Modern society of today can be described as dynamic, multiracial and multicultural. Before the strong dominance of western influences in Asia, Chinese brides got married in a traditional wedding dress called the Qun Kua (群褂), which is a red two-piece top and skirt.
As we all know, in the Chinese culture, the colour red is often associated with the idea which symbolizes luck and happiness for the auspicious occasion. Embellished with colourful threads, pearls, coloured sequins, the Qun Kua is heavily embroidered with a dragon and phoenix down the front. Reflecting on Chinese traditions & culture, the male is often represented by the dragon; while the phoenix symbolizes the female. Having them side by side suggest the perfect harmony & balance of yin and yang of the bride and the groom.
Tradition & Culture
A traditional Qun Kua is designed to be worn fairly loose, it is designed to allow extra space in the arms and waistline to maneuver whilst kneeling and reaching out without any difficulties. For this reason, it is recommended that you opt for a size up if you find yourself in between sizes. Apart from that, the Qun Kua sleeves are specifically designed to be ¾ in length, with the purpose of allowing the bride to showcase jewelry, such as gold bangles.
In the past, the Qun Kua was worn with a red headcloth covering the bride’s face, as the groom was not allowed to view his bride until after the wedding ceremony. Today, most Chinese brides have done away with the red cloth.
Most Chinese brides today prefer and choose to wear Qun Kua for a couple of hours, for the sole purpose of the tea ceremony, as it blends in perfectly with the traditional ceremonial setting. Furthermore, the older generation loves it when they see the younger generation embracing their cultural roots!
Bride Treeny, a new age Bride, paired the Kua top with her white bridal gown. This refreshing combination where East meets West is perfect for brides who are looking to go back to their roots without looking too traditional, as the tulle skirt added a touch of feminine and increased the fun factor.
If you don’t fancy the Qun Kua, there are other options such as the Cheongsam. Tailor-made cheongsams were the epitome of haute couture for Chinese women in the early 1900s. This fitted dress allowed a woman to dress with elegance, grace, and modesty while showing off her figure. Brides today go for the traditional Chinese dress with a modern twist, from incorporating an illusion statement back feature to even having 3-dimensional appliqués details. The Cheongsam is designed to flatter your body shape.
Here are some tips to bear in mind when you are selecting your dress. For the petite small built, avoid going for a boxy cut with shoulder pads and also for long dresses. Instead, opt for brocade, which is a heavy silk fabric to add more form and curves. For brides who has a larger built, opt for softer fabrics such as silk without big contrasting prints, and avoid shoulder pads which would make you look top-heavy. You might also want to get a cheongsam with sleeves to hide excess flesh.
Shades of red and hues of gold evoke a sense of passion and confidence. However if these colours are too loud for your taste, you could go for lucky orient colours such as Sapphire or Emerald for a more conservative yet sophisticated look
Just picture that elegant slender silhouette against dreamy soft lighting and a picturesque backdrop, perfect for your smartly dressed groom. Enhance the look by including some oriental adornments, or having some peony in your bridal bouquet. Not forgetting to complete the bride make up with the perfectly timeless red lipstick.
Fashion trends may fade away with the transition of time, but culture and heritage lay the foundation of our roots. Despite the evolution of time, Chinese traditions and customs, such as the betrothal gift ceremony 过大礼, still play a huge role in weddings today.
All photos from Aiido.com unless otherwise stated.
Top Image: aiido.com
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