May 09 2016

Guo Da Li (过大礼) Guide

Guo Da Li can be translated as the “Grand Gift Ceremony”, and marks an important formal meeting between the parents of both the bride and groom. The event takes place two to four weeks before the wedding day.

On this occasion, the parents of both the bride and groom pick an auspicious date for the wedding ceremony. The groom’s family then presents various gifts that represent fertility and prosperity to the bride’s family. Ideally, all gifts should come in even numbers as this represents “good fortune” in the Chinese culture. After this ceremony, the bride and groom are considered officially engaged.
Below are the ceremonial necessities for Hakka, Cantonese, Teochew and Hokkien.


(For Hakka and Cantonese)
Gifts for the Groom to bring over

  •  1 Angbao with Betrothal gift money 聘金 (Typically an amount with 8)
  •  2 pairs of double happiness candles龙凤烛 (2 dragon and 2 phoenix)
  •  Roast pork (Gift for mother-in-law)
  •  Hard liquor or red/ white wine (Gift for father-in-law)
  •  Traditional wedding cakes (For bride’s family to distribute to relatives)
  •  8-12 oranges (Symbolises good luck)
  •  12-16 apples (Symbolises peace)
  •  Seafood (Sea cucumber, abalone, scallop, shark fin, cuttlefish, dried prawn, dried oyster, dried mushroom, dried fish maw)
  •  Black Moss, Fa Cai 发菜 (To strike rich)
  •  1 Gift Box 礼金盒 containing
    •  Jewellery (For the bride)
    •  *Cantonese only* Gold Dragon and Phoenix Bangle 龙凤镯
    •  Dried Longan 龙眼 (Bless with a dragon boy) 早生贵子
    •  Red date 鸿运当头 (To have good fortune)
    •  Lily bulbs 百年好合 (A harmonious union)
    •  Walnut/ peanut 和和气气 ( To have harmony)
    •  Lotus seeds 连连生子 (To have many children)
    •  Dried tangerine 大吉大利 (To have great luck)
    •  Pine tree leaf 长寿 (If bride’s family has grandparents. Symbolized longevity and health, health and vitality for couple),
    •  Dried melon slice 甜甜蜜蜜 (Sweet life together)
  •  A pair of coconuts 有爷有子 (Homophone for Grandfather and Child. To have a family with multi-generation)
  •  Double happiness stickers
  •  Red banner to hang over door
  •  *Hakka only* Suan pan zi 算盘子

Gifts for the Bride’s family to return

  •  Gold ring, or watch, or cufflinks, or belt, or wallet with angbao (For the groom)
  •  2 bottles of orange juice or syrup (For good luck)
  •  Portion of the gift received from groom (Usually half will be returned)
  •  Fatt Koh 发糕 (Symbolize prosperity)
  •  *Cantonese only* Pants or suit 福 (For the groom to have lifelong good fortune)

Dowry from Bride’s family (Groom to bring the items back to the bridal chamber)

  •  Furniture such as bed, mattress or dressing table
  •  1 Sewing machine/Sewing kit (To be bound together)
  •  1 Ruler 子孙尺 (To have many children and grandchildren)
  •  Clothing and accessories for the Bride (To always have things to wear)
    •  Bag/ Purse with angbao inserted
    •  New clothes stuffed with longan
    •  New shoes for the bride
  •  Essentials 子孙三宝 (To symbolise fertility)
    •  Bath Basin
    •  Wash basin
    •  Spittoon
    •  Mug
    •  Towel
    •  Toothpaste
    •  Toothbrush
  •  Linen (Pillow covers and bed sheet)
  •  Tea set (For tea ceremony at groom’s side)
  •  Bowl set
  •  2 pairs of chopsticks 早生贵子 (To have offspring soon)
  •  1 pair of Bedside Lamp 添丁发财 (Symbolises fertility and wealth)
  •  1 red umbrella (To be left in bride’s home for use on wedding day)
  •  Da Yuan Xiao Yuan 大缘小缘 (For setting up matrimonial bed 安床. Place some at 4 corners of the bed and in the bedroom’s cupboards and drawers)
  •  Jewellery (optional)

