(Closed) Chinese Tradition- Bride’s parents keep the cash?!

posted 9 years ago in East Asian
Post # 3
3124 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

i read a post like this a few weeks ago.  If your parents aren’t contributing to your wedding financially (and really, even if they WERE) it is terrible to be pocketing your gifts.  I’m sorry – it’s perhaps a tradition thing, but you and your FH clearly don’t have that tradition, so they need to come down a bit.  I would decline the dinner out of priciple, to be honest. I am stubborn.

Post # 4
1580 posts
Bumble bee

I read that post too- about parents keeping some of the gift money to offset the cost of the wedding. But you should have no problem if you stick with tradition, since you are paying for it, there will be no cost to offset 🙂

Post # 5
1765 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

Wow, I’d tell them that there’s no way you’re going through with that dinner, sorry. Tradition or not, if my parents weren’t paying there’s no way they’d be MAKING money off of my wedding. I mean… that’s just wrong. That would really upset & hurt me, and since she’s only hosting the dinner to make money, it seems, tell her that with all the stuff you have to do, you won’t be able to do it like you said before.

Post # 6
10218 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2010

Ditto, since you’re paying for it, the gifts are definitely yours.

Post # 8
1 posts

I got married in Dalian, China this past October.  Her father picked up the food and venue costs and I took care of the rest.  We received a lot of red envelopes on our wedding day.  The parents kept their guest’s money and we kept our guest’s money.  Kind of weird if you ask me.  Felt like a business transaction!!  But, I am in China, what I am going to do?  My family, who flew from the states had a ball, and we enjoyed ourselves as well!

Had my wedding occured in the US, I would have definitely gone about it a bit different.

Congratulations and best wishes!


Post # 9
14183 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

You getting marred in Florida?

Sit down with your parents and tell them what’s going to happen. You’re going to keep the gifts OR you’re going to put an announcement in your invitations mentioning the registry and/or that money should be sent to X location for the bride and groom or something to that extent. 

If they aren’t paying for it, it seems completely unreasonable for then to keep it. How about helping YOU offset the cost of the wedding, right? You’re paying for it! Otherwise, tell your parents you won’t accept their dinner “gift by not attending. Seriously–why should you? I’m with you on the principle of the idea.

Keep in mind you’re marrying a white american and let her know this! A good portion of your guests will not be chinese and will not follow chinese customs. Let your ‘rents know that this is a merging of cultures–it’s not all Chinese or all Western. 

Post # 10
11325 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

Seriously… wouldn’t it be tradition for them to pay for the reception? If they are breaking tradition by not paying for the reception why should they follow tradition to keep the cash? Stand up for yourself and your FI!

Post # 11
1489 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

Um… if they’re not paying for it, why do they get to keep the money? I’d say just don’t give it to them. Your wedding is not a money making scheme, for either you or parents.

Post # 12
92 posts
Worker bee

I totally agree that your parents should not get the money if they’re not paying for it, even if they’re paying for the dinner.

It’s true that a lot of the old wedding traditions “shaft” the groom’s family, but that’s because in ancient China, the bride’s family is actually losing a beloved family member. She often left and travelled away to live in her husband’s household, and so since the groom’s family is gaining a family member, the bride’s family is supposed to be duly compensated for their loss. The bride’s family must also be assured that their daughter will be taken care of.

Nowadays, such traditions are more symbolic and have been adapted to suit modern times and experiences. In all the Chinese weddings I’ve been to, the red envelopes go to the bride and groom. Yes, the bride will sometimes receive jewelry, but the majority of Chinese guests I know of bring red envelopes for the couple, not the bride’s parents. Nor have I ever heard of the groom’s parents having to pay 30K plus to the bride’s family. Since the bride’s family doesn’t actually lose her the way they used to, what is there to compensate them for – especially with that amount of money?

If you want to talk tradition, the bride’s parents is supposed to give her a really, super duper lavish gift as well to send her off in style. And your father was supposed to have made some wine and buried it in the backyard to be dug up and drunk to celebrate your marriage…. Lol!

Post # 13
545 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

I don’t know the details about the Chinese tradition but it sounds like your mom has a case of whatever my mom has, too – the tendency to want to honor traditions that only benefit her.  Pendragon has a point – is your mother going to follow the traditional duties of bride’s parents?  My mom had made comments about how in Chinese tradition, the groom’s side pays for the whole wedding, and yet fought to have the wedding be taken place near her, saying that traditionally (in America), the wedding is held at the bride’s location. 

@beijingfoto – I totally agree with you… I am finding out in an unpleasant way that weddings to them are like a business transaction – it’s all about making money. It’s so ridiculous. I hate it.

Post # 15
1116 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

Just to chime in on what I’ve experienced….My sister-in-law recently married a Chinese man.  The reception costs were split between both sets of parents and the couple.  But any cash they received for the wedding, his parents collected.  However, it is not for their personal use, it is supposedly to throw a baby shower and help with expenses upon the birth of their first child.  Thought it was kind of different, but just wanted to throw it out there!

My husband is also Asian (Cambodian) and he brought up the idea of giving part of our wedding gift money back to his parents.  His logic was that his parents have attended many weddings and “invested” in other families, etc. and when they then gift to us, it’s kind of a payback of some of the money his parents shelled out at previous events.  I had issue with that, given my own parents had a larger financial investment in OUR wedding, and think that wedding gifts are for the couple and to help them get established in their new life.  I think I’d be upset if I found out my gift was going to someone’s parents.

You have a tough situation, I’m sorry!  I think in general, people should plan the party they can afford for themselves or their children, and not rely on gifts to cover any event costs.  If family wants to help cover the dinner, like your aunt, they just give the money to your folks with that designation.  Gifts should just be gifts.

Post # 16
7777 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

I, personally, agree with MerryC. She has some very good points. The wedding gifts are supposed to be for the couple to establish their new lives together. Especially in you’re case, where you’re family is not paying for the wedding.

Lots of cultures have money-giving traditions, but I’ve never heard of that going towards anyone other than the couple.

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