Post # 1
So I’m Chinese and my fiance is Caucasian. I’m having the biggest anxiety trying to figure out the dowry situation. Anyone in the same boat? How do you go about telling your White in laws about the “dowry”? My mom’s friends had their children marry fellow asians so 20k was considered low by their standards. But i feel like white people aren’t going to understand and think we’re greedy. How much are you asking for? How do you go about asking? Do they hand over the money during the Tea ceremony? when does this happen?
My future in laws have the money (he’s a dr) but that’s beside the point. I just feel like if I married asian, I wouldn’t have to explain all this and feel like I’m trying to squeeze money out of them and I wouldn’t have as much anxiety asking for 5 figures cuz it’s understood.
It seems awkward but it has to be done. Just want to get it over with.
My mom is of no help!!!
Post # 3
Wait, your family is asking HIM for money just to marry you? Be very prepared for them to say no, and what you might do in that case. Sorry if I’m saying something hurtful, since you probably really care for him, but in white culture this is seriously a no-no – buying a person!
In dating a white person, I think you should’ve let go of this custom.
Post # 4
Becasue it’s not in your Fiance’s family culture, I think it’s rude to even ask them and will send out a bad tone for the rest of your marraige. If it’s something that’s important to you that you feel that you need to give, you and your Fiance should supply it yourselves
Post # 5
If you like the tradition of this, I would speak to your Future In-Laws and explain the tradition and have them give a symbolic gift (and it would be nice if your parents did the same in return).
I don’t think you can ask for a dowry though. You and your Fiance are now adults, it’s not your Future In-Laws tradition. A dowry isn’t specific to Asian cultures, but it has been dying off in many parts of the world or has died off a long time ago as cultures decided woman are not property to be bought or sold (or an expense to be covered for, depending on the tradition). By requesting a dowry, you may offend your Future In-Laws if they value equality.
Post # 6
What does your Fiance say about this? I would ask him first before even attempting asking his parents.
Post # 7
I’m not going to comment on my personal opinon on dowry’s, but I will say this: Since it’s not your FI’s culture, I’m not even sure you can ask. What happens if you do and they say no? Does your Fiance know about the dowry? He should probably be the one talking to his parents about this, not you.
Post # 8
- Wedding: July 2012 - The Gables Inn, Santa Rosa, CA
@AB Bride: The OP asked for advice on how to discuss the topic, please refrain from insulting another person’s cultural traditions.
Post # 9
i wasn’t even aware people still did dowries. honestly, i thought it was old world and had died out by now.
are your parents definitely expecting one? because if your ILs aren’t prepared to pay one or are against it, it’s not fair to expect them to. or as a PP suggested, you and Fiance may have to pay it yourself. could you maybe talk to your parents about lowering their expectations?
Post # 10
You should definitely talk with your Fiance about this and also have Fiance be the one to mention this to your Father-In-Law. Perhaps some other bees in a similar situation (intercultural /interracial relationship) can chime in. Good luck!
Post # 11
I think it’s very important to be respectful of other people’s cultures, but the compromise may have to come from the brides family in this case. If a dowry is not a tradition in your FIs culture, it may be very difficult to have him or his family understand what it’s all about, or to agree to it.
It’s similar to people of different faiths marrying in a way – you can’t force the other person to convert to your faith just like they shouldn’t force you to convert to theirs.
It’s important to have this discussion with just your Fiance and explain your family’s point of view and ask him what he thinks. This is something that should be done together. Sometimes you have to make the decision on whether to side with your family or your Fiance.
Post # 12
@juliette.eliza: I did offer advice, and my criticism of this custom was related to the advice I was giving, but I changed the wording so hopefully the two are more directly connected.
Post # 13
Hi OP! Dowry’s can be a very tricky situation… even amongst Asian/Asian pairings. Traditionally there is a “matchmaker” that negotiates between the two families so that neither is directly in contact with each other (which can result to disagreements and differences in opinions). I’ve had relatives that called off engagements since the dowry and the grooms gifts couldn’t be decided on.
With that said, what extent are you guys going forth carrying on with Asian tradition? IE the grooms gifts? My understanding is that it goes both ways; bride family traditionally also provides gifts to the GROOM (ie shoes/clothes/watch) there’s a whole list I’ll have to ask my mom for.
I would probably tell you to ask your family what expectations they have; ie how much of the tradition they want to follow. Take it to your Fiance and discuss with him. Also be prepared to tell your family that they might have to cut back on some of their expectations; that’s the problem a lot of asian families run into… immigrate to the states and are unwilling to compromise on tradition. Whose paying for the wedding? Traditionally in American cultures its the bride, whereas in Asian cultures its the grooms family so that’s another good example.
Post # 14
Because your Fiance is white, I think you will have to forgo this tradition. If you want to do this one tradition, does your Fiance also get to have his? i.e. In American/Western culture, the bride and her family pays for the reception. You’ll have to also consider your FI’s culture/customs as well.
Would your mother care if the FI’s family does not partake in this part of the tradition? No one knows how much is in the red envelopes given during the tea ceremony anyways.
Post # 15
Oh! Also, another good compromise I’ve heard is that a lot of this is “face value” so that parents can have bragging rights. If both sides are agreeable; then have FI’s family present a hefty amount that is presented so its good for “face” value but afterwards your family returns the money.
I guess bottom line is that does your parents FI’s family to gift them a large sum in exchange for you?
Also keep in mine that in traditional Chinese cultures, we didn’t get fat diamond engagement rings… =P That might be a point to bring up to your mom… that your the moola was spent on your sparklies!
Post # 16
I was in the same boat, up until recently. It’s a custom in our culture that is still very common especially in my family, it’s not so much a price but more of … I kinda want to say insurance policy lol to ensure that the man truly loves the girl and won’t hurt/leave her.
Fiance and I have been together for 5 years and i think a year into the relationship I had mentioned the dowry to him. He was a little disturbed by it at first but he kind of accepted it. We got engaged last year and just last month I sat down and talked with my parents and they decided that since he isn’t of the same ethnicity as us they wouldn’t make him pay for the dowry. For the longest time I was afraid my parents would make his family give a HUGE dowry which I really did not want.
Just talk to you parents, perhaps they might be willing to negotiate a few things, you never know. Goodluck and all the best.