TW Wedding Traditions - what are they?

When marrying a Taiwanese woman, there are many traditions that are unheld and unknown to a foreigner like myself. These traditions turns out to be rather pricey… Not knowing what the traditions are, can any native Taiwanese clue me in on what needs to get done and approx cost. In the US, the bride’s side pays, but in Taiwan, the groom pays. What is the norm these days in TW?

  • dowry = $K USD?
  • six - nine gifts? what are the gifts specifically? Can a guy get a golf set?
  • engagement dinner. Who pays?
  • banquet, who pays?

Can’t find anything worth while on the web in English. I’m sure there are chinese websites that explains it all. A little assist… :?

Oh, I forgot to mention that I can’t read Chinese… So Chinese websites are of no use to me…

Well, first of all, I can tell you you’re missing something already. You’ve forgotten the gift you provide in advance to the transcultural guru who advises on such matters! :laughing:

Heh! Heh!

rampage wrote [quote]Not knowing what the traditions are, can any native Taiwanese clue me in on what needs to get done and approx cost.[/quote]You’ll probably struggle on this site for those answers mate. Although quite a few posters here have been through what you’re asking about, well, we’re foreigners, not Taiwanese. Maybe I’ll get my wife to type in a reply later … then I’ll fix her grammar.

just follow the tradition that foreigners get to blow off tradition :slight_smile: here’s my exp. fwiw. I didn’t have money for a dowry and gold gifts. Skipped the engagement, got away with the cakes and the reception, wedding photos, think that was it. luckily enough friends came to the reception to make it about even–wife’s family aren’t expected to shell out at these, only husband’s family, which were few and far between at the Taiwan reception :slight_smile: I can still feel the looseness in my jaw, it dropped about a foot when i heard i had to pay how many thousands of NT for cakes, these are sent to the wive’s relatives and the wive’s family are supposed to get a hongbao directly in return.

It’s tough. You need to negotiate this with your fiance who negotiates it with her mother. Emphasise this, Although normally it wopuld be your family paying for this, as your family’s not Chiense you have to pay for it yourself, and you don’t earn much and are trying to save for the new house. Get set to pay about 30000 or so.

Dowry ‘pingjun’ - try and get out of this one. Only more conservative households, Hakkas, etc do this these days anyway. Only do it if her family are buying you a house or something. This could cost about a million.

Wedding cookies. No way out of this if you are to do it at all traditional and give your fiances family any face whatsoever. About 400-500 a box, going out to all the guests ont he brides side, so maybe 50-150.

Jewellery. A lot of leeway here, but it’s expensive. Rings, necklace and bracelet. Diamond and gold. Maybe out 7000-15000.

Engagement ceremony ‘ding hun’. This is tradtionally where your family meets hers. Seeing as your family won’t be coming over for the engagement, say you’ll be engaged and married on the same day for convenience sake. We did this. It works well.

The photos. A lot of variation here. Don’t skimp too much because this’ll be important to your fiance. Expect to pay 30000-60000.

Banquet. This pretty much pays for itself. There are two ways to do it. You can pay for everything and collect the red envelopes. Or you can split the costs with the inlaws and split the red envelopes too. Either way, it should about break even, unless you go to a cheapo seafood restaurant so as to make money out of the hong baos. What you have to pay for here is the food per table (about 1000 a head for a decent place). Extra for drinks (hard and soft) and maybe 10000 or so for flowers.

Lots of little things that crop up - car(s) to go to the restaurant, a bus to get rellies from down south, hong baos to give those who help you out, probably loads of other little things. Just make sure you’ve got plenty of cash saved, some credit available, just realise that it’s going to cost a hell of a lot of money and go with the flow. Feel free to ask any questions.


