Flowers, diamond rings, and vowels: all these things are vital when it comes to the traditional American wedding. Because they all symbolize the emotion of love, which American marriages are based on. However in China where love is not the basis of marriage such symbolizations don’t exist and this can be seen in a traditional Chinese wedding.
The differences between Chinese and American weddings are very great. For example, in America we are free to date and choose whom we want to marry based on our standings. But in China there is no dating, marriages are arranged by matchmakers in which paid to match a bride with a groom. It is after the match has been made that the two (male and female) become officially betrothed (). Betrothed means to engage in marriage.
An article on the Chinese Wedding website said pregnant mothers would often make promises that when their babies were born, if they were both boys or girls, they would become brothers or sisters but if one was a boy and the other a girl, they would get married. According to the book Strange Customs Courtship and Marriage there are two different type of betrothal. The first type, which is mentioned above, involves the arranging of marriage at infancy or before birth, among boys and girls of the same age. The second practice is to betroth female infants to grown men who may be old enough to be their father, or even their grand father () . Unlike China where age obviously is not a factor, in America such practice would be considered a crime.
Chinese and American weddings also different in the number of ceremonies they hold. For instance, in America there is one wedding ceremony and a banquet but in China as part of the betrothal there are five ceremonies. The first ceremony includes the exchanging of information about the birth of both children (son and daughter) between families. An astrologer is now consulted to see if compatibility exists between the two and if so the second ceremony begins. The second ceremony is the formal offer of marriage. Through written letters delivered by the matchmaker, from the groom’s father to the bride’s family, marriage is proposed. In the third ceremony the father of the bride replies by giving the matchmaker a letter of expectance (). Unlike Chinese customs, in America males usually askthe females parents for their hand in marriage.