Wedding in China

Old May 15, 17, 3:17 pm
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Wedding in China

I have been invited to a wedding in China, Chinese bride, American groom who has lived in China for last 4 years (family member)

Any suggestions on what to wear? Will give them a cash (check) present but would like to also bring a gift for them

There are 2 ceremonies, one in her home town, large metro area but not like Beijing or shanghai etc probably family
And a second in Guilin where they both work, probably friends
They will both be coming to the US in the fall for graduate school

I've been to China 3x but not for any thing like this!
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Old May 15, 17, 6:52 pm
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Chinese brides may wear western white gowns and later change to a red cheongsam... and prehaps another garment change. Photo ops! -- Not sure if "registering wedding gifts" is used in China.

Stationary stores have red envelopes suitable for wedding $ gifting.
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Old May 16, 17, 11:24 am
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I am hoping to get ideas on what I should wear (not the brides outfits)
Thanks for reminding me about red envelopes! I'm a redhead and rarely wear red if that is the usual color guests wear, what other colors? Length of dress? Pants outfit??
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Old May 16, 17, 4:57 pm
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Originally Posted by jerseygirl View Post
I am hoping to get ideas on what I should wear (not the brides outfits)
Thanks for reminding me about red envelopes! I'm a redhead and rarely wear red if that is the usual color guests wear, what other colors? Length of dress? Pants outfit??
Caveat - American Asian here who attends weddings in US.

Short version: Go moderate with the outfit, ask for a rundown on her family members and their positional titles (defer to more formal titles for older generation initial greetings than casual first names), and if needed, practice chopstick skills.

This is fairly accurate about avoiding black, white, red. Nothing too skimpy or revealing.
http://asiaweddingnetwork.com/en/mag...hinese-wedding
Try to avoid floral prints as there are certain connotations and it is probably easier just to avoid them
http://www.theworldofchinese.com/201...ng-of-flowers/

It'd be good to check to see if they have a dress code, or perhaps ask what the couple has worn to friends weddings in China (as they will be expected to reciprocate their invitations). Maybe he has some photos on his phone/social media accounts of such events?

Cash is traditional for Chinese weddings. If you want to give them a gift in addition to cash, it would probably be good to do so outside of the wedding as they may only be collecting red envelopes during the wedding. Your gift could look a little out of place as the lone box (or part of a very small pile) on the table. Something small in size like matching designer leather good accessory (cute monogram key fob, men & women wallets, etc) would probably be appreciated.

To be honest, her family will probably just be curious about the groom's family. You might get compliments if you have red hair + fair skin as fair skin is considered desirable and it is also a generally safe thing to directly/indirectly compliment someone on. They probably will watch to see if you can eat certain things or use chopsticks well if the reception is a Chinese banquet. Chinese banquets often have a few status foods like shark fin, abalone, etc. If you are a picky eater but not allergic, it is polite to eat everything and avoid asking what it is.
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Old May 16, 17, 5:56 pm
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Thanks so much for these explanations. So won't buy gift just money but I had been planning to write check (grandson is groom and our first grandchild) for significant amount. Just put into red envelope??
Bride said no green, so no red black white flowers or green!! I have nice deep purple cocktail dress that fits well but will be comfortable with lots of food! Will wear pearls, ok???
I'm fine with Chinese food, have harder time with Japanese food
My daughter has long blonde hair and his brother and father are also fair. We are also tall- women are 5'8" and men all well over 6' so we will really be very different looking

Groom has lots of pics of other weddings but mostly guys playing games
I now have email for bride so can also ask her some but thanks for your response. If you don't know what to ask you won't get good info.
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Old May 16, 17, 6:05 pm
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Since the couple is coming to the USA, I'd suggest giving money in a red envelope at the wedding and then some household gift item after they're settled in graduate school. When a couple arrives from overseas, there are so many things that they will "need" for their apartment.
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Old May 16, 17, 6:33 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Since the couple is coming to the USA, I'd suggest giving money in a red envelope at the wedding and then some household gift item after they're settled in graduate school. When a couple arrives from overseas, there are so many things that they will "need" for their apartment.
Thanks that's practical and a good idea
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Old May 28, 17, 3:50 pm
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The attire for most Chinese wedding banquets is Business-formal/business cocktail unless stated otherwise. Dressier cocktail and black-tie+ formal dress attire is usually what the bride and the family wears. Nothing overtly sexy and if in doubt, err on the side of conservative. Red and gold are the the bride and groom's colours. The bride may opt to also wear a western wedding dress too for part of the evening with several change of outfits symbolizing dowry. Black for women may or may not be ok depending on how cosmopolitan the family is. If in doubt, ask. Pearls are fine but are generally not seen as a statement/investment piece as they are outside of the Mainland. However, if they compliment your dress, do wear them. Just don't be shocked if some someone makes a tackless comment.

The banquet itself may be either a formal Cantonese service (Russian Service) where each dish is brought out as it is prepared and the service is synchronised with each table or it may be "mainland style" where all the dishes are brought out all at once when they are ready. There might be some grumbling amongst some Mainland guests as some people will claim to be "hungry" during a Cantonese service when they actually mean that they don't like to wait to eat.

+ 1 on the cash gift. Put it in a red envelope and write a short but sweet congratulatory message with your name on the back of the envelope. This is especially important if you are gifting a significant amount.

While the move-in gift would be appreciated, it would be might be best to consider that a housewarming gift rather than part of a wedding gift.

Enjoy your trip.

