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Chinese Wedding Etiquette in Shanghai

weather: sunny
outside: 17°C
mood: curious

In case anyone knows the answer:

Anyone familiar with Chinese wedding etiquette in Shanghai?

A close cousin of mine is getting married next month and I'd like to know how much to give him and his new wife for his red envelope gift.

The North American tradition for Chinese weddings is to give the couple a minimum of as much as they are paying per head for the banquet. In Canada, this works out to $50/head. So, if my husband and I were invited to a wedding and we knew the couple, but weren't close, we'd give a minimum of $100.

What's the going rate in Shanghai? What about for close family? I was thinking about giving them (CDN)$398 or $399. I won't give them anything with a '4' and $500+ seems like too much...

I just wanted to make sure that what I'm giving isn't too little. I also don't want to give them waaay too much and make them feel crappy. I just want a nice, but slightly-more-generous-than-average gift amount.

And how can I send them the money so that it's as little hassle for them as possible? An RMB money order?



( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 23rd, 2002 02:43 pm (UTC)
you could send them a US check- i don't know- is that gauche though? I mean whenever I send myp arnets money I just send them a US check and they go deposit it - usually the exchange rate works out in their favor. otherwise if you are going to give them RMB- I think 300 is a bit too little- but that really depends on how close you are to this cousin and also if you are giving another gift w/ the red envelope. also if they gave you $ for your wedding you should probably give back around the same amount. I'd say somewhere in the 400s is good- but too bad 4=bad so I would say 500 rmb from the both of you is good.
Sep. 23rd, 2002 02:45 pm (UTC)
my grandparents i mean- not my parnets. i dont send my parnets money yet haha. also if you are going ot stick with either 398 or 399 i'd go with 398 cause thats an even number.
Sep. 23rd, 2002 03:54 pm (UTC)
500RMB is $100 Canadian... that's not too bad.

I don't have a US chequing account, so I'm wondering if it's worth it for me to spend more in fees to get a US money order. If it means less hassle for them, I'd do it, but at this point, I don't have any guarantee that it won't be the same as if I sent a Canadian money order.
Sep. 23rd, 2002 03:59 pm (UTC)
oh don't bother getting a US one! I am sure a canadian cheque will work just fine. just be sure to write down 100 canadian dollars and not accidnetly 500 candian dollars!
Sep. 23rd, 2002 04:02 pm (UTC)
I would, but the last time we flipped money back and forth with each other, I heard that Chinese banks have a 2 month hold on foreign currency cheques (or something stupid like that)...
Sep. 23rd, 2002 04:06 pm (UTC)
:-( thats dumb. do they have foreign currency exchange at big banks in vancouver? i think they should have them esp. since Vancouver is a touristy place.
Sep. 23rd, 2002 04:23 pm (UTC)
Up the wazoo =) Especially if you're waving US$ around =)

But I was hoping to find out for sure if paying the extra fee for the exchange would make it so that they didn't have to wait the 2 month holding period. Do you know if your grandparents have this problem?
Sep. 23rd, 2002 04:37 pm (UTC)
no they didn't. i gave them a US cheque and they put it in the bank and the next day it showd up on my bank statement. didn't seem like they had to wait 2 months. i wouldthink it would be the same w/ canadian money- but I'm not sure.
Sep. 23rd, 2002 04:45 pm (UTC)
i wouldthink it would be the same w/ canadian money- but I'm not sure.

Hmmm... that's interesting. Thanks =}
Sep. 23rd, 2002 06:30 pm (UTC)
I don't know about modern day wedding etiquette in Shanghai. I can only tell you about pre-war etiquette which of course, doesn't do you much good.

I think the best thing to do is to give what you can afford and adjust it based on how close you are to your cousin. So if you're comfortable with C$398, then it's all cool. I don't imagine they'd expect something in excess of $500 given your relatively young age.

I think my first stop would be to visit your local HSBC branch office. I figure they ought to know what the best way to send money over to your cousins in Shanghai would be. After all, they are the Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation.

I'm just taking a wild stab here but I'd imagine that they'd suggest something along the lines of a demand draft/money order deal. Or they can probably make arrangements for an intra-bank electronic funds transfer to your cousin's account if they had an account at HSBC. Something like that.

I wouldn't get a US money order. Too much hassle. And you lose a bit on the conversion. Besides, Canadian money is as good as almost any other major currency in China.

A 2 month hold? May I ask how long ago that was? All of the policy papers I've read about China show that the government of the PRC have been loosening restrictions on foreign capital moving into the country. They still have significant restrictions on outbound capital but I can't imagine that they'd place a 2 month hold on incoming money.
Sep. 23rd, 2002 06:38 pm (UTC)
I don't imagine they'd expect something in excess of $500 given your relatively young age.

Uh... methinks I'm a lot older than you think I am =) I'm almost 30. =)


Good point, thanks =)

A 2 month hold? May I ask how long ago that was?

This was about 4 years ago... I think... I really don't understand the details around the situation, but I heard that there was some dumb holding period on funds that we were trying to get to them.
Sep. 23rd, 2002 07:18 pm (UTC)
Oh really(!)
Uh... methinks I'm a lot older than you think I am =) I'm almost 30. =)

But you don't look a day over 25!! =D
Sep. 23rd, 2002 08:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Oh really(!)
I'm ancient. I had white hair when I was 9 (I take after my Dad) and I've always had crows feet around my eyes when I smile (I'm like my Mom that way).

But, I don't feel a day over 20. =) In fact, given the way I was abusing my body back then, I would say I feel healthier now than I did when I was 20. =D
Sep. 24th, 2002 08:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Oh really(!)
Sure you are. Photographic evidence does not lie! You are no dino! =D
Sep. 24th, 2002 08:30 pm (UTC)
Hey, did you find anything about the best way to transfer money to Shanghai? I'm kinda curious what the best way would be as well.
Sep. 24th, 2002 10:47 pm (UTC)
Not yet... I haven't had time to walk down to the HSBC near work. I'll post my findings though =)
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )


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