards should be sent to the guests and included in the wedding invitation to announce the wedding. 

Red Packets for the Groom’s Family (Optional)

Red packets for the groom’s family

While the bride’s family usually sends invitations, including the wedding cake cards, the groom’s family sends a red packet to their guests. The groom’s family fills this red packet with cash, a gift to the guests. This unique custom came from a Chinese virtue ‘Courtesy demands reciprocity.’ This means that when someone receives kindness from others, they’ll return it. 

In Chinese culture, the guests usually give a red envelope to the couple as a wedding gift. Then, the groom’s family returns some of the money back to the guests. However, the red packers don’t always have to be included in the wedding invitation. The groom’s family can also give them at the reception when guests give the red envelopes.

Creating a Chinese Wedding Invitation Card

When you have a Chinese-American wedding, writing a bilingual wedding invitation is an excellent way to announce your wedding to your guests. However, if you’re unfamiliar with the format of Chinese wedding invitations, it might seem awkward to write in both English and Chinese. 

Here are our tips for writing Chinese-English wedding invitations so you’ll leave a good impression on all your guests. Remember that if your guests are a mix of Chinese and English speakers, writing in Chinese and English ensures they’ll understand the information and feel respected. 

Addressing the Relatives and Guests 

Wedding cake cards

When you’re writing Chinese invitations for your wedding, addressing the guests properly is a crucial step, as it’s likely to be the first thing they’ll notice when receiving the envelope. 

We recommend using honorifics to leave a good impression and show respect to your guests, especially the elders. For example, when you’re addressing your uncle in the invitation, you should add “伯父大人” which means “Uncle” before writing their full name. 

Besides that, the invitation should indicate if you’re inviting their spouse or the entire family. If you’re also inviting their spouse, you should address both their titles, names and relationship. 

For example, “夫妇“ or “伉俪“ means “married couple” but can also be translated as “together.” You can add these to the bilingual invitation to make it seem more natural. If you’re inviting the entire family, you can also add “阖府” which means “whole family” or “all together,” after adding the name of your guest. 

The Information You Should Include

Below is the information you should include in Chinese wedding invitations:

  • The guests’ titles and name
  • The wedding date in Gregorian Calendar and Lunar Calendar
  • Bride and groom’s names
  • The venue of the wedding ceremony and reception address
  • Time of the ceremony and reception
  • The table number (optional)
  • Envelope and RSVP card (optional)

When Should You Send Chinese Wedding Invitations?

Couples or their families can send out wedding invitations as early as right after the Chinese engagement. To make the engagement official, it’s customary for the groom’s family to send betrothal gifts to the bride’s family. You can send them out at least three months before the big day if you need more time to prepare for the invitations. 

Based on a wedding planning site, ZOLA, “save the dates” for most Western-style weddings should be sent 4-6 months before the wedding, and wedding invitations should be sent around 6-8 weeks before the wedding.

However, in Chinese tradition, there aren’t any “save the date” as the wedding invitations are the only thing that announces the wedding to the couple’s friends and families. So if you’re following the Chinese wedding tradition, send the wedding invitations three months before the wedding day. This lets your guests have enough time to make plans. 

How to Send the Wedding Invitations

Traditionally, the couple’s parents should send Chinese wedding invitations to family members. Only invitations to the couple’s friends are sent by the bride and groom.

However, Chinese couples nowadays choose to send invitations by themselves. Giving invitations to guests in person is highly recommended, especially to the family’s elders, to show your respect. However, if your guests live abroad, it is acceptable to send invitations by mail.

Guntur author at Bali Wedding
Guntur has been writing tips and tricks for weddings in Bali since 2020. He has written everything from preparing a pre-wedding in Bali to the best wedding dress and makeup you should choose for a wedding in paradise.

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