All You Need To Know About Guo Da Li（过大礼）And What To Prepare For It
If you want a Chinese wedding, you’re in for a treat. These weddings are teeming with ancient traditions that bring blessings onto you, your partner, and your marriage. One of these traditions is Guo Da Li, and, like most of the other ceremonies, it’s an oral custom.
Unfortunately, that means you may not know precisely how to prepare for it so that it works. Or so that your ah gong ah ma are completely satisfied.
Read this article to understand more about Guo Da Li, the reasons behind it, and its steps. Psst. We’ll also tell you where to find the best places to shop for Guo Da Li!
What Is Guo Da Li（过大礼）?
Guo Da Li is a formal Chinese engagement ritual. This moment marks the meeting of the bride’s and groom’s family in an official setting.
The groom’s and bride’s families exchange gifts. These are offerings of trustworthiness and commitment to their new family.
Guo Da Li is one of the Three Letters, Six Etiquettes rituals in Chinese traditions. These ceremonies also include choosing the best date for your wedding so that your marriage is blessed with health, prosperity, and luck.
And, of course, lots of babies.
When Does Guo Da Li Usually Happen?
Guo Da Li happens a few weeks before your marriage – between two and four, as a rule of thumb. However, you need to calculate the right time and date for this ceremony. According to Chinese tradition, everything must happen on an auspicious day to ensure your marriage is filled with blessings.
On this selected date, the groom will come to the bride’s place with a matchmaker or an elderly female in his family.
Remember: The seventh month is considered bad luck in Chinese folklore because it’s the Hungry Ghost Month. Make sure your wedding-related rituals don’t fall within this time.
What Are The Steps For A Guo Da Li（过大礼）?
There are six steps to a successful Guo Da Li:
1. Pick your date. You can choose a Feng Shui expert to take into account your Ba Zi compatibility. That way, you can avoid the wrong dates.
2. Make sure both of your parents and female matchmaker are there.
3. Say the right things. Auspicious sayings are a must, so ensure the elderly female matchmaker greets the bride with good wishes of happiness and fertility.
4. The groom offers the bride’s family his gifts, according to their dialect group. These presents are his family’s blessings.
5. The bride’s family returns half the gifts. This part is called Hui Li, and we’ll discuss it below.
6. Closing is where the bride and groom go to the groom’s place with the female matchmaker. Here, the bride-to-be presents her dowry to her future in-laws.
What Do I Need To Prepare For Guo Da Li（过大礼）?
As we’ve said above, Guo Da Li sets vary according to dialect groups. Usually, this set includes:
– Red packet (ang pao) for your pin jin
– Wedding cakes
– Two pairs of dragon and phoenix candles
– Pig trotters or a roast pig
– Two bottles of wine or hard liquor
– Double happiness stickers
– Red banner
Hokkien Guo Da Li includes:
– Black or red straw basket
– Traditional wedding cakes
– Hong Bao (red packet) with your betrothal gift money
– Hong Bao with Diaper money
– 8-12 Mandarin Oranges
– Double Happiness Stickers
– Two pairs of dragon-phoenix candles
– Mother-in-law gift: at least six pig trotter cans or roast pork
– Father-in-law gift: two bottles of hard liquor and wine
– Two sets of banners to hang over the door
– Two coconuts
– Two cans of tea leaves
– Two packets of white sesame seeds
– Rice candy
Cantonese Guo Da Li includes all the things above plus seafood, aka:
– Sea cucumber
– Shark fin
– Dried Prawn
– Dried Oyster
– Dried mushroom
– Dried fish maw
The Teochew Guo Da Li set is like the Hokkien Set plus:
– Lao Ma Gor
The Hakka Guo Da Li is like the Cantonese Set plus:
– Suan Pan Zi
Hui Li (回礼), Or Returning Of Gifts
Hui Li represents the part where the bride’s family returns the groom half of his initial presents. Also, the bride’s family will offer their future in-laws their gifts:
– Two bottles of juice (orange or soft drinks)
– Tea leaves
– Pants, belt, or wallet for the groom
– A shirt for the groom’s father
– Shoes for the groom’s mother
Some sources include the dowry presentation in this part of the Guo Da Li. The bride’s dowry includes essential daily items, such as:
– Tea set
– Five-piece set for future children (bathtub, tray, mug, washbasin, and potty)
– Bedsheets and duvet
– Bedside lamps
– Dining set
– Two pairs of red wooden clogs or slippers
– Sewing basket
– Gold jewellery
What Does The Couple Need To Prepare For The Returning Of Gifts?
The returning of gifts and dowry items vary according to dialect:
Hokkien Hui Li/ Teochew Hui Li:
– Watch, cufflinks, belts, gold ring, or wallet with ang bao
– Two bottles of orange juice or syrup
– Part of the groom’s gifts
– Huat Kueh or Fatt Koh
Cantonese and Hakka Hui Li add one thing to this list:
– Pants or suit
Hokkien Jia Zhuang:
– Furniture (bed, mattress, dressing table)
– Two pairs of slippers
– One sewing box
– One ruler
– Bridal essentials (washbasin, spittoon, toothpaste, toothbrush, face towel set, mug set, descendant pail set)
– Linen cover
– Tea ceremony Jin Cha Set
– Dining set (two bowls, two pairs of spoons, and chopsticks)
– One pair of Prosperity Lamps
– One red umbrella
– Fate Coins
– Lady Fan
– Round comb, red string, and mirror set
Cantonese, Teochew, and Hakka Jia Zhuang are the same as the Hokkien dowry set.
Who Needs To Be Present For Guo Da Li（过大礼）?
The Guo Da Li ceremony should include:
– The groom
– The bride
– The groom’s family
– The bride’s family
– An elderly female relative or matchmaker
Is It A Must To Do Guo Da Li（过大礼）?
Guo Da Li is only a must if you’re a strict follower of Chinese tradition. Brides and grooms of the past would follow these rules precisely, but that doesn’t mean you have to.
Nowadays, families follow this ritual less rigidly and negotiate presents beforehand. They use this opportunity as a way to bring the families closer in a less formal way. Guo Da Li is now primarily an occasion for happiness instead of one of formality and superstition.
3 Places To Shop For All Your Guo Da Li（过大礼）Needs
If you’ve decided to go through with your Guo Da Li, below are three best places to find everything you need:
1. Le Knot
Address: 810 Geylang Road, City Plaza #05-09A Singapore 409286
2. Shuang Xi Le
- Square 2 #03-39 at 10 Sinaran Drive Singapore 307506
- Sun Plaza #01-21 at 30 Sembawang Drive, Singapore 757713
- Ang Mo Kio Central #01-12A Jubilee Square at 61 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8
- Jurong East Central #04-49 JEM at 50 Jurong Gateway
Make Sure To Keep Your Wedding Budget In Check
While it can get really exciting planning for your wedding, do remember not to get carried away!
If certain ceremonies put a strain on your wallet, it might be best to change the option. However, if you need a wedding loan to tide through, you can submit an application with us and let our team source the best wedding loan for you.
The best part? It’s free with no obligations.