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Just blow off all local traditions after the big banquet. Go to a pub and sing on top of your lungs really bad 70s and 80s tunes with all your mates (lads). Your xiao jies will grouped around you admiring you all so much, as if you’re little roman gods (british wankers).
For this is what I witnessed tonight, indeed.
Foreigners are just appalling. I feel ashamed of you all who act like such boars. Egads! Hide my head…:wink:

We didn’t actually do the full ceremony in Taiwan, but I still had to send cakes to close friends and relatives and business associates. Talk about a ripoff. Hundreds of NTD for a little box of cakes that weren’t that good anyway. But as Brian said, no real way out of this one.

I’m happy we got the wedding photos–that was years ago so the pain of spending 8 hours in a photo studio has faded somewhat. But the pictures look so good no one recognizes us in them.

My best advice is to let your wife handle as many of the details as possible. Does she not know the answers to these questions? I did get stuck with giving the inlaws a pingjun, but my wife negotiated the amount ahead of time and it wasn’t too many thousands of US dollars.

Here’s an interesting page on Chinese wedding traditions, but don’t count on it to answer your questions:

Also … 0000002103

Good luck!

What about baking the “wedding cookies” yourself?? Or is there some tradition that they have to be blessed by (insert name of favorite deity’s acolytes here)?

Like Bri said the wedding banquet will pay for itself. I made a measly $18k from ours.

Photos killed me, around $65K, although they let us take the wedding dresses with us to Aus, so that saves us a lot of money on a dress for the Aussie wedding.

The earings and gold stuff wasn’t that expensive, actually I think that cost around $10k, or did her parents pay for that … mmm… I think they bought those as a gift for my wife.

The engagement, well, you could probably skip that. We did. You can always use the foreigner excuse for things like that. I told the mother in law that she had to take me out and shout all the beer I wanted to drink. That’s an engagement.

Those cakes are only needed to be given to your wifes side. I know friends who bought 100 :shock: , we bought 25 :wink: .

You’ll need do discuss with your wife what her family expect. My buxiban boss acted as my parents for the day and helped me out a lot. Oh yeah, you need to pay everyone who helps you too. The drivers, the friends that accompany you around to her house etc. At the end of the day, you’ll be out of pocket, but not a hell of a lot. Like I said, we made 18, and that was after paying everyone.

Footnote, we were married here and home, yet our Aussie wedding was a billion times better. My advice, just do it back home (plus Dad payed for the one at home).

More like a tradition that they have to come in expensive boxes from expensive shops. If you baked them yourselves (which is a lovely idea from a western point of view) all the rellies would think you were a cheap bastard and your wife’s mother would loose mucho face. The whole idea of this wedding is to give your wife’s mum ‘mianzi’. And you thought it was about the two of you right?

Oops, didn’t mean to sound cynical, no to tell you the truth I really enjoyed our wedding and we sorted out almost all the details ourselves. Of course this is the hard way to do it, but I liek organising stuff. You just gotta realise that it’s best and easiest to do all you can to please the inlaws (within reason).

Because we did all the details ourselves, I can help you with suggestions on a lot of this stuff (depending on my memory) so feel free to ask about anything.


[quote=“fredericka bimmel”]Just blow off all local traditions after the big banquet. Go to a pub and sing on top of your lungs really bad 70s and 80s tunes with all your mates (lads). Your xiao jies will grouped around you admiring you all so much, as if you’re little roman gods (British wankers).
For this is what I witnessed tonight, indeed.
Foreigners are just appalling. I feel ashamed of you all who act like such boars. Egads! Hide my head…;-)[/quote]

That’s called respecting local traditions Fredericka! :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Yep, I can still remember my wife making my jaw-dropped self clear about that, naive bastard that I was :slight_smile:

A very big minefield. I got so much advice from both male and female friends that I thought I had it covered. Wrong.

My friends are Taiwanese, the wife is a waishungren, so I actually received NT$100,000 from my wife’s family. And although the cookies and photos, clothes, gold, etc. did cost me more than the subsidy, I made a bundle on the ceremony itself; the same with the birth of my son.

