Wedding envelope: how much to give
There are many rules while attending an Asian wedding, such as the guest attire, arrival time, drinking manner at the wedding dinner, etcetera. And it is not new that cash is an acceptable gift at an Asian wedding. Many of the wedding guests choose this etiquette instead of preparing wedding gifts. However, I understand it is very tricky to know the proper amount to put in the wedding envelope for people who do not have much experience attending an Asian wedding. As a fact that hosting a wedding is getting pricier, I believe that the weight of a wedding envelope has to keep up the trend.
Things to consider when preparing a wedding envelop
1. Is cash appropriate?
You might have little doubt while preparing the wedding envelope as giving money is not the most common thing in western culture. But in most Asia countries, such as Vietnam, China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan..., giving cash as a wedding gift is congruous. It’s the most practical present that can replace the cost of throwing the party or contribute to the honeymoon fund.
2. Consider the relationship between you and the couple.
No matter it is a wedding gift or wedding envelope, it is usual that the budget varies between close friends and non-intimate colleagues. In short, the closer the relationship, the higher the budget. Several etiquette experts suggest the ranking can follow this order (amount from high to low)
- a family member of the bride/groom
- a close friend of the bride/groom
- a supervisor of the bride/groom
- a co-worker of the bride/groom
3. The “plate” rule
Some people think this is an outdated rule, but if you still cannot decide the amount, this could be a helpful tip to have a start - think about how much the newlywed has spent on each plate. In other words, the amount of your wedding envelope changes based on the level of venue and location.
4. Are you attending with companions?
You might want to add on the wedding envelope budget base on the number of attendees. For example, to attend a wedding of a relative, my grandpa would tend to prepare the wedding envelope with a large amount with a lucky number and bring 5 to 10 family members with him. And base on the "plate rule", for sure my grandpa would have prepared the wedding envelope close or more than the amount of 1 table. (In Asia, a table for ten people is the most common setting for a wedding.)
Don’t do this while preparing a wedding envelop
Although cash is an acceptable gift for an Asian wedding, there are some rules you need to keep in mind.
1. Don’t send the money without a word.
Make sure you put a note with your name on the envelope. An Asian wedding could have a lot of guests. While the bride and groom are busy with the ceremonies, they might not have much quality time to greet everyone. So it is nice to write a word on the envelope to give them your congrats. The other reason is the newlywed will check and note down all the amount they have received at the end of the day. It would be easier for them to have a record with names on the wedding envelope. The under table rule of this part is: how much you give at their wedding, you will receive the same or more at your wedding.
2. Don’t ignore the invitation even if you are not attending the wedding
You can nicely write a message and tell the couple that you cannot attend their wedding but do not ignore it as if you did not receive the invitation. There was this time two of my friends having the wedding on the same day, I have no choice but to decline one of the invitations. On the wedding day, I asked a common friend of ours to forward my wedding envelope with a lovely note.
A wedding is an important life milestone. Your gift is a contribution to making the day more joyful. No matter you decide to prepare a gift or wedding envelope, make sure you follow the etiquette to share happiness in the most comprehensive manner.