Creating the Chinese portion of my invitation proved to be a huge pain in the butt. Neither my DH or I can read Chinese so we had to rely on my MIL to make sure that all of the information was correct. It was a long and tedious process, but we were really happy with the end result. I hope this info will be helpful to future brides facing a similar dilemma.
It reads top to bottom & right to left in a traditional and very formal writing style. This is what I was told about the Chinese characters and what they say:
1. Date of the wedding, both gregorian/solar and Chinese/lunar calendar form.
2. Names of the bride and groom with their birth order listed first. For example: This one says: Oldest Daughter & Only Son. The names themselves can be written in English if desired. I've seen it done both ways.
3. Ceremony location, the bottom portion describes this particular location as a park.
4. Reception or banquet location. The name of the site can be written in English if desired. The text also describes a 10-course Chinese banquet at a seafood restaurant.
5. Names of the bride & groom’s parents. The bottom characters say something along the lines of "hosted by."
6. “Welcome” characters should be larger than the rest.
I know that the start time of the ceremony is in there somewhere, I'm just not sure where. :-)
If you do not have the ability to type in Chinese, there are a couple of options for you. One option is to visit www.njstar.com and download their software. They also have software for writing in Japanese. You will need to have someone who can read the characters to be able to type in the information that is specific to your wedding.
Another option (this is what we ended up doing) is to talk to your friends and family and see if anyone has a Chinese word processing program like MS Word in Chinese. My DH's Uncle was able to type all of the information we needed and send me the text as a PDF file. I was then able to upload it into Adobe Illustrator where I was creating my invitations. I have also been able to simply copy and paste Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean characters directly from a Word .doc into Illustrator, as long as the font I'm using supports the characters. Many of the standard fonts do... like Times New Roman, Trajan Pro, Garamond, etc.
I'm sure there are plenty of places online who will create Chinese text for you for a fee. I didn't want to pay anyone for info I could get from my family, so I haven't done any research there. If anyone has any additional info to add, I'm happy to hear it and add it to this post.