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Wed, Nov 14, 2012
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Hongbaos: Get real about expectations
by Elizabeth Law and Audrey Tan

But exactly whose business is it to pay for the wedding?

Wedding planner Renee Leung, founder of The Wedding Butler, said couples tying the knot should have realistic expectations of the wedding they want.

They should also know what they can afford.

Said Ms Leung: "Very often, couples don't want financial assistance from their parents, which is fine. But they want a big fancy wedding and this can lead to a lot of stress, especially when the cost adds up."

Ms Leung, who has more than 15 years of experience in the industry, said couples often get a shock when they tally the cost of what seems to be small things.

"Many people now want certain bands to perform at their weddings, fancy flowers, invitation cards and place settings, which can bring the wedding cost up to $100,000."

But she said she tells clients and friends to give the "market rate" when going to a wedding, so as to help the couple out with their expense.

Etiquette expert Suzenne Zheng said while it is rude not to bring a gift to a wedding, the value of it should not matter as much.

She said: "When you invite someone to your wedding, it is to celebrate your happy day. They shouldn't be expected to pay for your do."

Several individuals TNP spoke to agreed that while they don't expect guests to help foot their wedding bills, they try to give the "market rate" when they go.

Human resource manager Michelle Ho, 37, who recently attended a wedding, said she gives at least $120 when attending a wedding, no matter where the location.

"My philosophy is to give enough so the couple won't lose too much money," she said.

Bride-to-be Charmaine Wee, 31, said she doesn't consider hongbao money as a recovery cost for her nuptial.

The teacher also gave a definite no when asked if she would blame guests for not meeting the "market rate" in their hongbao packets.

"For my fiance and I, we won't ask our guests to write their names down. But I've been to weddings where guests are made to write their names (on the red packets)," she said.

Miss Wee, who has been to a number of weddings, said she understands that it is difficult for couples to cover the cost of weddings, so she would give about $120 to friends she is not very close to for a wedding dinner and $100 for a luncheon.

She doesn't have a specific amount she gives her close friends, she said.

Similarly, sales executive Chan Jun Xiong, 24, said he planned his wedding according to his and his fiancee's income.

"I see people giving (hongbao) as more of a bonus," he said.

Mr Chan, who is getting married next May, will be holding a banquet lunch at InterContinental Singapore.

He said he has heard of some people who invite more people to their wedding to accumulate more hongbao packets.

He added: "We are not looking to people as a source of money."


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readers' comments
If you want to have your wedding in a very high-class hotel, don't expect people to pay for your expenses. People have to spend time to attend your dinner. The least you can do is to give the invitees a free dinner.

Honestly, I have attended a few and find that the cost of the food were ridiculous. For the food, I can get them at one tenth of the price outside. So don't expect people to pay for your expensive venue. If you want to show off, pay for it yourself.

You damn lucky they wanted to attend your dinner.
Posted by Peter Low on Mon, 19 Nov 2012 at 18:21 PM
Bao Yi ever said,

her father is waiting impatiently for her to get married,

so he also can get back his angpao given to his relatives and friends.
Posted by unemployed777 on Mon, 19 Nov 2012 at 12:46 PM
Ask yourself before you give an angpao : "If it is your wedding, what (or how much) would you expect guests to give you?"

If you do not know, then follow the guide or the norm. Respect the couple, respect their tradition, culture and customs, regardless
of their races. Share your joy, happiness and give them your best blessings.

The same will come back to you when you are married, or bring you good when they receive your blessings.
Posted by kyotykcaj on Mon, 19 Nov 2012 at 12:05 PM

If guests don't intend to turn up, they should have the courtesy to inform the couple prior to the wedding date, so that the couple can make other arrangement like inviting other guests.

If guests cannot afford $80 (the norm in Chinese dinner- minimum), then they should not be invited. Couples should know the well-being of their guests beforehand. Guests should respect the couple's tradition, culture and customs, regardless of their races.

I have a colleague who gave me $80 angpao, and I am fine with it,as I know he has 3 children. Another colleague gave me $168.

Angpao is a form of blessings and share of joy with a couple. The same goes to you if you receive more angpaos in your wedding.
Who does not feel happy in their wedding if they receive more .....
Posted by kyotykcaj on Mon, 19 Nov 2012 at 11:45 AM

If your wedding (if you have one) is free to all guests, no angpaos collected, then the couple should do the same to you, and you should not expect to give any angpaos.

A wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event for a couple. Of course it should be
a joyous occasion. However the couple should invite those guests they know
well, and spend within their budget.

Angpaos is a chinese tradition that has been there for many years, and it is a form of blessings and sharing of joy with the couple. Of course, some readers might say, what you pay is what you get in return. Angpao is not about money, it is something you give to the couple for blessings and happiness. Do you expect a $10 angpao or a $1000 one during your .....
Posted by kyotykcaj on Mon, 19 Nov 2012 at 11:35 AM
If any guest dont turn up or dont give angbaos or dont give "enough", you should not feel angry...your main objective is to have their physical presence to share your happy occasion, they are not there to be your ATM!

That is the wrong mentality!
Posted by Wiseman1 on Mon, 19 Nov 2012 at 11:34 AM
This sillyporean tradition should be stopped immediately, it is becoming senseless.

You should be inviting only those guests whom you would like to share your happy wedding occasion with to the dinner, not every Tom, **** or Harry you happened to have known, just so that there are more guests and angbaos to help defray the costs!

Hold a wedding dinner which is within your means, dont try to show off by holding a grand wedding in a luxurious hotel which you cant afford to fund, and then turn around to invite a lot of people and count on the angbao monies to help to defray the costs. Absolutely silly!

I would not even entertain the idea of attending someone's wedding dinner whom I have not seen or keep in contact for 10 years!
Posted by Wiseman1 on Mon, 19 Nov 2012 at 11:27 AM
It irks me no ends when people tell me that there is a market rate for hong baos. 5-star restaurant? Then that's $200 hong bao per head. I say WTF!
Posted by renyeo on Mon, 19 Nov 2012 at 11:16 AM
I believe given out hong bao to married couple should s****, the upmost idea is joy and happiness for the married couple..

Hong bao are bonus only and not a requirement!

Are we money face now??

Not enough money dont do fancy stuff lah..
Posted by CannonLE on Mon, 19 Nov 2012 at 11:05 AM
FYI,I had only invited ONLY 1 non-chinese friend, whom i had known for many years. And yes, he had invited me for his wedding, and I had gone to his wedding with an angpao of course. He eats chinese food of course.

He was informed of my wedding dinner date a few weeks prior to my big date,and he did not bother to give an angpao after he missed the date. I NEVER call him after that day.

I have friends who had informed me that they could not come to my dinner dinner, and they had shown the courtesy to give angpaos after they received my invitation cards. If you can raise a child, and you cannot even give a once-in-a-lifetime angpao to a friend, then shame on you.

The fact is, I did not really bother about the money, .....
Posted by kyotykcaj on Mon, 19 Nov 2012 at 10:53 AM

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