Oh yeah, we had a feng-shwei master arrange our apartment (my mother-in-law

[quote=“Harry Crack”]My negotiations, engagement and wedding were very different from all of my Western Friends’ negotiations, engagements and weddings, hence my minefield warning- one friend received an apartment, one a Benz and one a crapped out fishing boat of all things.

Holy smokes! I didn’t get shit :slight_smile:

I was at my cousin’s wedding in Glasgow, and the ceremony had reached the point where the rector gives the couple a bible and tells them to read it frequently because it has lots of good advice that will help their marriage etc.

A rather deaf great-uncle was heard to remark loudly;
‘All that trouble to get a free book’!

While attending a Greek wedding last year, during the plate smashing routine, a stray piece of broken plate bounced of the floor and into my brother’s calf, promptly requiring 15 stitches and a halt in proceedings.

Er, :blush: I’m Taiwanese and I witnessed my sister and my brother getting married. But still I have no clear ideas about Taiwanese wedding traditions. Actually they did not really follow most of the traditional customs. Anyway I tried to search on internet and may be able to answer some of your questions now.

Those wedding traditions vary depending on which part of Taiwan your bride’s side is from and how traditional they are. So the best advice as other posters have given is to ask your bride to negotiate with her family.

  1. Engagement ceremony should be omittable. If not, the bride’s side is supposed to pay for the engagement feast, and the groom’s side is supposed to pay for the wedding banquet.

  2. The groom’s side gives pin4-jin1(

I’m going through this myself. If our marriage can survive the wedding, I think it can survive anything.

I’d always wanted a small, quiet, dignified wedding. Just close family and friends, not too much money.

The thing is, the gf has about 300 close friends and relatives who absolutely must be invited. (Compared to about, oh, less than ten of mine who are likely to show up.) So much for small.

Chinese weddings have all the dignity of your high school prom. To us, a wedding consists mainly of an exchange of vows, given by some authority figure who will remind everyone what a serious decision this is. To them, a wedding consists mainly of what we would call the reception…except none of this brunch-type idea, it has to look like a disco-style Roman orgy.

Oh sure, they’ve adopted some of the more garish elements of Western weddings, like the dresses and the music. But they pipe the music through amps, like a DJ. Some mixed Chinese/Western couples solve the problem by having two distinct events, one of each kind, so the Westerners can consider the Chinese wedding banquet to be a kind of overblown reception.

Let’s see…the gh informs me that wedding fare must include alcohol, and three kinds of meat. For those of you whose medical or religious backgrounds disagree, welcome to your impending culture clash.

Did I mention religious differences? Her mother wanted to know if my parents worshipped their ancestors. Meanwhile, my mother wanted to know if they were Muslims.

Finally there’s the red-envelope, bride-price (not a dowry), and all the other traditional and fairly crass emphasis on moolah which your values may or may not welcome on your special day.

I guess the trick is making everybody treat your values on an equal basis, and not just railroad over them on the basis of superior numbers or a louder mother-in-law!

[quote]If our marriage can survive the wedding, I think it can survive anything.

That;s exactly what I thoguht.

A lot of people complain that they don’t like Chiense weddings. People just show up eat and leave. It’s not like you real;ly get to talk to people or anything. Amos mentioned how is wedding in Australia was much better. The reason I had a wedding here nad not one back in NZ is because it was the only way I was going to get my family to come and visit us hewre in Taiwan. In the end I had 7 family and 4 friends show up from NZ and other parts of the world. We had a great time showing them around Taipei for the week after the wedding, and my olds even stayed two weeks.

We orginallly planned on sprucing up the weddin with some ceremonial touches before the feast, but in the end we all but gave up on this idea - we just exchanged rings, had two speeches and ate.

What we did do that I thought was great, was have a decent after party. We booked the presidential suite of the Royal Hotel. This costs 89000 for one night, but with the residents discount it was only 10000! It was an awesome suite, and we had a great little party there with family and friends (none of those extra relatives you’ve never met before). That was what made the night for me.