Wedding ‘souvenirs’


My ‘souvenirs’

In China, unlike UK or Poland (as these are the only countries I’m truly familiar with), the newlyweds receive a whole selection of special gifts to mark the occasion that is their wedding.Naturally, wherever you go, you can expect the couple to receive some sort of wedding gifts, be it a home appliance item or a hotel voucher. Offering wedding gifts has become somewhat unpopular with many couples choosing to get cash instead.

In China, it has been like that for years and doesn’t surprise anyone. In fact, if someone does give an actual gift and not a hong bao (red envelope) it is considered strange/unusual and only a young person would get away with it. Everyone else is expected to give cash. And lots of it (too little and you’re going to be considered stingy, too much and you’re showing off).

Cute 'hong bao'

Cute ‘hong bao’

I have never been a fan of such gifts. To me, a physical thing, chosen carefully, which symbolized my relationship in some way or is related to our (the couple’s) hobbies or interests, is much more precious than a 1,000 yuan but hey, that’s me and I’m not Chinese.


Specially decorated wedding suite

I can understand why some couples would prefer a gift in the shape of a nice, fat envelope though. I realize that some struggled to organize the wedding event, perhaps they had to borrow, maybe they have a baby on the way, basically they could do with a bit of extra cash. I can accept that. But let’s be honest, many couples, especially in China these days, do not necessarily need that extra cash as a)it’s the parents who pay for the whole shebang, b) they’re likely to live in a house bought by the parents/in-laws, etc.

This of course doesn’t apply to the, often, poverty-stricken countryside communities. I am not so ignorant as to think that it’s like that for everyone. This is simply what I observed among my family, friends and acquaintances.

I’m quite certain that the issue of a register to note down exactly how much every wedding guest is offering will cause plenty of arguments between myself and my husband when the time of our child’s wedding comes as I am entirely against the idea, find it humiliating and absolutely unnecessary and he of course doesn’t see anything bad with it. As always.

Oh, the joys of a mixed marriage…

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