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What do Chinese wedding bride wear?

Chinese weddings are steeped in tradition and symbolism, and one of the most important aspects of the wedding is the bride’s attire. The Chinese wedding dress, known as a qipao, is a traditional form-fitting dress that symbolizes the beauty and elegance of the bride on her wedding day. But what is the history and meaning behind the dress, and how has it evolved over time? In this blog post, we will explore the history and cultural significance of the Chinese wedding dress and its modern-day adaptations.

History of the Qipao

The qipao, also known as a cheongsam, is a traditional form-fitting dress that originated in the 1920s in Shanghai. The dress was a fusion of traditional Chinese clothing and western fashion, with a high collar and a form-fitting silhouette that accentuated the curves of the female body.

Initially, the qipao was worn by wealthy and fashionable women in Shanghai as a symbol of modernity and sophistication. However, it soon became popular among all women in China as a form of national dress. In the 1930s and 1940s, the qipao was considered the epitome of Chinese dress and was worn on special occasions such as weddings and important events.

The Symbolism of the Qipao

The color red is symbolic in Chinese culture, symbolizing happiness, prosperity, and good luck. Therefore, the bride traditionally wears a red qipao on her wedding day to symbolize her joy and happiness on this special day. The dress is often intricately embroidered with gold thread, symbolizing wealth and prosperity.

The qipao is also a symbol of the bride’s purity and innocence. The dress is traditionally made with high collars, long sleeves, and a floor-length hemline, symbolizing the modesty and purity of the bride.

Modern-Day Adaptations

While the traditional red qipao is still worn by the bride in some parts of China today, many modern brides opt for a modern white bridal gown for their wedding day. This is especially true for couples who have been influenced by western culture and want to incorporate a more modern look into their wedding.

However, the qipao has still evolved to meet modern-day fashion trends and styles. Today, many designers and fashion houses are creating contemporary versions of the qipao, incorporating modern fabrics, patterns, and designs while still retaining the traditional silhouette and elegance of the dress.

Some modern brides also opt to wear multiple outfits throughout the wedding day, including a traditional red qipao for the tea ceremony and a modern white gown for the wedding ceremony and reception.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Chinese wedding dress is an important part of the country’s rich cultural history and identity. While the qipao has evolved over time, it still remains a symbol of the bride’s beauty, purity, and happiness on her special day. Whether a bride chooses to wear a traditional red qipao or a modern white wedding gown, her dress will always be an important part of her wedding day and a reflection of her personal style and cultural identity.


What is the name of the dress the Chinese bride wears?

In Chinese culture, weddings are considered to be one of the most important events in a person’s life, particularly for the bride. Traditional Chinese weddings always involve the bride wearing a special type of dress that symbolizes beauty and elegance, the cheongsam or qipao.

The cheongsam or qipao is a form-fitting, one-piece dress that originated in the 17th century during the Qing dynasty in China. It was first worn by the Manchu people, who were the ruling class at that time. The dress was then popularized among other ethnic groups in China and became a symbol of femininity and grace.

At most Chinese weddings, the bride wears a red cheongsam or qipao. Red is a symbolic color in Chinese culture, representing joy, luck, and happiness. The dresses are also elaborately adorned with gold dragon and phoenix symbols, which are considered to be auspicious symbols in Chinese culture.

Brides with backgrounds from Southern China may prefer to wear a two-piece dress named Qun Kwa (裙褂). Qun Kwa is a special type of wedding dress that consists of a long skirt and a jacket. This dress is usually embroidered with elaborate patterns and symbols like dragon and phoenix, representing power, honor, and prosperity.

The Chinese bride wears a specially designed dress known as a cheongsam or qipao at most Chinese weddings. The dress is typically red, adorned with gold dragon and phoenix symbols symbolizing joy, luck, and happiness. For brides with Southern Chinese backgrounds, the preferred dress is a two-piece dress named Qun Kwa (裙褂) that is also adorned with elaborate patterns and symbols. The dresses worn by the Chinese bride represent tradition, history, and cultural significance.

What do the bride and groom wear in a Chinese wedding?

In a traditional Chinese wedding, what the bride and groom wear is highly influenced by the customs and traditions of their respective families. The attire worn by the couple is often determined by the type of ceremony being held, their personal style preferences, and their family’s background.

Typically, it’s the bride who sets the tone for what will be worn by both of them and her dress dictates what the groom will wear as well. If the bride chooses to wear a qipao, a tight-fitting Chinese traditional dress, the groom may opt to wear a cheongsam or a Chinese tunic suit which is also a traditional Chinese outfit for men. The groom may also choose to wear a traditional Ma Gua which is a type of jacket that is shorter in length and features frog buttons on the front.

Alternatively, if the bride chooses to wear a traditional Qun Kwa, the groom may wear a similar traditional outfit called a Tangzhuang. A Tangzhuang is often a long silk jacket paired with a mandarin collar shirt and pants.

However, it is also common to see grooms dressed in western suits regardless of the style of dress worn by the bride. This is because the clothing industries embraced western fashion and suits became a popular alternative for the groom and his groomsmen.

In recent times, there has also been a trend towards incorporating a fusion of Chinese and Western elements into the wedding attire. This can often mean the bride wearing a combination of a traditional white wedding gown and a red qipao and the groom may wear a traditional Chinese outfit paired with a black western suit jacket.

The bride and groom’s attire for a traditional Chinese wedding is usually a reflection of their family’s customs and traditions and the style of the wedding ceremony itself. While some couples opt for full traditional outfits, others may choose to incorporate western-style elements. Regardless of what they wear, the most important thing is to feel comfortable and confident on their special day.

Do brides wear white in China?

In China, brides typically wear a red dress or a qipao, a traditional Chinese dress, during the wedding ceremony. This is because red is considered a lucky and auspicious color in Chinese culture. It is associated with happiness, prosperity, and good fortune. Red is believed to ward off evil spirits and protect the new couple from harm.

However, in recent years, many Chinese brides have started to incorporate Western-style white wedding dresses into their weddings. This is because Western culture has become increasingly popular in China, and many couples want to incorporate elements of both cultures into their wedding celebrations. Some brides may choose to wear a Western-style dress for the ceremony and then change into a red qipao for the reception.

Aside from red and white, Chinese brides may also wear dresses in other colors, such as gold, pink, or beige. Each color represents different meanings and blessings. Gold represents wealth and fortune, while pink is associated with romance and femininity. Beige, on the other hand, symbolizes purity and simplicity.

The choice of wedding dress color is up to the individual bride and groom. While red is still the most popular color for Chinese brides, many are now choosing to incorporate other colors into their wedding ceremonies to reflect their personal style and preferences.