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It is considered embarrassing in Chinese culture to ask for gifts, so couples may not create a gift registry.
The most popular wedding gift is cash in a red envelope. Guests should use new, crisp bills and include the number 8 in the amount, such as $88 or 188. The monetary amount should cover the costs of your meal (and any family members that you bring.)
If you decide to bring a gift, stay away from the following:
- clocks (which signify death)
- knives and umbrellas (which signify separation)
- towels (which are given away at funerals)
- gifts in sets of four (the word four sounds like the word for death)
- A green hat (which is the symbol of a cuckold)
If you bring a gift, you should wrap it in red, pink, yellow, or gold paper and bows. Avoid white or black, because those colors are associated with funerals.
If you have the chance to present the gift to the couple, offer it with both hands. They won’t open in front of you because that’s considered greedy. But they will remember how much you gave them and reciprocate in the future.
If you are engaged and on the fence about whether to create a gift registry, we recommend doing so. You may feel awkward asking for gifts, but the truth is that if you’re getting married, people will want to give you something. Many guests will give you red envelopes, but others, especially if they are young or American, will feel like cash is impersonal. Those people will stress about what to get you and you may end up with some items that you don’t want or need. We personally get stressed about gift giving and LOVE it when people make it easy for us by creating registries.
When we got married, we each created two registries–one on Crate and Barrel for people who like shopping in stores and one on Amazon for people who like the convenience of online shopping.
We received cash from about half of our guests and gifts from the other half. We loved that we were able to pay for a substantial percentage of our wedding with the cash that we received and stock our home with beautiful items that remind us of the gift-givers every time we use them.
Christine’s approach to creating a registry was to ask for high quality staple items. She has always wanted a beautiful home, but her frugal upbringing made it hard for her to splurge for anything nicer than the cheapest possible option. One of her favorite gift was eight sets of dishes. These pale blue dishes were more luxurious than she would have opted for if she bought them herself ($50 a set), but they were reasonable enough for everyday use.