In western culture, at the time you received a wedding invitation, you start to think of “What wedding gift should I get them?
But if you are being a guest of Chinese wedding, you may turn this gift to a red packet (lai see) to express your blessing.
But how much money should you put in the red packet?
There’re 2 things you should be considered:
- Cost of their wedding banquet (Where are they holding their wedding banquet?)
- The closeness between you and the couples
The guideline of how much money you should gift is usually based on the 1st factor: Cost of wedding banquet.
Take a note of it and adjust the amount based on the other factors.
Here’s the guideline INES WEDDINGS prepared for you:
1. Wedding banquet at Hotel
There’s different standard of different hotel. You are expected to give more lai see if it’s a 4-5star hotel as the cost of banquet is relatively higher.
4-5 Star Hotel：HK$1200
3-4 Star Hotel：HK$1000
2. Wedding banquet at Chinese Restaurant
Typically the cost of holding a wedding banquet at restaurant is lower than at hotel, therefore the amount of lai see will be lower too.
Usually the standard lai see amount is HK$800.
3. Chinese/Western Lunch Buffet
In recent years many newly-weds tend to hold a wedding lunch buffet instead of a wedding banquet in order to save budget.
And if you are attending a lunch buffet, the standard amount of lai see is HK$600.
4. Special Wedding Venue
For the special wedding venue like theme park (Disney, Ocean Park) or other 5-star restaurant, the standard amount of lai see is HK$800.
5. Cocktail Party
Cocktail party is relatively casual and the cost is much lower.
The standard amount is HK$500.
Other thing you should consider
1. The standard amount of lai see if you are NOT attending the wedding banquet
Usually there’s no standard amount of lai see if you are not attending the wedding banquet.
To give or not to give, how much you should give, it’s all depends on the culture and how close you are to the newly weds / their family.
For example if you are a relative of the couples, you should always to give lai see to the bride and groom (Rule in Chinese Wedding culture).
But if you are just a normal colleague or friend or the influence of other culture, that’s not a must for you to follow the rule.
If you feel like you want to give a big amount of money, the bride and groom will always appreciate.
But if you are not, giving a wedding gift is acceptable too.
2. The amount should be even number
In Chinese culture, each number holds a different meaning and symbol.
And in Chinese wedding culture, it is only acceptable to give lai see that correspond with an even number so that the couple will receive good luck and happiness throughout their marriage.
You should avoid giving amount in odd numbers like 3, 5 and 7.
3. Avoid the number 4
As we have mentioned above, in Chinese culture each number is representing different sign, and number 4 is the symbol of “Dead”.
Therefore, DO NOT give a red packet with a number 4 inside it. (Like $400, 640 etc.)
4. 8 is a lucky number
The number 8 is considered as the luckiest number in Chinese culture. In weddings, most guests usually prefer to give an amount that ends with 8. (i.e. 888, 688, 1088).
If you want to leave a positive and meaningful impression to the couples, you should most definitely take this idea.
Lai See is a blessing to the Couple, Don’t stress too much about it, And adjust the amount based on the standard
Lai see (red packet) is another term of wedding gift in Chinese wedding, it’s how you express your blessings and wishes to the couple.
You may follow the guideline, take the standard amount for reference, but you may also consider other factor and adjust the amount.
If you are a elderly or relative of the couple, you are expected to give more money compared to the other guests.
If you’re just a co-worker and not close to the couple personally, or you are short on cash, don’t feel stressed to give out a smaller amount. At the end of the day, your blessings and wishes are the most important.