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What to Give and Do in Chinese Weddings

The traditional Chinese wedding customs are practiced to bring good luck, happy and fruitful marriage, fertility, and so on. However as a guest, the rules don’t really apply to you unless you are a close relative or going participate in the wedding rituals. Guests are usually invited to the tea ceremony which is a big part of Chinese wedding and the wedding reception.

Rituals: The tea ceremony starts with “Fetching the bride” where the groom and his groomsmen entourage of cars go to the bride’s parents’ house, honking upon arrival. Their task is to “crash the gate” – the brides team (“ji mui” or sisters) barrier. The girls would present some challenges or door games for the boys before opening the door. This is the fun part, for the spectators! Then only will the groom be allowed to go into the bride’s room and pick her up for the tea ceremony. The groom and bride serve tea to the elders addressing them by their formal titles. In return the elders will impart words of marriage wisdom, money in red packets or jewelries to the couple.

Chinese wedding tea ceremony. Tea is served to the elders. Photo by Fabulous Moments.

What to wear: It is not a rule, but usually people wear the most auspicious color, red to the Chinese tea ceremony. The wedding reception is a more modernized affair these days, you can wear any semi-formal, traditional attire or evening gown.

Chinese Symbolism: For Chinese the number 8 and the color red are auspicious, as eight sounds like ‘rich’ and red brings good luck.

Gifts: Money in red packets: Generally, the amount to give depends on how close you are to the bride & groom and the wedding venue, for example 5-star hotel in KL: Mandarin Oriental KL wedding packages 2018: from RM2488 nett per table | Sunway Putra KL wedding packages: from RM1888 nett per table. Others: Extra Super Tanker (The Club) 2018 package: from RM1288 nett per table. HXC Chinese Wedding Banquet Catering 2018: from RM468 nett per pax.

You can also give gifts like perfume, photo frame, jewelries, but it is more common to present monetary gifts, so the couple could use the money on the things that they really need. Wedding celebration is about sharing happiness, no one should judge what or how much one gives.

Forum Discussion Feb 2018:
“at least 100 to 200”
“If hotels like Hilton, easily RM 200 per pax. Min also RM 50.”
“Wedding dinner is about sharing happiness And angpao is a sort of good luck/wishing u all the best. From wat I’m told, during grandma era, most angpao inside are hand written wishes.. They came and gip u wishes, it’s all the matters.”
“Angpow also depends on your “relationship” with the host, depending on how close you are with him/her as well as the location.
i start with 150 for chinese restaurant for not so close friend.
200 for closer friend in chinese restaurant.
250-300 for hotel standard.
2 of my best friend get married? i pao RM1k for each of them (for 2 pax)”
“when you get invited to someone’s wedding, and is pretty close to the bride and/or bridesmaid, you are torn between your commitment as a friend, your financial situation, your own personal problems. It is not you to judge someone is cheapskate based on the angpao they give for your wedding.”

The most popular and auspicious color for the wedding tea ceremony is red or shades of red. Photo by Ethanity Photography
Wedding door games- the groom’s team is given some challenges, weird tasting food, or groom has to make a few promises before he can fetch the bride. Photo by Fabulous Moments Photography.
There is no rule as to what you should wear to a Chinese wedding at a restaurant. Ethnic wear, dress, suit, formal or smart casual attire are acceptable. Photo by Ethanity Photography
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