Giving monetary gifts (e.g. Red packet, Green packet, Purple packet*) during weddings is common practice among all races and religions in Singapore, yet, the decision-making process of how much to give can be murky to many.
*Though different races use different coloured packets, there is no need to run around trying to find a specific coloured packet. Contrary to popular belief, any colour is fine!
So, if you are caught in this situation, here is a rough guide to help you through:
Majority of Chinese couples will hold their wedding at a restaurant or hotel function rooms where the price range can vary widely.
Typically, the amount to give would be $128 (weekdays) and $168 (weekends) for 4-star hotels.
It is common among Chinese couples to organise a gatecrash ceremony, and it doesn’t matter if the groom-to-be is dressed as an Emperor accompanied by his entourage of eunuchs and concubines.
The bridesmaids will put the ‘Emperor’ in unimaginable torture, and it can sometimes cost the groom a huge sum of red packet to please the bridesmaid.
Note: Do remember to keep the amount to an even number and more auspicious to end the amount with eight. If a seat has been reserved for you at the restaurant and you can’t attend at the last minute, chances are, the couple will not be able to get a replacement. So it’s fair to give a red packet as the cost of the seat has been borne by the couple.
Muslims believe in the concept of ‘Iklas’ which means to give with your heart. Thus, there is no specific amount, simply give what you want to.
Some couples may hold them in community halls, void decks and halal hotel function rooms, and decorations and prop rentals don’t come cheap. That being said, a good dose of common sense never hurts anyone.
Such weddings don’t come cheap so do some research on the venue. A decent amount to give would be minimally $30 - $50 per pax.
"The money we received from our guests covered less than 40% of what we spent. We bore all cost as we didn’t want to financially burden our parents." ~ Kaliha &Vanesh, 32-years-old, newly-wed
Indians usually hold their weddings in one or a combination of any of the following ways:
2) Temple Hall wedding
3) Reception at a function hall or hotel
If you are invited for the temple hall wedding, typically, the amount to give would be $51-$71 as temple hall weddings can cost between $30k to $50k.
"Our wedding at Perumal Temple Hall cost close to $45k. Price varies from temple to temple and the factors affecting the price of renting a temple hall includes the popularity and size of the temple hall. Bigger halls would require more decoration which also means more cost is involved for decorating the hall." ~ Vicknesh Armugam, Newlywed
Note: The amount of Indian wedding monetary gift should be an "auspicious" number ending in 1. And if you are invited to the temple wedding, dressing modestly is a must, meaning no bare shoulders and bare knees.
Unlike most wedding venues, churches do not usually list their venue rates.
And if there is a choir involved, the couple could have hired them at an additional cost, so it would be nice to factor this in when deciding how much to give.
An amount to help the couple cover the costs for a mid-range caterer and the choir would be about $40-$50.
Note: The act of giving monetary gifts is your blessing to the couple to help them along their matrimonial journey. Whether family, friend or colleague, do be generous and give a decent amount.
"We are alright if we have to fork out more money to finance our wedding dinner. It’s the joy of celebrating this momentous occasion with our loved ones that matter." ~ Megan & Gavin, 28-years-old, soon-to-wed
Present your monetary gift to…
You can drop your monetary gift in a collection box located at the reception table.
If there are no monetary gift collection boxes present, you can pass your gift directly to the bride or groom or to a family member*.
*Be sure that you are passing it to a correct family member to avoid awkward situations.
"The red packet gift from our guests helped pay for our honeymoon." ~ Aik Seng & Nicole, 33 years-old, married for 5 years
Best wedding monetary gift practices
1) Unsure of how much to give, ask around or check out restaurant and hotel wedding package rates online.
2) Always write your name on the gift packet
3) Make sure you give a decent amount
4) Give your gift packet with two hands
“I received a very generous cheque from my employer. It put me in an awkward position because I had been intending to quit after my wedding. Needless to say, I ended up staying for 2 more years!” – Chandra, 30, married for 2 years
“I received an ang bao (red packet) that contained a poem that the giver had specially written for me and my husband. That felt very special.” – Florence, 25 newly-wed
“We received a $2,000 ang bao from a distance relative’s friend who wasn’t invited for our wedding; we were very surprised with his generosity and couldn’t thank him enough.” – Becky and Aloysious, 31, married for 2 years
“Instead of an ang bao, a relative gave us a standing fan in a rather old box. We were dumbfounded. Anyway, we put it to good use in our new house.” – Kay, 31 & Jay, 33, married with a set of young twins
“I received an ang bao of $10 that was stapled to a taxi receipt. The receipt showed the giver had also spent $10 on his commute to my wedding. It was a terrible feeling.” – Ken, 28, married for 4 years
“I received a “fat” ang bao during my wedding and when I opened it, it was a stack of tissue packets. I was torn between feeling disgusted and shocked.” – Vicky, 32, married for 2 years
Need more help with wedding hotel/banquet pricing for 2019? Here is a useful link: https://blog.moneysmart.sg/wedding/singapore-wedding-banquet-price-list/
Have a wedding story to share? Why not drop one here!