Chinese Wedding Invitation How-tos
Whether you're planning to incorporate Chinese and western traditions into your wedding day or just having a westernized wedding and inviting a mix of Chinese- and English-speaking guests, consider invites written in both languages. Here's how to get them.
Choose Your Words
You'll need to decide what information to include in English and Chinese on your invitations. Traditionally, the groom's name precedes the bride's on a Chinese invitation. You could follow that tradition for your Chinese text, and then use the bride's name first for your English text. If most of your guests are English-speaking, you might want to scale back the Chinese with just your names in Chinese, and have the main text written in English. Or, choose to use separate invitation inserts and have a western ceremony invite written in English, and then a tea ceremony invite written in Chinese.
Piece It Together
If you have a significantly different guest list for your wedding day events (that is, you're inviting a close few to the tea ceremony, and many more to the reception), you could opt for separate inserts for each event. If you go this route, use the main invite for the western ceremony, and the smaller inserts for the tea ceremony, Chinese ceremony, and reception. The only tough part here is that if you're inviting only a small number of guests to the tea ceremony, you'll have to keep track of who gets what insert. When it comes to stuffing envelopes, keep track of multiple guest lists by notating each event next to your guests' names. That way, you won't wind up accidentally leaving out a piece from one invitation or another.
Decide On a Layout
There are several layout options for bilingual invitations. One option is to have the same information in Chinese and English on separate cards. For invites folded in half (length- or width-wise), you can have the Chinese text on one side and the English text on the other. Or, have a dual-fold invite (folded into three sections), with the English text on the wider center panel and the Chinese text on the two outer panels. Why this way? English text is read from left to right and Chinese is usually laid out vertically. Another option is to have both languages side-by-side. You could align the Chinese text to the left and the English to the right, or do the reverse. This could be a good option if you're not including much info, or using separate inserts for the tea ceremony and reception.
Address Them Right
One final consideration is to decide how you will address your Chinese guests and relatives. That is, you may want to address them using their formal Chinese titles. Different characters represent general honorifics; specific titles (for relatives); and also indicate whether an invite is intended for the guest and their spouse, or for the entire family. Check out Chinese-Wedding-Guide.com, which has a family tree-style guide to addressing Chinese titles. Then, talk to your stationer about printing options.
Take a look at our favorite Chinese wedding invitations and other gorgeous wedding details!
-- Kate Wood