Selecting a Wedding Date The boy's parents selected a wedding date through the art of divination and solicited agreement of the girl's parents.
If both parties didn't object to the date, the girl's party would deliver the bride's dowry to the bridegroom's house at least one day before the wedding ceremony.
Matched Social Status The marriageable age was 20 for males and 16 for females in ancient China, and an ideal standard of marriage was well-matched in social and economic status for the two families.
In the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC-771 BC), the intermarriage between noblemen and commoners was absolutely forbidden by law.
As the first marriage taboo in Chinese history, consanguineous marriage emerged during the middle Neolithic Age, which banned a parent-offspring marriage but allowed the marriage of people of the same generation (such as the brother and sister of a family).
The representative consanguineous marriage was between Fu Xi (one of the Three August Ones and the Five Lords) and Nv Wa, who were blood brother and sister.
Dictates of Parents and Advice of Matchmakers Free love was absolutely banned in ancient China and was widely condemned as an offence to public decency according to the traditional Confucian ethic codes, so it was the task of parents to arrange marriage for their children in order to maintain order of the traditional patriarchal society.
Development of Ancient Chinese Marriage Customs The ancient Chinese marriage customs have gone through five stages over 5,000 years: primitive group marriage stage, consanguineous marriage stage, exogamous marriage stage, antithetic marriage stage and the monogamy marriage stage.Submitting Betrothal Gifts: after the matchmaker informed the girl's parents that the birthdates of the couple-to-be matched, the boy's parents would arrange and submit betrothal gifts to the girl's family with the betrothal letter.Among the submitted gifts, a wild migratory goose was considered the most important one in the Western Zhou (1046 BC-771 BC) and the Han dynasties (206 BC-220) due to it representing steadfast love.Forbidden Marriage between People Bearing the Same Surname The forbidden marriage policy on people bearing the same surname was launched and carried out in the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC-771 BC) to guarantee a clear feudal patriarchal hierarchy and order of inheritance (such as the throne and property).People of the same clan and surname were not allowed to get married in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), especially among members of royalty.The legend went that Shun (one of the Three August Ones and the Five Lords) married Yao's daughters, Ehuang and Nvying, at the same time.