At uber photography we have had plenty of experience photographing weddings with tea ceremonies included and we understand that it is an important aspect of your wedding. You can fit this in however you like, it depends how traditional you and your parents are and what their requirements are when it comes to your wedding.
With a Chinese wedding for example the festivities begin at the bride’s house where the groom arrives to ‘bargain’ for the bride. The bridesmaids organise games and challenges. The aim generally is to embarrass the groom and groomsmen and get as much money out of them to allow the groom to enter the house. Following this the traditional tea ceremony takes part with brides parents. Once the tea ceremony is completed including family photos the wedding party then move to the grooms place where the tea ceremony is repeated.
Factoring in the time and distance from the wedding ceremony location, the festivities may start as early as 8 in the morning which means the bride will have to get ready earlier than usual i.e. at 4am.
If there is less of a traditional emphasis, the tea ceremony can be done at the reception venue or straight after the western ceremony. The benefit of this is that it cuts down travel/logistic time and can be done in around an hour.
Some Chinese couples do their tea ceremony on a different day all together, which may or may not have photographer. This is a more a relaxed approach and also leaves more time for formal family photos on the wedding day when things are not as rushed and running to a time schedule.
Tea ceremonies can vary a lot depending on the cultural background, for example Vietnamese weddings have tea ceremonies where a suckling pig is presented (and then eaten!). At Korean weddings the bride and groom get dressed up in traditional Koran outfits for the tea ceremony which always takes place in the evening.