The Day of the Chinese Betrothal – Guo Da Li

What Exactly Is This Guo Da Li, or Chinese Betrothal, About?

Guo Da Li is a traditional Chinese betrothal ceremony that marks the official beginning of the marriage process. It involves the exchange of gifts and the formal announcement of the engagement. For every Singaporean Chinese couple out there, your parents would probably love to have this process. The event usually takes place around two to four weeks prior to the actual wedding day.

The Guo Da Li event revolves around the gifting of items that you’d usually never buy. Such as dried red dates and longans, the baby “tam pui“, double happiness stickers and all. A very enterprising dude took this to the next level and set up The Chinese Wedding Shop. At a reasonable mark-up, the shop sells literally everything that you will ever need. Their friendly staff would also guide you on the various steps needed, with an instructional booklet. Fret not, just get everything there.

Tips & Tricks for a Successful Guo Da Li Ceremony

While it may seem like a daunting amount of items to settle, most of the items would have been provisioned if you bought the packages from The Chinese Wedding Shop. Some additional items that I’d advise to self-source:

  • Red weird-looking PJs (i.e. pajamas) from Taobao
  • Red wine or liquor from Shopee
  • Mandarin oranges max 3 days before the ceremony lest they turn moudly
  • Shuang Xi 囍 stickers, slippers, towels etc. from Taobao

It is also important to note that they do have collabs with several pastry shops that do those special wedding cakes. So do count the number of relatives who’d be receiving those cakes, carefully. Best to order extra, they’re quite delicious actually. In fact the ones we chose are very pretty as well.

What to Wear for Guo Da Li?

Be a little smart. Seriously. We’re talking about a dozen oranges, some bottles of liquor, and a whole bunch of baskets/packages of snacks depending on your dialect. Hence you are not going to want to end up in a tuxedo of sorts. While I understand that it is an important day to remember, but I think you won’t regret wearing something that allows for more mobility.

However you decide to wear, do also wear red. As Chinese, this is considered an auspicious event, so just like how you wouldn’t want to wear black on the first day of Lunar New Year, you also should be in bright colors for this day. Orange, red, or yellow, or anything that feels like a big “HUAT AH!” for everyone.

The Day of the Chinese Betrothal Ceremony

While it may seem legitimate that the groom’s parents should also tag along, it is actually not. On this day, only the groom, and a matchmaker should bring the gifts over to the bride’s home. In this day and age, where’d you find a matchmaker? You could in fact bring along an elder woman who’s had more “fortune”, or someone you feel lucky about. I brought my sis along though, mainly because she could help carry stuff.

The process was relatively simple. That’s because the shop provided us with an instructional guide on what to buy, what to pass to whom, and what items were exchanged. Depending on what dialect group you’re from, the packages may defer. Minmin was Teochew while I was Cantonese. Teochew is good, we got gold swag as gifts from our parents.

We took about 30 minutes rearranging and balancing every item we had onto the living room table. Just for this perfect photo. We had a quick lunch, snapped tons of photos, and had to get going for the next part – cake delivery.

Wedding Cakes (喜饼) Delivery

The last bit of this customary usually involves the delivery of those wedding cakes. We had about 6-7 locations to go so there’s no time to waste. Not to mention that we’re unsure if the cakes will make it in shape by the time we deliver. Nevertheless, they look so pretty, and somewhat delicious too!

Special thanks for little sis for tagging along, and keeping a lookout for traffic police while we illegally parked the car while delivering the cakes. Can’t wait for our final moment – the big day of our wedding!

Information About The Chinese Wedding Shop

Address: Blk 214 Bedok North Street 1, #01-169, Singapore 460214
Operating Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily