Who keeps wedding gifts in Vietnamese culture

posted 2 years ago in South East Asian
Post # 2
Member
155 posts
Blushing bee

karamba :  no experience here but sounds like you are being taken for a ride with made up traditions -I.e. Expected to pay for ceremony. Your question got me curious and I googled it to see your other post on expat. Was good to see you are already getting good advice. Good luck!

Post # 3
Member
3062 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

Pretty sure it’s not tradition at least for the vietnamese weddings in my husband’s family and circle. Our red envelope money was for us and kept by us. When given to you, they usually give their blessings at the same time. If anything, there was more emphasis on the parents to provide a certain “traditional” amount in their envelopes to us.

I would find out how you are receiving your envelopes. Traditionally you get the envelopes when you go to each table in the reception to thank each table and then they give envelope/blessing. So, if you’re doing it that way, I would suggest after collecting your envelopes to give them to someone to keep tabs on that you trust. Now, parents (because of the rankings and elders adressing the other elders) typically may go to each table with you and also give a speech of sorts so that may be where she is planning to keep the envelopes..

Sounds like her mother is trying to exploit it. Considering she’s not paying and you are, I would keep your red envelopes. If she were paying half or full, I could then understand her keeping it or a partial amount.

Post # 4
Member
1149 posts
Bumble bee

karamba :  I can probably answer your question since I’m part Vietnamese and my sister just got married a few years back with this dilemma. Are you doing the morning tea ceremony and the reception?

 

Usually for the morning tea ceremony you are supposed to put money, gold, and whatever you want to gift as a dowry in those red containers during the procession to the bride’s house. Some stuff I’ve seen is a land deed (rarely), car (not as common anymore), money, gold, fruits, and traditional desserts. The boxes come in a set number. The amount and value of the gifts can be agreed upon by both families beforehand.

A lot of modern couples who don’t plan to give a lot or assets like houses or cars actually put some stuff in the boxes just to “show off” to the neighbors. It gives the girl’s parents a chance to brag about “how much their daughters are worth.” Though if you do this, it’s usually very clear and agreed upon by the parents that this is not a gift, but in essence on loan just for show. This is still quite radical thinking by the way, so not many people accept it or agree with it.

The morning ceremony has two parts, one is taken place at “your house” and one at her house. It’s pretty much a prcession from your house to her house, do a ceremony and snack at her house before you take her back to “your house” for the second part of the ceremony and then brunch. You are supposed to cover for the ceremony at your house plus the brunch, and the bride’s family cover for theirs. There are some which opt out for the symbolic procession to and from houses, usually because they’re doing it at a destination wedding or such, then in that case the groom’s side covers for it.

 

For the reception, there’s usually no physical gifts, only money in the envelope. Those goes to covering for the catering and reception costs. If one of the set of parents paid for the reception, they get the envelope money, if the couple pay for it, you guys get it. Sometimes one or both parents will pay for the reception and give that money as a “newlywed” fund for the couple, depending on their generosity. I’ve actually see some parents demand the envelope money without helping pay for the reception. I don’t know if it is right, but generally people look at this behavior as kind of greedy…

 

With foreigners especially, some parents might try to take advantage of you if they think you’re rich, so just make sure you, or your wife talks to them properly and makes sure they understand who’s paying for what. Let me know if you need help.

Post # 6
Member
1149 posts
Bumble bee

karamba :  The key for the boxes is variety since you have to fill a set number of boxes, usually 8 as it is the lucky number. Yes money is very common in those boxes. To fill them up I’ve seen some do it in multiple currencies also. One box in USD, one in the local currency, one box of jewelry set, one in some form of gold, two in fruits, two more in traditional desserts and steamed foods. Most people do put in cash, but recently I’ve seen those fancy show checks being put inside instead.

Just use the money from the envelope to pay off whatever is used to organize the wedding. Most likely there won’t be anything leftover, but in the chance there is, you could still give the money to your Mother-In-Law to avoid conflict.

Post # 7
Member
433 posts
Helper bee

karamba :  u may not live in the same city, how about doing it at a reasonably priced banquet hall or restaurant ( which can be considered a ceromony on ur side n not brides side since u are paying) that way u get to keep the money. 

Based on averria :  information that would  be fair.

Post # 8
Member
433 posts
Helper bee

karamba :  also it should be the bride doing all this talking with her family.

Post # 9
Member
200 posts
Helper bee

I haven’t heard anyone say their parents were keeping all of the money. Couples having traditional huge Asian weddings where I live in California usually count money during the reception and use it to pay for the reception. This is a little strange to me, but it seems common. 

Holding the tea ceremony at a restaurant or banquet hall probably isn’t an option if one of your homes is hear the wedding venue. I suggested having our tea ceremony at the hotel where we were getting married so we wouldn’t have to go back and forth, but my in-laws didn’t like that idea. 

We had a simplified tea ceremony without the gift boxes because my family is Americanized Chinese and had never been to a tea ceremony. There were red envelopes and I received some jewelry. We kept everything we received. 

I agree with others that your fiancée should be discussing this with her parents, but I have heard people say that sometimes it’s expected for you or your parents to negotiate…good luck!

Post # 10
Member
2760 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

Wtf, your mother in law wants to keep the monetary gifts you receive for your wedding?! No way would I allow that. Clear that up before you go!  Different culture or not, the parents of the bride should not be profitting from their child’s wedding! Moreso since they didn’t even contribute financially to it. They sound like greedy pieces of work!   I looked up etiquette:  https://www.behance.net/gallery/24778717/Vietnamese-Wedding-Gift-Etiquette

Don’t allow yourself to be taken advantage of!

Post # 11
Member
1149 posts
Bumble bee

KYpinkandlace :  One of my brothers is going through this right now for his December wedding actually. You should get your side of the family to go over for “dinner” or tea to negotiate. The sentiment here is that because the bride’s side is very well off, they naturally spend more money raising her to become the successful person she is today. Some families feel obligated to demand an initial high price to save face.

Ideally it should be something like this: You, along with one/both of your parents to come, and a representitive vietnamese such as a boss, or close friend who can be considered an elder. A charismatic one would know what to do or what to say if you explain them the scenario. If it’s not reasonable, just ask a vietnamese elder that you are friends with to come on your behalf. It feel like a waste of time for us, but it makes the parents feel included if you do it their way and less likely for them to go back on their word.

Leave a comment


Find Amazing Vendors