How to Perform a Tea Ceremony
The Setup: Just like a Western wedding ceremony, the general rule is that the might be on bride the left and the groom on the right. Those family members served should sit in chairs facing the couple. If you opt to invite your guests to the ceremony, have them sit in chairs facing your elders or where everyone is able to see what's going on.
(Check with your family - It varies whether you will start with the Groom’s family first OR the Brides. It varies whether you start with the parents first OR the grandparents. Will you kneel at all? In some cases, kneeling is only needed for parents and grandparents – never for family members in the same generation such as older brothers, sisters and cousins).
If a living member of the elder couple is absent, the other will drink on behalf of the absent spouse. However, tea is not poured out for a deceased spouse.
· Its best to have two trays, one for the clean cups and one for the dirty ones.
· Its best to have two tea pots so the tea is still warm for those at the end.
· Don’t fill the cups but fill at half level because they tend to sip rather than drink the whole cup.
· Serve tea with two hands holding the saucer and bow slightly forward (or kneel). Make sure parents don't have to move or stand up to receive it.
· Those receiving the tea should not hold the cup but the saucer as can be hot. It's recommended let everyone know this in advance. The most traditional way is to hold the saucer to move the cup close to your mouth.
Delivery (Two Options – Traditional and Contemporary) Here's an example of how it all works and feel free to merge them all you wish:
The couple carries the tray of tea and cups and places it on a short table in front of them.
The bride kneels on the left side and the groom kneels on the right side
The MC calls for the bride's parents
Bride's parents seated, the father sits on his right side, and the mother sits on her right side
The groom is given one cup of tea and he serves it to the father in law
The groom is given a second up of tea and he serves it to the mother in law
The bride is given one cup of tea and she serves it to her father