NN Header

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

The Nuptial Series (xxii) - GUO DA LI (Betrothal and Dowry Gifts Exchange)

This is my longest post of The Nuptial Series yet but rest assured that it shall be the most informative as well. From here it comprises contents of betrothal, dowry as well as Bed Setting (an chuang) information as well as suppliers.

It is two weeks to the Wedding and we start to feel the pressure of preparation, having been rather relaxed over the previous months. Today we are looking at Guo Da Li (aka Bethrothal and Dowry Gifts Exchange) which has been simplified to a more casual event today as compared to the past, or other parts of the world. 

I am a Cantonese bride and the groom is Hokkien in dialect. To be honest, we did not really know the exact tradition and requirements so there was a fair bit of research through asking friends and reading other bridal blogs / forums. It seems that everyone’s experience differs anyway, so we decided on the more general requirements. Part of the requirements were already discussed during the Ti Qin (Asking for Hand in Marriage) meeting at Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant between two families.

Requirements of the Groom (general and not in preference of dialect group):-

1. Twelve oranges with tiny red “xi” (happiness) stickers pasted on them (you may get anything between 8-16 oranges)
2. Two bottles of hard liquor or wine - we opted for the latter since I love wines
3. Twelve boxes of traditional wedding cakes for relatives
4. Roast pig or piglet or cans of pig’s trotters – we opted for the former but instead of having it on Guo Da Li, we will reserve it for Actual Day’s morning
5. Si Dian Jin (4 pieces of gold jewelry) – I waived this since I am not Teochew; and his mother has given us a sum of money for the wedding as gift
6. Two pairs of Long Feng (dragon and phoenix) Candles
7. Red packet consisting of Pin Jin (bride price) – amount discussed during the Ti Qin meeting
8. A betrothal basket to contain the above items
9. Red banner to hang over the door
10. Candies (can be peanut candies, rice candies, sesame candies etc depending on dialect)
11. Other fruits such as apples, coconuts, pineapples, banana etc (depending on dialect group)
12. Black charcoal
13. Gift Box (containing jewelry for the bride, red dates, dried longan, lily bulbs, peanuts, walnuts, dried tangerine, lotus seeds, dried lemon slice, pine tree leaf and different grains)

This may totally differ and I see some brides asking for Chinese mushrooms, cans of abalones, black moss fa cai, tea leaves, suan pai zi (Hakka dish) etc.  It is believed that the more luxurious your gifts are, the better your daughter has married.

It is very cute to note that these days, there are these miniature replicas
of the potty, baby bathtub, wash basin, mugs etc - they are usually meant for
those who buy for overseas wedding, but you may also consider these representations.

Requirements of the Bride’s Dowry / Return of Gifts (general and not in preference of any dialect group) :- 
1. Six oranges with the tiny red “xi” (happiness) stickers pasted on them (returning)
2. Two bottles of Orange Juice or Bandung / Cherryade – drinks should be in red or oranges tones 
3. Return of three boxes of traditional wedding cakes for him
4. Part of the roast pig (on Actual Day)
5. One pair of Dragon Phoenix Candles (for us, I am to keep 2 sets of Dragon candles and return him 2 Phoenix ones)
6. Part of the Bride Price (DO NOT use back the same envelope as it would constitute to rejection of dowry)
7. Red packets for nephews / nieces
8. Shoes or angpows for groom’s parents and elder siblings
9. A tea set for the wedding tea ceremony at the groom’s house
10. One 5-piece descendant pail set (baby bathtub, washbasin, potty, tray and mug)
11. New bedsheets and duvet for the bridal bed
12. A set of bedside lamps
13. A dining set comprising chopsticks, spoons, bowls and plates
14. A pair of rinsing mugs
15. A beauty set containing a hand mirror, a pair of toothbrushes, a pair of toothpaste, a pair of shampoos and a pair of towels)
16. Two pairs of footwear (clogs or slippers)
17. A sewing basket with even-numbered spools of colored thread, needles, pincushion and scissors (this signifies that the bride is capable)
18. A set of gold jewelry given by the bride’s parents
19. A luggage
20. Prosperity charcoal
21. Auspicious ruler
22. Unity coins
23. Red lace fan
24. Five Elements Seeds (5 types of grains)
25. A pair of new pyjamas for both
26. A pair of pants or angpow to buy the same for the Groom
27. Red packet for the Matchmaker (he will be bringing along an aunt to act as that)

This may differ and some have returned / gifted other items such as jujubes, chives, ginger, yam, 5 elements seeds (types of grains) etc.  Others pack all their new toiletries for the groom to bring over together as well. In my humble opinion, most of these items are stuff we may never see or use again, so no need to buy very expensive ones.

My unfinished purchases of King Koil pillows, pink bedroom slippers, red packets, baby bathtub, potty, auspicious ruler, 2 bags of prosperity longans, thread needle set, cockery set, stickers, rinsing mugs, unity coins, 5-grains, bedside lamps that look totally like vintage kerosene lamps, and towels.