(Teochew and Hokkien)
Gifts for the Groom to bring over

  •  *Teochew Only * Straw Basket (To carry gifts over)
  •  *Hokkien Only* Black and Red Basket (To carry gifts over)
  •  1 angbao with betrothal gift money 聘金 (Typically an amount with 8)
  •  2 pair of double happiness candles (2 dragon and 2 phoenix full wax candles)
  •  6 (minimum) Pig trotters (Available in cans. Gift for mother-in-law)
  •  Hard liquor or red/white wine (Gift for father-in-law)
  •  Traditional wedding cakes (For bride’s family to distribute to relatives)
  •  8-12 oranges (Symbolises good luck)
  •  12-16 apples (Symbolises peace)
  •  *Teochew Only* Peanut candy (To have offspring soon)
  •  *Teochew Only* Sesame candy (To have many offspring)
  •  *Hokkien Only* Rice candy (For prosperity)
  •  *Teochew Only* Lao Ma Gor 老嫲糕 (A type of wedding pastry. Skip if the bride’s grandma is not around)
  •  *Teochew Only* Banana 连招贵子 (To bring in children )
  •  A pair of coconuts 有爷有子 (Homophone for Grandfather and Child. To have a family with multi-generation)
  •  Charcoal (To symbolise the bride having a good life after marriage)
  •  Black Moss, Fa Cai 发菜 (To strike rich)
  •  Jewellery (For the bride)
  •  1 Gift box 礼金盒 containing:
    •  Jewellery (For the bride)
    •  *Teochew Only* 4 pieces of gold jewelry 四点金 (Ring, earrings, necklace and bangle. Will be given by groom’s parents during tea ceremony but need to be presented during Betrothal Gift Ceremony)
    •  Dried Longan (Bless with a dragon boy)
    •  Red date 鸿运当头 (To have good fortune)
    •  Lily bulbs 百年好合 (A harmonious union)
    •  Walnut/ Peanut 和和气气 ( To have harmony)
    •  Lotus seeds 连连生子 (To have many children)
    •  Dried tangerine 大吉大利 (To have great luck)
    •  Pine tree leaf 长寿 (If bride’s family has grandparents. Symbolized longevity and health, health and vitality for couple),
    •  Dried melon slice 甜甜蜜蜜 ( Sweet life together)
    •  Different grains like red beans, green beans, wheat, soy beans, barley and rice. (To bless the couple to have bountiful harvests)
  •  Double happiness stickers
  •  Red banner to hang over door
  •  2 cans of tea leaves and 2 packets of white sesame seeds (To symbolize seeds growing into trees)

Gifts for the Bride’s family to return

  •  Gold Ring, or watch, or cufflinks, or belt, or wallet with an Ang Bao inserted (For the groom)
  •  2 bottles of orange juice or syrup (For good luck)
  •  Portion of the gift received from groom (Usually half will be returned)
  •  Huat kueh 发糕 (Symbolize prosperity)
    Dowry from Bride’s family ( Groom to bring the items back to the bridal chamber)
  •  Furniture such as bed, mattress or dressing table
  •  1 Sewing machine/Sewing kit (To be bound together)
  •  1 Ruler 得寸进尺 (To have many children and grandchildren)
  •  *Hokkien Only* Sugar Cane 同甘共苦 ( To go through thick and thin together)
  •  Essentials 子孙三宝 ( To symbolize fertility)
    •  Bath Basin
    •  Wash basin
    •  Spittoon
    •  Mug
    •  Towel
    •  Toothpaste
    •  Toothbrush
  •  Linen (Pillow covers and bed sheet)
  •  Tea set (For tea ceremony at groom’s side)
  •  Bowl set
  •  2 pair of Chopstick 早生贵子 (To have off springs soon)
  •  1 pair of Bedside Lamp 添丁发财 (To symbolize fertility and wealth)
  •  1 Red umbrella (To be left in bride’s home for use on wedding day)
  •  Fate coins 大缘小缘 (For setting up matrimonial bed 安床. Place some at 4 corners of the bed, of the room and in cupboards and drawers)
  •  Jewellery (optional)

* Content provided by House of Etiquette and compiled by Topphotography.

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