(Closed) Chinese-American marrying Caucasian, what to do about Dowry custom?

posted 6 years ago in Money
Post # 3
873 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

Isn’t dowry what the woman’s family normally brings into the marriage?  If so, why do you have to worry about his parents giving you money?

Post # 4
752 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Hi – I dont have any advice for you curious to see how others handle this.

I can only imagine how stressful this is for you.  Eek!

Post # 5
3471 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - The Gables Inn, Santa Rosa, CA

Have you talked to your Fiance about this? Presumably he knows it’s coming, and he can help explain it to his parents.  Mixed-Culture weddings are always tough, and any conversation about money makes it doubly hard.  I really don’t have much in the way of advice, other than making sure everyone has a chance to ask and answer any questions they have.  Since you’re not marrying an Asian person is there a chance they’re not expecting a dowary? 

ETA: I think the OP is using the term dowry to mean a “bride price” both are common customs in most asian cultures. 

Post # 6
3769 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Brookfield Zoo

@starrynight:  it’s a different cultural custom; in traditional Chinese culture, the groom and groom’s family actually gives the bride’s family $$.

But…@bobsgirl2007:  is there any way you can skip this??  I feel like it’s really unfair to hold your caucasian in-laws to this traditional custom which is outside of their own culture, especially when it involves their money.  It doesn’t even go towards the actual wedding, right?

Post # 7
5494 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2011

@elysion:  “But…@bobsgirl2007:  is there any way you can skip this??  I feel like it’s really unfair to hold your caucasian in-laws to this traditional custom which is outside of their own culture, especially when it involves their money.”  

Yes I totally agree with this.  I don’t think you can force them to participate in your cultural traditions since it’s not part of their culture.  Particularly since money is involved.  It would be different if he was asian and you were white and his parents were offering the money.  

Post # 8
10589 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

I already posted in another thread and thought this was the same one.

I’ll repeat my advice here though:

You can talk to your Future In-Laws and have them give a symbolic gift for the sake of tradition.  You cannot specify what they gift will be though, and even worse would be specifying an amount of money.

Post # 9
254 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I really can’t imagine a scenario where your FI’s parents are going to be okay with plunking down 20K for a tradition they’ve probably never heard of. I think you and your Fiance need to sit down and have a pretty honest coversation about the cultural traditions each of you want or expect for the wedding, and how you as a couple will need to modify them to make it work. And this goes for both of you – are there any traditional American wedding customs that aren’t going to go over well with your family? You two should really spend some time on this. Good luck!  

Post # 10
1853 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I posted in your other thread, but I’ll post here too.

You are going to have to fork over the money yourselves. It’s not only not the custom in America-it’s would be considered downright rude. Here, it’s the bride’s parents that traditionaly pay for the whole wedding. Most of us end up paying for it ourselves.

Your future in-laws are not obligated to even HELP pay for the wedding. Asking them for a dowrey is too much and won’t go over well.

Post # 11
3471 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - The Gables Inn, Santa Rosa, CA

Another wuestion I just thought of… How does this factor into the rest of the wedding budget? 

Are you and Fiance planning to pay for everything else, are either of your families paying for anything? If your inlaws have offered their help, would it be possible to consider their contributions a dowry/bride price to your family, then the costs of the wedding fall onto you/ your family and not them? 

Post # 12
2716 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Hmmm… I’ve never heard of this before.  Dealing with different cultures can be tricky. But as someone who is unaware of this custom, here’s how I would want someone to approach this situation.

1.  If you don’t already know for sure, ask your Fiance if he is aware of this custom.

2.  If you don’t already know for sure, have your Fiance ask his parents if they are aware of this.  It wouldn’t hurt to ask if they know of this tradition first before you ask for money.

If they are aware of it, then great!  Maybe they have a sum already or you can ask what they plan to give and go from there.  Since I am unfamiliar with this custom, I don’t have any real advice about how to ask for more.

However, if they know nothing about it and If it is not something that is part of their culture then I agree with PP and don’t think it’s fair to hold them to it – especially since it involves money.  I think it would be very presumptions of you and your family to ask for money for a custom that you follow but they don’t.

What might be better is to request that your Fiance (or his parents) give your parents a nice gift as a token instead of 20K+.  You could tell your FI/FI’s parents that’s custom for them to pay a “dowry” to your family, but since it’s not part of their culture, a nice gift exchange might be a good subsitute.  That way the thought is there but there’s no pressure for them to come up with a large sum of money on short notice.

Better yet, maybe your parents could just exchange gifts.  In Western culture it used to be tradition (don’t think it’s followed much now) that the bride brings a dowry and in Chinese culture the groom/groom’s family pays a “dowry” so it ends up being a wash.  But if you have them exchange presents, you still get a bit of the tradition and thoughtfullness.

Good luck!



Post # 13
23597 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2011

Oops, looks like the OP has a double post of the same thread.  I’m going to close this one down so she can get answers in this thread, since it currently has more answers!  Thanks!


The topic ‘Chinese-American marrying Caucasian, what to do about Dowry custom?’ is closed to new replies.

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