Some Bridal Shops for consideration :- 
1. **The Chinese Wedding Shop (Ang Mo Kio Jubilee Square #01-12A)
2. The Wedding Chamber (32 New Market Road #02-1082 / 1106)
3. Fu Yuan Wedding Shop (32 New Market Road #02-1158)
4. Amanda’s Dreamweaver (32 New Market Road #02-1030)
5. Tiong Poh (Hong Lim Complex #02-58)
6. Chop Kwong Mee Chinese Wedding Shop (Block 4 Sago Lane #01-127)
7. Xiang HengWedding & Gifts (Chinatown Complex #01-75 / 76)
8. Jia Jia Wedding Items (Chinatown Complex #01-226)
9. **Golden Happiness (Katong Shopping Centre #01-45)
10. **Le Knot (City Plaza #05-09A)
11. Cheok Keuw Bridal (Block 506 Jurong West St. 52 #01-180)
12. Sim Chye Departmental Store (Beauty World Centre #01-K3)
13. Minah Bridal (Beauty World Centre #01-19)
14.  **Shuang Xi Le (Novena Square 2, #03-39)

** denotes shops with online purchase options and / or delivery service.

I had wanted to order from Shuang Xi Le for convenience's sake, since they have everything and their sets are reasonably-priced. Best of all, they would deliver to my doorstep. Then The Mom wanted to shop with me - being the only daughter I didn't want to spoil her fun, so we went hunting in various shops in Chinatown area and settled for Xiang Heng Wedding Shop - owner Mr. Lee was nice and knowledgeable, advising us of items and never hard-selling.  In the end looking at the many items we bought (I also helped The Beau buy his items as well as our Bed Setting items), he gave us a discount with an auspicious figure.

As for where to order the traditional wedding cakes / biscuits, here’s some options for consideration: 
1. Sweetest Moments (http://www.sweetestmoments.com.sg/wedding/guo-da-li-packages.html)
2. Swee Heng Bakery (http://www.sweeheng.com.sg/wedding-cakes.html)
3. Le Café Confectionary and Pastry (http://www.lecafe.com.sg/guo-da-li.html)
4. Pat’s Pastry (http://www.pnfpastry.com/Default.aspx)
5. Out of the Cake Box (http://www.outofthecakebox.com/)
6. Pine’s Garden (http://www.pgcake.com/)
7. iCakes (http://www.icakes.com.sg/)
8. Choz Confectionary (http://www.choz.com.sg/wedding.html)
9. Carousel Moments (https://www.carouselmoments.com/wedding-cake/)
10. Riz Delights (http://www.rizdelights.com/#!wedding-cakes/car7)
11. Gin Thye Cakemaker (http://ginthye.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=25)
12. Thye Moh Chan (http://thyemohchan.com/products_packages.html#packages) – for traditional biscuits 

Most complete the ceremony within a day though there are more traditional couples who do it over the course of 2-3 days, between accepting and returning of gifts. You may also get a fortune teller to “calculate” an auspicious day and time for this ceremony, but generally it takes place around 1-3 weeks before actual wedding day.

Finally, I shall end off with the Bed Setting (An Chuang) items I bought, since I was at the Chinese wedding shop.  Some of these items overlap with the dowry items so just get one will do. The list goes like this:
1. Two bags of prosperity longans (this fruits are actually know as "fu gui fruit  meaning prosperity fruits)
2. Red dates (to denote give birth to baby soon - "zao sheng gui zi")
3. Sweets and candies for a sweet / blissful marriage, of course
4.  Five element seeds
5. Black charcoal
6. Unity coins (there are 8 in the bag. Stick the small ones on top of the larger ones and placed one pair in 4 corners of the bed, beneath the mattress)

That's it for now.  I never pegged myself for the very traditional type, but yes, now I have bought all these items and went through the traditional Guo Da Li ceremony. Counting down to two (2) weeks before the Big Day now.

For the rest of the Nuptial Series:
Part (i)  - The Proposal
Part (ii) - Solemnisation procedure
Part (iii) - Solemnisation venues
Part (iv) - Finding the right photography studios
Part (v) -  Hunting for the suits and gowns
Part (vi) - Bespoke (tailored gown) - Review on Kelly's Bridal
Part (vii) - Pre-wedding photoshoot in Vancouver, Canada
Part (viii) - Pre-wedding photoshoot in Singapore - Loov Production
Part (xii) - Decorating the Wedding Banquet Ballrooms
Part (xiii) - Guest Lists and Inviting the Guests
Part (xiv) - Dowry and Demands Discussion
Part (xv) - Food Tasting for Banquet Dinner Menu
Part (xvi) - Meeting the Solemniser
Part (xvii) - Shopping for the Bridal Shoes 
Part (xviii) - Other Background Preparation
Part (xix) -  Shopping for Wedding Bands
Part (xx) - Wedding Gown Fitting @ French Wedding
Part (xxi) - Bridesmaids aka "Sisters"

No comments:

Post a Comment