Centered on Taipei Magazine: how much money to give as a wedding present

The April issue of Centered on Taipei magazine is out now, and in this edition there is an ‘Ask Taiwanxifu’ column I wrote on page 13.  This column addresses a delicate etiquette issue:  People might tell you that ‘it doesn’t matter’, that it is just a token amount, that as a foreigner you are not really expected to get it right.  But there is a socially expected amount that you are expected to pay, and people will notice if you get it wrong.  Even if no-one is willing to tell you what the amount is.
April COT magazine cover

So how much do I think it is best to gift the bridge and groom?  Read my article on page 13 to see what I recommend.  Do you agree?  Do you think it would be best to give more or less?



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About taiwanxifu

‘Taiwanxifu’ (pronounced ‘shee foo’) means ‘Taiwan daughter-in-law’ in Chinese and has been my nickname ever since I married my Taiwanese husband, Sam. I love sampling Taiwanese food, even local specialties such as stinky tofu, pigs blood cake and Taipei beef noodle soup with offal. But there are many other options on the menu. Promise!
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4 Responses to Centered on Taipei Magazine: how much money to give as a wedding present

  1. Great topic! Reminds me of a post I did last month where there was a dispute in the family — the bride’s sisters from the US didn’t want to give any hongbao at all. I think people don’t realize the social ramifications of their actions in these contexts, that it does matter what you give, and that people will talk!

    • taiwanxifu says:

      I remember your post well … Once again a great article.

      There is still, I think, a tendency in the West, to view giving money as a wedding gift as crass, and asking for money as greedy. But hongbao giving exists in a social context. It is not just a one-off cash splash, but part of an ongoing give and take long term relationship. You don’t just give, you often receive in some way. And it saves the problems of trying to find a unique gift!

  2. agongkia says:

    I always tell others that its their presence that is more important than their presents.
    Have consideration for those who are invited and who are not financially sound.
    I will give an Hongbao of maximum 2 pieces of NT100 in a red packet as a gift.I believe those who invite me would not mind the amount
    And if I get married,I will decline any gift that is more than NT200.

    • taiwanxifu says:

      Oh, looks like you are starting a new and very sensible trend. Hope it takes off.

      We just received a ‘red bomb’ in the mail this week — a plesant one because it is the wedding of my husband’s cousin and long-time boyfriend. They make a cute couple. So time to revisit this issue of wedding etiquette.

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