Tying the Knot

Nimen hao.
I’m thinking of walking the green mile to tie the knot and have a few questions on my mind. I’d appreciate people sharing their experience and wisdom.

  1. What’s the procedure for getting married in Taiwan? What paperwork do you need and is there a registry office to handle this?

  2. What are the customs that a foreign male should follow when marrying a Taiwanese female? Is there a “donation” to be made to the female’s family (reimburse the cost of “raising” her until now??)? Who pays for the wedding reception? Anything else I should know about?

  3. Is the wedding album necessary? Personally, I’d prefer shots of people who came to my wedding enjoying themselves rather than a bunch of weepy ones of me in a Ching Dynasty outfit with my beloved.

  4. Finally on a I hope not too ominous note, are there any statistics available of divorce rates for Westerner-Taiwanese marriages. I just ask as more than a few of the not that many Western males who did marry Taiwanese that I know have divorced.

Thanks to all for help. John


Check out these two threads:
Marriage in Taiwan
Good Wedding

Add your comments to keep the threads alive, and drop me a message if you want to talk wedding.

I should add that I already hold permanent residency in Taiwan, so do not need to process a visa from the marriage.
Would I still have to get the Clean Crininal Record and Health check done again? Would my APRC “prove” that I have already “passed these things”?
If not, how long are the originals valid?

So, Bri have you gotten married already at this stage?
Thanks for the links to the threads. john

Hi John,

I have put together a very large explanation of my wife and I did please see my website at http://taiwanstuff.tripod.com/Marriage



Thanks again Bri and JeffG. It seems that the paper chase is more arduous if you want to process a resident visa from the marriage, but to “just get married” you need a paper to prove you’re single only - correct me if I’m wrong.
Jeff, what paperwork did your wife have to bring to the States when you got married there?
How did you guys (and others) handle the “cultural issues” that I brought up in the first mail?

Originally posted by johng: 2. What are the customs that a foreign male should follow when marrying a Taiwanese female? Is there a "donation" to be made to the female's family (reimburse the cost of "raising" her until now??)? Who pays for the wedding reception? Anything else I should know about?
  1. Is the wedding album necessary?

How about asking your fiancee’s opinion? I could tell you that the wedding album is completely useless and a big waste of money, but if your significant other wants one, then the correct answer would be Yes, the wedding album is necessary. Otherwise you might become a statistic in your fourth question.

My wife has nearly ten brothers and sisters. They have married with a wide variety of other inhabitants of this island. I asked her about the general type of questions presented in this thread, and she said that in fact the marriage customs of those who came to Taiwan 1000 years ago (and their descendants), those who came to Taiwan 300 years ago (and their descendants), those who came to Taiwan 50 years ago (and their descendants) all vary quite a bit. Furthermore, there are variations in the northern, southern, middle, eastern, etc. parts of the island, and between city-dwellers and country people.

Hence, you are well advised to talk to your fiancee’s family and relatives about what they view as the proper procedure. They will not be insulted by you asking.

marriage, but to "just get married" you need a paper to prove you're single only - correct me if I'm wrong.

Yep. Leave a bit of time for this too.

Your other questions - Here’s what I did (no I’m not married yet - end of July):

First I asked my girlfriend, but there was a lot she didn’t know. We met her mother semi-formally so I could tell her I wanted to marry her daughter and we got a few things from her then, but weren’t at the stage of details. We both asked a lot fo friends and my girlfriend asked a l;ot of people on the net too and got some useful replies. Then we decided more or less what we wanted then met her mother agin (just recently in fact)and pretty much sorted it out. Here’s some things to bear in mind:

You want to do this for yourselves, but actually a lot of it is for her parents and most importantly to give them face.

Things will change all the time.

Specific questions:

The money you might have to give the parents (brideprice) is a pingjun. This is quiote rare these days, but I htink most Kejia.Hakka families and some real traditional southern families might want it. I don’t knwo the details, but understand that it could be a LOT (maybe a million) of miney, but I htink they’ll pretty much give it back to you or provide you with a house or something like that.

Paying for the reception there seems to be tow ways that are about 50/50. 1) You pay for everything and take all the hongbao money or 2) You may for ‘your’ tables, the brides family pays for ‘their’ tables and you divide the hongbao accordingly. We argues that seeing as I was a foreigner and my family wasn’t helping me at all, and we wouldn’t have much family coming, if we didn’t get the hongbao we wouldn’t be able to have a wedding (reception) at all so we needed to do method 1.

