Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The One with The Money!

This is one of those post that I really need some feedback especially from married couple. It's a very sensitive issue on money.

As the Chinese have this saying of

"先小人后君子" - which simply means we have to trash out the bad news before going on with the good news. And I believe this is something we have to sort out before anything moves on since money and wedding is two big issues that comes in a pair.(Although not exactly perfect.)

I recently heard this little incident from my friend's friend's wedding where they did not talk much about the dollar and cents and started planning and almost till the wedding the mum of the bride mention that they need an amount of 聘金 and the amount is $8,000 and the daughter's reaction was "WHAT? MUM! ARE YOU SELLING ME AWAY?". And because of the the daughter and mum got a little fight. So the daughter went and tell his hubby to be about this incident and the hubby to be's reaction was " WHAT! DAY LIGHT ROBBERY?" And the daughter's reaction was "YOU CALLING MY MUM A ROBBER?" And than they had another fight. -.-

See, the money issue is always one of the trickest. It is almost like in a business where you do not wish to shortchange a person but on the other hand you do not wish to get "chop" as well.

From my mum's experience : The newly wed will settle the table money themselves and take all ang bao money, parents of the groom will give this amount to the bride and the bride's end will "return" a small fraction of it to the groom's parents to symbolise that everybody gets some fortune and not like we take "all" your fortune.

From Mrs Smith's mum's experience : The newly wed will settle the table money themselves, the parents of the bride will take the ang bao money of their relative's table (Example: 5 tables's earning) and the groom will still have to pay a sum of money to the bride's parents and take no return.

For me? I just want to make the world dance and forget about the price tag.

If it's that easy eh?

I am sure there are many more variation out there such as parents pay for all the tables and newly wed do not take ang bao or what not method. So what is the "real" tradition? This is really tough as Singaporean's culture is fairly much all mashed up of different dialects and especially difficult for people like me who have all my grand parents in heaven.

So how did it work out for you guys? Leave us your comments below or email me or tweet me. I will be more than happy to share it with our readers.

Mr.Smith, nah sih gua wu ji pa ban ~ 


  1. i neh hear abt ur mom's suggestion before.

    i got hear abt mrs smith mother 1, i think that is the standard. at the start, they will say they wan a number of tables, den those tables ang bao will go to the bride's parents. (even tho u paying for the tables). got a friend, the wife father asked for 10 tables lo.

    for us, and most friends i know, the parents jus give all the money back to the couple. couple jus starting out, wedding so expensive le, don't want tax them further.

  2. oh, but with the tax do they still ask for cash? or no cash at all?

  3. This should be clearly communicated before the wedding. In my experience, it did cause a bit of friction between my mother and my mother in-law. Because my mother feels that the 聘金 was too little, and that they didn't appreciate me as a daughter in-law (not true lah).

    My parents never made a request about the sum, but I guess my mother expected more. Although my parents never had the intention of keeping the 聘金 money (they only took a small token, after all they did say before hand that they are not selling their daughter), there is still a certain expectation of what the minimum sum should be, to maintain that you appreciate the girl who is marrying into your family. To me, I didn't care - it's just a token, a symbol, and had we been given a choice, we would have totally done away with this aged tradition.

    Still, in order to prevent friction between your future in-laws and your parents, it's best if you as the groom, speak to her mom, and ask her what is the sum that she would like your parents to give as 聘金? Even if she says that it should come from your heart, just insist to her that you want everyone to be happy, and that your parents will gladly agree to the sum requested, instead of having them guess the sum that the bride's family would want, and if it doesn't match, everyone would be unhappy.

    I think you should be quite good with words and know how to put this to her mother, right? :) 聘金 is a must if there is a 过大礼, but bride's family should not return everything too. It is 不吉利. Just keep a small sum as a token of good luck.

    As for the table ang pows, bride's family will usually ask for a certain number of tables for their guests and relatives. In today's context, the couple pays for the wedding, but "asking for tables" means that they get the ang pows from those tables (that's why you will usually see that there are 2 angpow boxes at a wedding).

    For my family, although my parents did ask for some tables, the angpows were passed back to my husband and I in the end. That's to be put into our savings for our future, not to cover wedding costs.

    It's better to lay all these out in the open and discuss it (after all you are all going to be one big family already), rather than being shy about it and not knowing what to do when the shit hits the fan and there's unhappiness between the couple and/or their families.

  4. smith, from what i know, BY RIGHT, have to give the 聘金 AND the tables.

  5. Hey Michelle,

    thanks a lot for the detailed input!