“In this day and age, we tend to get carried away with all the intricacies of the Ting Hun ceremony — the quantity of the gifts, the money we put inside the red envelopes, the extravagance of the jewelry sets and so on. We could go so far as saying that a Ting Hun may very well be a glorified tea ceremony. But to my fiancé and I, these are pitfalls we want to avoid. These gifts are nice to have, but our intention is to formalize the union of our families. It was never about our “status symbol” nor the gifts that were presented, they were really about the traditions that we follow to keep our cultural identity.”
On top of inputs from our immediate families, we generally referred to the little Kan Chiu book from Wawies as our guideline for the event that lists down everything you need to know about the “Ting Hun” ceremony from the list of items you need to include in the giveaway box, the things you need to bring to the ceremony, all the way to how the ceremony should be enacted. It was actually hard to find a good reference online for Ting Hun do’s and don’ts, but here are the traditions we chose to follow:
- “Kwa Dit” or looking for an auspicious date that’s perfect for engagements.
- The items inside the sin-na basket including the two ang paos (the red envelopes are only meant as a formality and is generally returned as normal practice).
- The 6-8 varieties of flowers in the bouquet and on decors.
- The number of jewelries in red boxes with “sang-hee” (double happiness 囍) stickers.
- A dozen of ladies clothes placed in red boxes with “sang-hee” stickers.
- Floral bouquets for the both mothers and grandmothers.
- 2 cakes with each other’s names.
- Walking backwards.
- The exchange of 2 bangles with red thread binding it together, medallion, watch, ring, corsage and boutonnière.
- The serving of tea.
- The eating of noodles.
- The items that should be included in the giveaway baskets (giveaway boxes in my case).
What were your favorite parts about planning your Ting Hun?
I love love love the fresh floral wall that the stylist made. It was worth it and the house smelled like a rose garden. Also, my giveaway ting hun box was a hit, my relatives and friends loved it! I wanted the giveaway box to feel personalized and new, deviating from the usual red paper bag style. I also made it to reflect the design of my gown and that the goodies inside were surprisingly cute and edible!
When everything was ready, I just felt a sense of relief that it is finally happening! And after the ceremony, it finally sunk in that we’re “officially engaged” to each other’s family members.
Florist/Event Stylist: Dave Sandoval | Cake designer: Mannix Pena | Gown designer: Patricia Santos | Makeup artist: MK Qua | Photographer: Randolf Evan | Reception venue: Summer Palace | Tinghun Give-away: High Caliber Trading | Sin-Na Rental with goods inside: New Victory