Exploring The Types of Traditional Chinese Bridal Wear


In traditional Chinese weddings, the bride’s attire is as symbolically rich and varied as the groom’s, reflecting centuries of cultural traditions and aesthetics. Each type of attire not only adds to the beauty of the wedding but also carries deep meanings and wishes for the bride’s future. Here’s an overview of the types of traditional wear commonly chosen by Chinese brides.

Qipao (旗袍) or Cheongsam

Perhaps the most iconic of traditional Chinese dresses, the qipao is a form-fitting gown known for its elegance and the simplicity of its silhouette. Modern qipaos can vary in length, sleeve type, and fabric, but traditional versions often feature exquisite silk brocade with embroidered patterns of flowers, birds, or dragons, symbolising happiness and prosperity.

Best for those:

  • Looking to show of those hard earned curves
  • Wanting to keep things simple

Photo credit: Jasmine A Photography

Qun Kwa (裙褂)

A traditional wedding dress rich in red and often embellished with gold embroidery, the kwa is typically a two-piece attire that includes a long gown and a jacket. It is heavily embroidered with auspicious symbols such as dragons and phoenixes, which represent the balance of male and female power.

Best for those:

  • Wanting to embrace an elegant look
  • With petite frame

Photo credit: Louis Loo

Hanfu (汉服)

The traditional clothing of the Han ethnic majority, Hanfu for brides typically consists of a robe or a set of robes with wide sleeves and a long skirt. For a highly traditional and elaborate wedding, a bride might wear a phoenix crown—a headpiece decorated with phoenix motifs, pearls, and gemstones that matches her robe. This attire is reminiscent of what was worn by royalty and is reserved for the most ceremonial parts of the wedding, such as the tea ceremony.

Best for those:

  • Leaning into a more dramatic look
  • With taller silhouettes

Photo credit: Anson Photography


The recently trending sangit bridal wear is a hybrid between the traditional qipao and Qun Kwa bridal wear with heavy Indochine influences featuring a mandarin colour and sleeveless robe-like outerwear that is often heavily covered in familiar Chinese design motifs related to prosperity and blessings, fitting at the top and flaring out below the waist.

Best for those:

  • Looking for a bespoke outift
  • Searching for a different look while honouring tradition

Photo credit: Adam Ong

Although red dominates as the primary colour due to its association with luck and auspiciousness, modern brides often incorporate other colours and contemporary styles into their wedding attire to express personal taste while honouring tradition.

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