According to Chinese tradition, the groom’s family is supposed to prepare a dowry to give to the family of the bride, which consists of various fruits, pastries, and money. To be quite frank, I really didn’t like this idea, and the only reason why we did it because of the Chinese traditions and it really would make my parents happy…. and it did! My dad was super excited and I really have to acknowledge my Fiance for being such a good sport about it. He went the whole 9 yards and it turned out really well.
We actually asked around what stuff we should preparing for the Gor Dai Lai. We went to First Markham Place and there’s a little boutique there that sells all of the Chinese Gor Dai Lai stuff, the lady was super helpful and gave us step by step guidelines how to do the Gor Dai Lai!
Here’s the traditional list:
- Li Shi Money. The amount is determined by the groom’s family, usually contains the number 9, such as $99, $999, etc
- Jewelries, such as gold dragon-phoenix bangle. Two families discuss the design and cost before purchase.
- Two pairs of dragon-phoenix cakes, and certain amount of Chinese and western cakes.
- Dried seafood and mushroom and Fat Cai. Fat Cai is a must as it symbolize fortune and prosperity. Seafood to be presented in four, six or eight items, which include sea cucumber, clam, shrimp, squid, shark fins, etc.
- Three poultries. Two pair of raw chicken, two males and two females; 2 to 4 kilograms of pork, shoulder-cut, meaning “double fly”.
- Fish. Two pair of fish to bring “fish smell”, same pronunciation as “lively air.”
- Coconut. Two pair of coconut, which pronounced as “ye zi”, same as “grandfather and son.”
- Wine or liquor, four bottles together.
- Four Peking Dried Fruits, dragon eyes, leechy, chestnuts, shelled peanuts, contained in a red, wooden decorated box named Tie Box. Other items in the Tie Box include lotus seeds, lily, cypress leaf, sesame, red beans, green beans, red dates, and red string, Li Shi money, dragon-phoenix candles a pair, and red banners one set.
- Raw fruit, certain amount, to indicate “sheng”, a word to express liveliness
- Bin Lang, two pairs.
- Tea, two cans. Tea is planted with seeds. Tea as a gift implies that the family will have more seeds after the wedding.
We bought dragon fruit, oranges, apples for the fruits. We also bought 1lb of mushroom, 1lb of oysters, 1lb of Chinese Herbs for the soup. 2 Bottles of wine, 4 coconuts and 2 lai sees (red pocket money)
So traditionally, when the groom gives these items to my family, the bride’s family will have to split everything in half and give it back to the Groom. Including the money 🙂 So it’s not like the Bride’s family is selling their daughter away…
Even though this whole process was actually really stressful. And may I add, EXPENSIVE. Buying all those are EXPENSIVE!!! It was totally not in our wedding budget. I guess once you are in this whole wedding planning – there’s no backing out now. To be honest, this tradition is not very common here, it’s especially hard when the other side of the family don’t care too much about the traditions. BUT because I feel we’re in the middle of the generation gap, we’re forced to do this tradition and please our parents. SO! We did it, but I must say, it warms my heart to see my parents so happy.
Thanks so much for reading, for those who are also doing the Gor Dai Lai, hopefully you will find it enjoyable.