Culture Shock! China - A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette, 2nd Edition

(Kiana) #1
Socialising 75

If you are invited to be a guest
at a Chinese wedding, a preferred
gift is a red envelope with money
inside. If the person being married
is an employee, you should give
them a generous portion of crisp
100 Rmb notes, preferably adding
up to a number that signifies
good luck, like eight. At a lavish
banquet, it could be upwards
of 1,000 Rmb. Check with local
friends to confirm what would be expected in the city of
the wedding.
When you first enter the restaurant, there will be a guest
book to sign at a reception table. Usually sometime after
that, you will be asked to take photos with the bride and
groom, which is when you give them the red envelope.
After photos are taken, you should be escorted to an
assigned seat at the table. The host and hostess are usually
very thoughtful about making you feel at ease and will try to
seat you with people that you can speak with or that may have
something in common with you, like being foreigners.
At the end of the evening, a group of friends will
accompany the bride and groom to their hotel room and
orchestrate a number of mildly naughty games to cajole and
embarrass the newlyweds. They are then left alone to start
their new life together.
That doesn’t last for long though, most young couples end
up living with their parents until they can afford to purchase a
house of their own. It is not unusual for multiple generations
of family to live together in China. Oftentimes, should a couple
afford to buy a house of their own and live independently, it is
only a short time until they have a child and need their parents
close by to care for the child while they work.

Pregnancy and Childbirth

In China, a woman is only allowed to give birth to one child,
so pregnancy is a very careful time for Chinese women. If
she works in an office, she will immediately begin wearing

Do not be surprised if you are
asked on the spot to give a
speech or make a toast. It is still
considered a bit of a novelty and
an honor to have foreigners at
the wedding. Foreigners living
in more rural areas have been
invited to weddings of virtual
strangers only to find that they are
the guest of honor at the wedding,
expected to give speeches and
make drinking rounds with the
bride and groom.
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