If you are invited to Chinese wedding and you don’t know what the appropriate gift is, we will try to help you. Chinese wedding gifts are red envelopes containing money. The amount of money in the red envelope should be equivalent to the gift you would give at the Western wedding and commonly the amount of money should cover the wedding expenses of the guest. For instance, if the wedding dinner costs $45 per person, then you should give at least $45 in the red envelope. Also, the closer the relationship to the newly wedds, the more money is expected in the red envelope. Casual friends give less money than siblings or parents, while business partners (commonly invited to the wedding) usually give more money in order to strengthen the business partnership.
However, nowadays Chinese weddings are quite infused with Western customs and traditions, so western wedding gifts became more acceptable than a few decades ago. Couples still rarely have a gift registry, so you have to be more careful when selecting the appropriate Chinese wedding gifts. These are some gifts you should definitely avoid giving if you go to the wedding in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
- A clock symbolizes time is running out, so with this gift you send the message that there is the end to the relationship and life.
- A handkerchief symbolizes a farewell greeting and therefore it is inappropriate if you don’t want to end the relationship with the newly wedds.
- A towels are given out at Chinese funerals, so don’t give them if you want to avoid your gift to bring sad memories of death and funeral.
- An umbrella also symbolizes the end of the friendship, even though offering and umbrella in Western world is an innocent and polite gesture.
- Knives, scissors and other sharp objects symbolize the wish to sever a relationship or friendship.
- Cut white flowers and yellow chrysanthemum are given at funerals, so avoid them on the Chinese wedding.
- A green hat symbolizes that a man’s wife is unfaithful. (Turtles are green and they hide heads in the shells.)
- Don’t wrap your presents in black or white, since these colors are used during funeral ceremonies.