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Old May 29, 17, 6:10 pm
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Thinking we can get red envelopes in Shanghai where we will be for 2 days at start of trip
?Tackless comment about pearls??? Why? I could wear another necklace
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Old May 31, 17, 3:20 pm
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Originally Posted by jerseygirl View Post
Thinking we can get red envelopes in Shanghai where we will be for 2 days at start of trip
?Tackless comment about pearls??? Why? I could wear another necklace
Most pearls in Mainland China are of the freshwater/brackish variety and are pretty, plentiful and very inexpensive. Depending on where you are and who you meet, knowledge of high-end cultured sea pearls and other rare pearls may be rare. I'm sure the pearls you have are very nice and classy but it may not be perceived the same way a strand of nice pearls are here in the west, Japan or Hong Kong. For example, the Jackie O simple sheath + pearls is seen as dressing down in the Mainland rather than dressing up as it is here. Um, I'm not sure if I'm explaining this properly....

I just reread the part where you mentioned that you're the grandmother?
In that case, go formal as it would be expected of you as part of the wedding party and as the grand matriarch. You would most likely be given a pinned corsage (for some reason they only do pinned corsages in Asia for both male and females) to show that you are directly related to the couple. Pearls are OK as no one would dare say a thing!

When buying red envelopes in Shanghai, make sure you ask for wedding red envelopes and to state that you're the grandmother so that you're given suitably formal envelopes. You'll need a certain number of matching envelopes to divide your cash into for the wedding tea ceremony/ies. The number varies slightly by customs of the families involved so please ask prior to shopping. Your short handwritten message should be on the back of each envelope. The notes should be new so calling ahead to reserve new notes at a bank would be a good idea.

Good luck, have fun and congratulations!
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Old Jun 1, 17, 11:55 am
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Originally Posted by tcl View Post
Most pearls in Mainland China are of the freshwater/brackish variety and are pretty, plentiful and very inexpensive. Depending on where you are and who you meet, knowledge of high-end cultured sea pearls and other rare pearls may be rare. I'm sure the pearls you have are very nice and classy but it may not be perceived the same way a strand of nice pearls are here in the west, Japan or Hong Kong. For example, the Jackie O simple sheath + pearls is seen as dressing down in the Mainland rather than dressing up as it is here. Um, I'm not sure if I'm explaining this properly....

I just reread the part where you mentioned that you're the grandmother?
In that case, go formal as it would be expected of you as part of the wedding party and as the grand matriarch. You would most likely be given a pinned corsage (for some reason they only do pinned corsages in Asia for both male and females) to show that you are directly related to the couple. Pearls are OK as no one would dare say a thing!

When buying red envelopes in Shanghai, make sure you ask for wedding red envelopes and to state that you're the grandmother so that you're given suitably formal envelopes. You'll need a certain number of matching envelopes to divide your cash into for the wedding tea ceremony/ies. The number varies slightly by customs of the families involved so please ask prior to shopping. Your short handwritten message should be on the back of each envelope. The notes should be new so calling ahead to reserve new notes at a bank would be a good idea.

Good luck, have fun and congratulations!
Thanks for all these details
Will wear another necklace
I would never have known about writing on back of envelope
I was planning to write a check (10 thousand - he's our dear first grandchild!!) not give cash
Is this a mistake? Would I be better to give cash in envelopes (yuan not dollars?) and give check separately to bride and groom later?
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Old Jun 2, 17, 11:36 am
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Originally Posted by jerseygirl View Post
Thanks for all these details
Will wear another necklace
I would never have known about writing on back of envelope
I was planning to write a check (10 thousand - he's our dear first grandchild!!) not give cash
Is this a mistake? Would I be better to give cash in envelopes (yuan not dollars?) and give check separately to bride and groom later?

There are substantial restrictions regarding taking money out of Mainland China than there is bringing it in. Since the couple are supposed to be in the US shortly, my personal recommendation is to give the bulk of the gift by cheque in the US. However, do make sure that there are new, large denomination bills for the tea ceremony red envelopes. The tea ceremony is the traditional Chinese equivalent of saying the wedding vows. It usually involves all the senior members of the immediate family including the grandparents and great grandparents and great aunts and uncles.

The tea ceremony is usually a family only affair and is done at one of the parental residences prior to the banquet. The bride and groom will kneel and formally serve tea to their respective parents who will accept the tea and in turn give them each the red envelopes as a blessing. An additional gift (usually 22/24k jewelry, precious stones etc) may be given to the bride or both the bride and groom at this point too. In lieu of a jewelry gift, a cheque, deed, keys etc (in a fancier red (or gold) envelope/box/frame may be given to the couple. Please check with the family if this part of the tea ceremony is gifting to the bride only or gifting to the couple or if a gift is required for each. The customs vary slightly but is very important regarding the use of the money/gift in the future.

As grandmother, your turn will probably be right after the parents and before the other assorted senior relatives. Tea, red envelopes, (partial-) gift.

Cash is always preferred and is used by the families to help pay for the banquet that evening but as the largest commonly circulated bills are 100 yuan (US$12.50) larger gifts tend to be awkwardly bulky and a target for theft. Outside of the mainland, banks in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan offer wedding bank cheques that can be bought at the teller for any denomination. These are specially printed and include matching envelopes. I'm not sure that Mainland banks offer this.

Hope this helps.
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Old Jun 2, 17, 2:54 pm
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Thank you so much tci!!!!
I am feeling more comfortable that I won't be making too many blunders.
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Old Jun 5, 17, 9:42 am
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Originally Posted by jerseygirl View Post
Thank you so much tci!!!!
I am feeling more comfortable that I won't be making too many blunders.
While I absolutely think it's a great idea to be prepared and to read up on the traditions and to try to participate, I also wouldn't worry too much about making a blunder - you are the grandmother and you are an American - I don't think they'll expect you to do everything perfectly the Chinese way.
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Old Jun 5, 17, 5:45 pm
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Probably blunder was wrong choice of word
I'll just feel more at ease if I know what is expected
Just received an email that my visa is coming via FedEx
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