The Traditional Chinese Wedding Qun Kua


Timeless and elegant, the traditional chinese wedding kua is a popular choice amongst couples these days. In this article we tackle everything you need to know about this traditional garment – the significance, how to dress in one and where to shop.

What is the Traditional Chinese Qun Kua (裙褂)?

The traditional Chinese wedding ceremonial garb is known as the Qun Kua (裙褂). Unlike the white bridal gown, which follows fashion trends, the Chinese Qun Kua is timeless.

The Qun Kua is a two-piece jacket and skirt combo that is commonly found in red.Historically, it is made with silk but modern ukase are made with acetate satin to retain the red lustre over time. The Qun Kua (裙褂) is heavily adorned with gold and thread embroidered auspicious motifs symbolising blessings for the couple.

LEARN MORE: The Different Types of Traditional Chinese Bridal Wear

Qun Kua Designs and Cultural Significance

The motif of a dragon and phoenix are essential to the traditionalist as the former represent masculinity and the latter feminine beauty. Both are required to symbolise the perfect union (Yin and Yang 阴阳). Other motifs like bats, clouds, goldfish, ducks and peonies are also auspicious symbols commonly seen on the Qun Kua.

There are distinct features between the kua. The Dragon Phoenix Kua (龍鳳褂) was historically worn by the first wives. It has a zipped jacket with a looser fit and a straight skirt. The Xiao Fengxian Kua (小鳳仙) has a more tapered waist and an A-line skirt was historically worn by concubines and mistresses. In modern times, these rules are less austere. Both sleeves are three quarter lengths to display the gold bangles that would traditionally be gifted to the bride by her family and in-laws. The loose skirt symbolises fertility which is why it cannot be substituted with a trouser.

The hem of the jacket is usually straight, symbolising a stable marriage, although occasionally one may spot a scalloped hem. To avoid bad luck, the outfit does not have pockets.

LEARN MORE: Understanding The Variations in Chinese Qun Kua

Photography theweddingnotebookcom
Dragon Phoenix Kua (龍鳳褂) | Source: Mint and Blush Rustic Garden Wedding in Cameron Highlands
Xiao Fengxian Kua (小鳳仙) Source: Chien Wei and Wun Han’s Enchanted Wedding at Saujana KL

Why You Should Wear a Qun Kua?

The Qun Kua is not to be confused with the QiPao (旗袍), known also as Cheongsam. The Qun Kua can only be worn by a bride during a wedding whilst the Qipao is a figure hugging one-piece that can be worn anytime. The designs of the Qipao can be unorthodox but the designs on the Qun Kua is non-malleable. Because of this, more modern brides are leaning towards the Qun Kua due to its austerity and rich heritage, an homage to their Chinese culture. Since the Kua has such rich traditions, many brides wear it during the Chinese Tea ceremony. The skirt is loose which makes it easier to kneel during the ceremony. The cutting is more forgiving and fits most body type and size well.

What Do I Need To Know When Shopping For A Qun Kua?

You’re probably wondering if this section is even necessary. Superstition mandates that when trying on a Qun Kua, a bride-to be have to try the jacket and skirt separately and avoid putting both on at the same time. She should only wear the complete Qun Kua once on her wedding day to signify that she will only ever be married once. If you’re planning to customise one, remember to shop more than 6 months in advance as the dress-making process is complicated.

How to Wear The Qun Kua?

Photo by Andrew Yep Photographie theweddingnotebookcom
Source<a href=httpstheweddingnotebookcominspirereal weddingsa merry fun time of gatecrashing games at a wedding in melaka> A Merry Fun Time of Gatecrashing Games<a>

As modern sensibilities continue to influence wedding traditions, the adaptation of Qun Kwa styles reflects a balance between respect for heritage and a desire for personal expression. Brides today have the freedom to choose or adapt these styles in ways that honour their past while celebrating their individuality and the unique journey they are about to embark upon with their partners.

To complete the look, the bride should prepare accessories to accompany her outfit. Here is a checklist on the necessary items to make ready before the big day. The wearing of this traditional attire also involves intricate rituals and etiquette, ensuring the bride not only looks resplendent but is also steeped in cultural significance.

LEARN MORE: How To Complete The Chinese Wedding Qun Kua Look – Hair, Accessories and Shoes?

Where To Shop

Ready to embrace the traditional Chinese wedding custom? Planning to rent a kua or make a purchase? Read on where to shop for you and your groom next.

READ NEXT: 9 Places to Buy or Rent Your Chinese Wedding Kua

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