Guo Da Li – The Chinese Traditional Betrothal Gift Guide

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The only guide you’ll need – everything you need to know about Guo Da Li. Plus, how to plan one (FREE downloadable checklist) and where to shop.

Credit: Co Moments

Guò Dà Lǐ (过大礼) or the Chinese betrothal ceremony is the official proposal ceremony in Chinese customs. It Involves the gifting of betrothal gifts from the groom to the bride’s family as a sign of his sincerity and towards marrying the bride and his assurance that she will be well taken care of after marriage. Read on to learn more and download the FREE checklist below.

Is This Custom Still Practiced?

This custom is still widely observed by most Chinese families and it remains an important step of the pre-wedding rituals. Most elderly would insist on keeping the tradition as it is a necessary step of assurance for the parents of the bride before marrying her off, so to speak.

When Does the Guo Da Li Usually Take Place? 

Ideally, Guo Da li should take place between 2 – 4 weeks before your actual wedding day. Like any other rituals, an auspicious date and time is chosen, and agreed upon between both families. 

What Happens During the Guo Da Li? 

During the appointed date, the groom, accompanied by a few elders from his family with good fortune (福气 fú qi) who will present the betrothal gifts to the bride’s family. Pictures will be taken and the groom and his entourage offered light refreshments. 

What Happens after Guo Da Li?

Following the Guo Da Li, is the Hui Li (回礼) ceremony. Hui Li (回礼) – means gifts in return. In ancient times, these two ceremonies were held on separate dates. However, in modern times, the Hui Li ritual is carried out on the same day. This is where the bride’s family return a portion of the gifts (except wine and red packet) to the groom’s family, as a sign of good faith that a good relationship between the two families will be maintained.

What is Included in Hui Li?

  • 20-50% of the betrothal gifts, the amount varies and depends on the what was previously agreed upon by both families. 
  • Bride’s dowry items, which includes a number of personal household items for the newlyweds 
  • A set of ceremonial teaware and gold wedding jewellery for the bride – to be used during the Chinese tea ceremony

Gifts to Prepare For the Guo Da Li and What They Symbolise

This is a guide of the common gifts included in Guo Da Li ceremony and their symbolism. However, both families would have agreed on a list of common items which may or may not include additional gifts that may be of certain significance to the bride’s family. Also included to download for FREE is The Wedding Notebook’s betrothal gift shopping checklist based on your family’s dialect groups below.

Common Betrothal Gifts And What They Symbolise

Diaper money (洗屎喜包 Xǐ shǐ xǐ bāo)Token of appreciation to the bride’s parents for having raised her
Bride’s Jewellery 4 pieces of gold jewellery, – 四点金 sì diǎn jīn, gold necklace, bracelet, ring and pair of earrings (commonly practiced by Teochews)
Gold Phoenix and Dragon bangle – practiced by other dialects
Rice Candy (大米糖 Dà mǐ táng)symbolises prosperity
Black Moss (发菜 Fā cài)symbolises striking it rich
Oranges (橘子 Jú zi)symbolises good luck
Charcoal (旺炭 Wàng tàn)symbolises a good future for the bride after marriage
A pair of coconuts (椰子 Yē zi)symbolises a fruitful future resulting in many generations (有爷有子 Yǒu yé yǒu zǐ)
Tea leaves (茶叶 Chá yè)Symbolises growth
White sesame seeds (白芝麻 Bái zhī ma)Symbolises growth
Peanut & sesame candy (花生芝麻糖 Huā shēng zhī ma táng)Symbolise the soon-coming of offsprings
Common betrothal gifts and what they symbolise

Download Betrothal Checklist – Hokkien Bride

Download Betrothal Checklist – Teochew Bride

Download Betrothal Checklist – Cantonese Bride

Download Betrothal Checklist – Hakka Bride

Where To Shop For Traditional Betrothal Items?

Liang Yuan

LIANG YUAN (良缘) have a whole team of professional Chinese wedding consultants, ready to assist couples with traditional wedding customs, procedures and planning, in order to perfect the art of observing tradition and customs. They also offer Guo Da Li packages that comes with free consultation.

Location | Lot No. E-G-8 & E-1-8, Pusat Komersial Jalan Kuching, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Opening Hours | Mon-Fri : 11am-6pm (Closed on Wed and PH), Sat-Sun : 11am-5pm

Contact | 6012 431 5769

Easy Wedding Shop

Location | 17M, Jalan Manis 7, Taman Segar, 56100, Kuala Lumpur

Opening Hours | Daily 10.30am-6pm (Closed on Tuesday & Friday)

Contact | 6012 252 2773

SS2U Wedding

Location | Mezzanine floor, No 57, Jalan SS 2/64, 47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Opening Hours | Daily 10am-8pm

Contact | 6012 396 5303

Double Happiness Wedding

Location | Kulai, Johor

Love Creation

Location | Johor

Big Day Wedding & Celebrations

Location | 163, Jalan Sutera Taman Sentosa 80150 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

Opening Hours | Daily 10.30am-7.30pm

Contact | 6016 565 6878

Souly

Carefully designed betrothal gift sets in Chinese vintage-modern style gives a touch of nostalgia with a contemporary feel. Beautiful to look at and ready to purchase for Klang Valley folks.

Wishful

WISHFUL Betrothal Gift Boxes are curated with this special tradition and our modern couples in mind, featuring a unique Chinese vintage packaging design with quality Betrothal gift contents to honour the Chinese tradition and culture. Each box comes with a customised Thank You card from the couple to be given to families and relatives, and complete with a functional handle for ease of handling and overall convenience.

Contact | 6012 733 1246

A Little Thing

These betrothal gift boxes are simple, clean and functional. Each gift boxes come with a hand-crafted note and the best thing? They can be shipped anywhere in the world.

Contact | 6019 475 9318

Golden Wedding Store

Location | No.1 (1st & 2nd Floor) Jalan Temenggung 11/9, 43200 Bandar Mahkota Cheras, Selangor.

Branch | 02-13, CENTROZ, No. 1, Jalan Op 1/3, Pusat Perdagangan One Puchong, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47170 Puchong, Selangor.

Opening Hours | Daily 9am-7pm

Contact | 017-8894312 / 014-9144113

UP NEXT: THE CHINESE WEDDING TEA CEREMONY EXPLAINED

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