Weddings are always an exciting affair and most of us will be thrilled to send our blessings to the newlyweds. However, there are many different wedding traditions and ceremonies for many different cultures; it is little wonder that first-timers might be nervous upon accepting an invitation.
Besides worrying about what to wear, understanding the gift culture is also important when you're sending your blessings. While most of us know that we should give ang baos (red packets) for Chinese weddings, there are also "ang bao" traditions for different ethnicities as well. Keep reading to see useful tips on gifts and what to wear to these weddings below!
Photography: Munkeat Photography
Traditional Malaysian weddings
Malaysian weddings always have an air of friendly casualness. While there are no restrictions on what colors to wear, show respect by dressing modestly and avoid showing too much skin.
Instead of red "ang baos", present your monetary blessings in traditional "green" packets, which is an auspicious color in the Malaysian culture. Alternatively, a normal envelope will work just as well. Gifting monetary packets is a symbolic gesture in Malaysian weddings and giving within your means is much appreciated by the families.
Gifting is done discreetly and the common practice is to fold the packet in half to fit in the palm of your hand, then passing the packet during your handshake with the parents along with congratulatory blessings. Otherwise, handing it over with both hands is polite and acceptable as well.
Traditional Indian weddings
Indian weddings are all about vibrant spirits so you can go ahead and deck yourself in bright colors to celebrate the joyous event. But remember to steer clear of colors like black and white as these two hues are considered inauspicious in the Indian culture. Indian weddings can span anywhere from one to four days with guests usually being invited to the banquet on the final day.
In terms of monetary gifts, it is recommended to prepare in an amount ending with a '1', such as '51', '61', or '71', as it is an auspicious number. If you are close to the couple, you can hand over your gift and blessings to them directly. Besides monetary packets, boxed gifts are sometimes given, usually sent directly to the couple's home prior to the wedding.
Photography: elizabeth messina
Traditional Chinese weddings
Traditional Chinese weddings start early in the day for the couple, though guests are usually invited to the dinner banquet later in the day. Banquets are typically held at Chinese restaurants or hotel ballrooms.
The amount in your wedding ang bao typically depends on the venue as well as your relationship with the couple. Avoid denominations with the number '4' as it sounds like the Chinese character for death. Odd numbers in the "ten" denominations are also avoided, such as $130 and $150, as they are literally translated to mean 'single numbers' (单数), making it an inauspicious number at a wedding.
Instead, try to gift amounts that include or end with the auspicious number '8', which sounds like the word 'prosperity' in Mandarin.
What else do you have to consider when giving your ang bao?
Generally, deciding how much to give to the newlyweds depends largely on three factors which are: how close you are to the couple, the venue of the wedding and the type of wedding.
It goes without saying that the closer you are the couple, the more you'll be inclined to gift more to give your blessings! When it comes to the type of wedding, luncheons, no matter the venue, are generally less expensive than dinner banquets. Buffets are also generally less expensive than a sit-down lunch or dinner.
For cozy, intimate settings such as a café wedding, a recommended range can be anywhere from SGD$30-$100. For grander venues such as banquet restaurants and hotel ballrooms, you might want to give a Wedding ang bao that is SGD$100 and up.
At the end of the day, while wedding traditions may vary between cultures and ethnicities, ultimately, they are celebratory events to have fun and share the joy with the newlyweds. Monetary ang baos are just one way of extending your well wishes and blessings, so don't fret too much!
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