I recently came across a website based in Singapore that got me rather frustrated and sad about the state of some Chinese weddings. The site listed the amount of money guests should give to newlyweds depending on the venue and the type of food that will be served. The higher rated hotels warranted a heftier ‘ang pao’ or ‘lai see’ in Cantonese (red packet, which to put in plain English equals money) whereas a buffet meal would decrease the amount – reason being that the guests will have to serve themselves. And to top it off, the day of the week also affects the ang pao rate. What utter nonsense! This warped idea of gifts, in my opinion, defeats the purpose of weddings. The day is meant to be a celebration of unity; not to make sure you’ve got your money’s worth as a guest or to earn enough money to cover the cost of the wedding if you’re the newlyweds.
So point being, when it comes to your wedding, have some pride and don’t ask specifically for cash. At least, don’t state it in your wedding invitation (I received one several years back that stated ‘cash gifts are preferred’). It’s rather distasteful and leaves a sour feeling in the guests’ books.
Photo credit: Home for Brides