11 June, 2024
Money Wedding Gift main image
Money Wedding Gift main image

How Much Money Should You Give As A Wedding Gift?

11 June, 2024
Money Wedding Gift main image

Got a wedding to attend and unsure about how much to gift the happy couple? Here’s how to determine how much money to give as a wedding cash gift.

Picture this: wedding season is upon us (or it never really seems to end) and you’ve got an invite in the mail from a friend or family member. It’s an excuse to get dressed up and celebrate a loved one but the world of wedding gifts can be hard to navigate. We’ve put together this handy guide — so you know exactly how much cash to give the newlyweds.

Read More: Wedding Gift Ideas For Newlywed Couples In Hong Kong

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You’ve been invited to a wedding and you’re super excited to attend: your outfit (or outfits, plural!) is picked out and you’ve wrangled a plus-one to accompany you on the day. But now you’re faced with a dilemma — you’re expected to give a cash gift. Just how much money should you be giving to the happy couple? Too little and you’ll be seen as miserly, too much and you’ll end up inappropriate. Don’t sweat, here are the dos and don’ts of wedding gift etiquette when it comes to cash.

Please note, these are general recommendations and there are many factors that may affect how much cash you want to give to newlyweds. These could include: how close you are to the couple, how far you have to travel to the celebration (is it a destination wedding abroad?) and your own financial situation. You can always use our cultural tips as a rule of thumb and go from there!

Read More: Destination Weddings In Asia: Best Locations And Hotels

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How Much Money To Gift At A Chinese Wedding

Red envelopes aren’t just for Chinese New Year — they are also expected as gifts at Chinese weddings. Unlike Western weddings, gift registries are not common for Chinese weddings and cash is actually preferred, as the money goes towards paying for the wedding costs and helping the couple start their new life together.

The Chinese words for red envelopes (including “lai see”, “hong bao” and “ang pao”) also represent good fortune so there is an extra layer of meaning with your cash gift.

The amount of money you should put into the red envelope should be equal to the cost of the Chinese wedding banquet you will be attending. This could range from $1,000 to $2,000.

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Again, factor in your relationship with the couple — if you’re a distant relative or friend, stick to the smaller end of the scale but if you are close to the couple, you may want to give more than $2,000.

In keeping with Chinese tradition, try to avoid any amounts that contain the number 4, as it is associated with death. Alternatively, try to incorporate the number 8 into the amount, as it is a lucky number in Chinese culture said to bring fortune.

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How Much Money To Gift At An Indian Wedding

Just like Chinese weddings, it is customary for guests at Indian weddings to give cash or cheques inside a decorative envelope or embroidered bag. In Indian culture, stick to amounts that end in 1 (like $101, $201, $301 etc.) rather than round numbers, as they are more auspicious and signify that the couple is off on a new journey together.

There is no hard and fast rule for how much to give at an Indian wedding and it depends on how well you know the couple. Give as much as you can and as long as the amount ends in 1, your gift will be considered lucky and meaningful!

Read More: “I knew I had only two days to do my wedding shopping in Chennai”, Fashila Kanakka On Her DIY Wedding

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How Much Money To Gift At A Japanese Wedding

With Japanese weddings, things are a bit easier as there is a general set rule for cash gifts. Depending on whether you’re travelling to Japan for the wedding or attending the wedding of a Japanese couple elsewhere, you can pay in Yen or the equivalent amount in your currency. Whatever you do though, don’t give an amount that’s divisible by 2 because the number can be evenly split — and no one wants to talk about splitting up at a wedding!

Single people and colleagues attending a Japanese wedding tend to give ¥30,000 (around HK$1,600), while a boss or a married couple will usually give ¥50,000 (around HK$2,700). Close relatives might choose to give even more. Remember to put the money in a special envelope called a “shugi-bukoro” and you’ll be good to go.

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How Much Money To Gift At A Korean Wedding

The thing to keep in mind when giving cash to a Korean couple getting married is that it is reciprocal. This means that whatever amount you give them, they will end up “owing” you the same amount if you were to host a wedding that they are invited to. Striking the right balance is important, as giving too much can burden the couple with the expectation of returning the same amount.

Once again, how familiar you are with the couple comes into play. People will typically pay W30,000 (around HK$178) if they are single or a colleague, all the way up to W100,000 (around HK$593) if they are very close relatives or friends. Similar to Chinese weddings, you should try to give enough to cover the cost of the wedding meal you will be eating at the reception.

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How Much Money To Gift At Other Asian Weddings

What about other Asian wedding cultures that we haven’t covered on the list? Not to worry — it’s pretty safe to assume that cash is the preferred gifting option at most Asian ceremonies, including Thai, Indonesian and Filipino weddings. So, don’t be afraid to bring an envelope of cash with you on the big day as they will be happily received by the bride and groom.

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How Much Money To Gift At European Weddings

Cash gifts are also a part of many European wedding cultures. In Italy, the bride carries a satin bag (called “la borsa”) that guests can push cash into. In France, wedding guests can contribute money into a “pot commun”, or a communal pot.

In Spain, couples even put their bank account details onto the invitation so guests can directly transfer money to them without even needing to bring cash! Money is also a popular option for German and Polish weddings.

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How Much Money To Gift At North American And British Weddings

While North American and British weddings generally have a gift registry that guests can purchase items from, giving money is becoming an increasingly popular option as well. Some couples even opt for a cash registry instead of a traditional one.

In fact, there are plenty of videos on social media of couples having a PayPal code for guests to scan and contribute by the entrance — talk about modern convenience! Some couples may ask for contributions towards a down payment on a house or for their honeymoon, so cash can be a good option if you don’t want to deal with picking out and buying a gift off a registry.

Editor’s Note: “How Much Money Should You Give As A Wedding Gift?” was most recently updated by Catherine Pun in June 2024. With thanks to Ruth Chan for her contribution.

Main image courtesy of hxyume via Getty, all other images courtesy of Sassy Media Group.

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