Traditionally, lion dances are a way to ward off evil spirits, and a way to bless a marriage so it is long lasting, and happy. So it is only natural that you would want to have one at your wedding. It is a great way to inject some Chinese culture and to entertain your guests. They are loud, high energy, and your guests will not soon forget your wedding.day.
How long are the performances?
This might vary slightly from troupe to troupe, but the normal wedding routine lasts about 15 minutes.
What can I expect?
Depending on the troupe, two or three lions, normally. Sometimes you can pay for more, just ask the group. And you also get the normal compliment of one drum, gongs and cymbals.
How much will this cost me?
On average, I would say about $600. This would cover the percussionists and two lions, normally. I have seen some troupes go up to $800, but generally speaking, they are better trained, and their lions are kept in good condition.
Is there anything else I should think about?
If you have a bit of time, ask if you can watch one of their rehearsals. This will give you a chance to ask any lingering questions you might have. As well as a chance to have a look at the lions. Also, I would recommend contacting the group you intend to hire well in advance of your event to make sure they are available for your wedding. Lion dances are getting increasingly popular, and the best groups get snatched up quickly. Plan on booking about 2 to 3 months ahead of time.
One small warning, some lions are a little messy. There is normally lettuce involved, and it does get thrown around. The troupes will clean up afterwards, but some guests might get a bit surprised at flying bits of salad. And it might be a good idea to check the ceiling height at your venue. I am sure the lions will adapt, but high flying acrobatics are a big part of the show.
I hope this has answered some of your questions. Let me know if there is anything I missed out, or if you have any other questions you might want me to answer!
The lions in picture 1, 3 and 4 are from The Immortals Lion Dance Group in Los Angeles. You can find them here.