Wedding photos can be nice and are really a necessary cutom. Just don’t go tacky and don’t do anything too extravagant. At least you’ll have some good photos and will get to keep the negatives.

‘Anything else’?

Yep. ‘Your family’ has to buy some things. For me that means I have to buy them. You really have to buy a box of cookies for everyone on the bride’s side. For me this is abotu 50 boxes and they’re about 500 or 600 each. You can go cheaper but then people might complain about lousy cookies. Also lots of jewellry - diamond ring, gold ring, necklace, bracelet (that’s a minimum).

You might need to have an engagement ceremony (we’re pretty much skipping this). On the wedding day you should drive at least 3 nice cars (driven by your friends or family) to her house in the morning and bring her to your house (in my case to a hotle suite we’re renting for that purpose and the after party) to give her family soem mianzi and a sense of rinao.

Some expensive facials and stuff for your girlfriend and maybe a suit for yourself (suit anbd her costumes for the photos and the day come from the photo company, but maybe you want a suit that fits).

On top of the restaurant, you may have to pay extra for decorations depending on the place. Invites too. I think that’s about it. Oh we’re hiring a bus from Ilan to Taipei to bring her relatives.

If this seems all a bit to mafan, I recommend you take off to a Greek Island or somewhere get married there and have a small affair when you get home.

Don’t know about divorce, but think you should settle on where you are goingto live for the rest of your lives. I’m from New Zealand and my girlfriends been there with me for a visit but has never really lived there. So we’re going to try and live there, but if she really can’t stand it we live in Taiwan. Do you want to live in Taiwan your whole life? If you are not prepared for that reconsider marrying.


So we were meant to choose 37 photos, but my girlfriend had the marker. Anyway 91 selections later, the girl told us “if you choose 100, I’ll give you a discount!!” I should bloody well hope so I mumbled. She continued in her gentle voice, “If you let us use some of your shots for advertising, we’ll discount further!!”, oh ok, how much? "one moment, I work it out, “$NT800”. I told her she had a lovely sense of humour, something uncommon amongst the nationals. She nervously explained that she wasn’t joking. “I rebutted, $40000 + 32000, and you’ll knock off $800, forgive my lack of understanding, but that’s an awfully lot of money”. What does she say?, “one lifetime, one time, er yi” Yeah right, for that price no wonder too, who’d want to get married twice!!

Anyway, sent the girlfriend off to work, went back, and cut off another 20 shots with her mother and sister the accountant. Still too expensive. Total $60,000. Advice, take the photo’s in you’re home country and just get married once in Taiwan.

Amos, how do they calculate the photo prices?

We’re shopping for ours ont he weekend and I’m aiming for 30-35K.


Bri, after we chose the 100, she said each extra shot would be $NT500!!!. After haggling I think it worked out to be $475 a shot. Still toooooo expensive for my liking though.

I pretty much stayed out of negotiations, cause I didn’t know what most people get. I know the origional quote was $42,000 for 3 big wall photos, the signature poster for our reception, about 100 thankyou cards, and invitation cards (dunno how many), 37 for our album, and about 130 odd shots were taken. Hah, never again. Hope this helps.

Good luck with that price you said, cause when your misses sees all those ‘beautiful’ shots, you’ll have buckleys of keeping the count under 37, well if she’s anything like myn anyway.

I was told you got to keep the negatives. Did you? Or do you only get negatives of the shots you pay for? I guess that makes more sense. What I meant was how many shots are included in the original price/package. That’s your 37 then is it? How many costumes did you get and was that the same for the photos and the wedding day?

Anyone had a good experience at a reasonably priced Taipei shop? We’re off to an exhibition at the trade center tomorrow to have a look.


Bri, we had 6 changes of costumes. Started at 9am and finished at about 5.30. Had about 30 shots outside some museum and the rest indoors. My misses gets 4 costumes for the wedding in Taiwan, and then can take 2 (one white, one chinese) back to Australia for our second wedding. Negetives, dunno mate, will find out and repost later. Cheers Amos. Oh yeah, 37 shots was the origional figure. We could choose that many, but well, you know the story.