Selecting the perfect wedding date is one of the most complicated and time-sensitive tasks on a bridal to-do list. From location availability to special occasions to desired season, so many factors play a role in the decision that your original 365 choices quickly dwindle. Snagging your desired weekend wedding date is even tougher.
Chinese couples consult a fortune-teller to help them choose the luckiest wedding date. The 5,000-year tradition is so ingrained in the culture that couples may hasten or postpone their wedding plans to escape an ill-fated day.
Divining Lucky Days Through the Tung Shing
The Chinese Tung Shing divines the best engagement and wedding date to ensure a couple's lifelong happiness, harmony and prosperity. Experts in suan ming (fortune-telling) consult the guide for lucky signs and fortunate omens based on astronomical activities, such as moon phases and tides. They also study the names of the bride and groom as well as the year, month, day and hour of their birthdates, which is referred to as the Four Pillars of Destiny.
The activities and directions outlined in this ancient Farmers' Almanac mark the most auspicious date and two-hour period. The fortune-teller master also reads the couple's faces and palms to choose a huang li (wedding date). Most often, an even-numbered month and date is selected.
The guide also pinpoints the luckiest time to install the bridal bed, an activity carried out by a fortunate woman whose husband, children and grandchildren are all alive.
Avoiding Unlucky Days
The all-knowing almanac reveals days to avoid as well. The 2010 Year of the Tiger, which did not contain a first day of spring, was an unlucky time to get married. The number four symbolizes death, so it is generally rejected as a wedding date. Seven can be a lucky or unlucky number. However, Chinese couples typically avoid the entire month of July when the spirits leave the underworld to visit the living during the Ghost Festivals.
In contrast, 08/08/08 was a widely sought-after wedding day. The number eight, which represents wealth and infinity, is the luckiest numeral in China. Any date that contains nine, which signifies longevity and eternity, is also popular. Numbers two, three, five and six carry positive associations as well.
Certain pairings can change the destiny of a number, such as 28, which symbolizes double prosperity, and 24, which represents the joining of two people and new beginnings.
Choosing a Wedding Date
Since the Year of the Water Dragon represents good fortune, 2012 is an opportune time to have a wedding. The Tung Shing relies on a lunar calendar, so couples actually have until Feb. 9, 2013, to get married during this lucky year.
Couples who are planning a wedding for 2013 or 2014 will have to wait to choose a date until the Tung Shing is printed toward the end of the previous year. Since many Chinese wedding venues require a one-year advance reservation, it is best to select a date as soon as the guide is released. Venues typically charge higher fees for popular auspicious dates.
Extending from Feb. 10, 2013, to Jan. 30, 2014, the Year of the Snake is a blessed time for prosperity. However, the lack of a first day of spring makes this period unlucky for marriage. Deemed a widow year, it is prophesied that husbands who wed during this year will suffer a premature death.
Since the number four represents endings, couples need to carefully choose their 2014 wedding date. However, the Year of the Horse, which extends from Jan. 31, 2014, to Feb. 18, 2015, offers up two first spring dates, which symbolizes fertility.
Laura Lau and Theodora Lau, who are experts in the symbology of Chinese horoscopes, provide an excellent guide to planning a Chinese wedding in Wedding Feng Shui: The Chinese Horoscopes Guide to Planning Your Wedding.