Ask the Yangxifu: Chinese Wedding Advice

A bride and groom running through a park in the summer
(photo by Fran Flores)

I’m taking a break from posting from May 28 until June 8. But in the meantime, I’m sharing some of my classic content — which might either be new to you, or just a great read worth another look. Either way, hope you enjoy these, and I’ll see you June 11. 😉


Here in the US, June means the beginning of the season of brides, bouquets and beautiful ceremonies — wedding time. If you have weddings on your mind, check out some of my past advice for Chinese weddings.

Ask the Yangxifu: A Big, Fat, Traditional Chinese Wedding? What if your Chinese boyfriend’s parents want the big, traditional Chinese wedding — and you don’t?

Ask the Yangxifu: Chinese Wedding Gifts for the Parents. What gifts should you give to the parents for a Chinese wedding? I offer examples of wedding gifts in China, and suggestions on what to bring.

Ask the Yangxifu: Big Fat Chinese Weddings Revisited. She’s ready to marry her Shanghainese fiancee, but not ready to face the huge 5-star-hotel wedding his family wants. What should she do?

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10 thoughts on “Ask the Yangxifu: Chinese Wedding Advice

  • June 1, 2012 at 6:53 am

    My husband and I paid for our entire wedding ourselves so we did whatever we wanted. 🙂

    I say whoever is paying the bills gets to make the decisions.

  • June 2, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    June…really brings back memories. My sister got engaged sometime in the summer. I recall watching a Korean drama Sorry I love You when she got engaged afterwards.

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  • August 7, 2012 at 6:16 am

    I am a caucasian man who recently married a Chinese woman in China.
    1) Do couples kiss at their wedding in China? She was too shy to, she claims.
    2) Should I be worried that my new wife did not sit with me during the reception meal? She did not eat, and spent the whole time going from table to table serving drinks, and chatting.
    3) What happens at the end when the reception is over? She asked me to meet her across the street at a Karaoke bar with her friends while she “paid the bill”. I paid for everything, but had no say in the arrangements.
    Thanks for reading, and I look forword to your feedback.

  • August 7, 2012 at 10:27 am

    1) Most or 95 % Chinese women WON’T kiss during the wedding

    2) Normally, you and your wife should eat a little bit BEFORE the wedding because in Chinese wedding you will have to go from one table to the next ( 60 tables). If you have more tables to greet, don’t do it . It’s too tiring to do that but you have to disclose that to your wife.

    3) Yes, it is normal in some cases that you and your wife have to pay for that either for karaoke bar, pre wedding dinner etc.

    I’ve been to alot of chinese wedding so let me tell you 🙂

  • August 7, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Your guests only give red envelopes (money). The rest is all on you and your wife’s family. You ceremony is mostly for family and parents in Chinese wedding. Like Bruce said, the going around table part is expected. I think they have gone easy on you because you are foreigner, so your wife did all the work. You won’t get bachelor/bachelorette party either. But you might be subject to relentless teasing with your wife after the ceremony at your home or hotel room (Nao Dong Fang). It is the best and most fun part of a Chinese wedding. Guess you are skipped over that drama.

  • August 7, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    You know Chinese culture is about relationship between relatives, families, friends , business partners etc. Normally, you won’t see everyone going dutch like paying for your own bill in a group of 10 people. It’s weird in a way but it’ll make sense later on. YOu will love it once you have the right woman on your side. It’s called being considerated :).

    • August 7, 2012 at 8:39 pm

      @Ray, as someone who has gone through a Chinese wedding (and is actually writing about it in my forthcoming memoir) I completely agree with what the other commenters have said. My husband and I never kissed at our wedding either. We basically never got a chance to eat anything, spent pretty much the whole time toasting/entertaining our guests. We also did karaoke after our wedding ceremony/banquet and my husband’s family also picked up the entire bill on it. As for your comment about not being a part of the arrangements, well, my husband’s family also arranged pretty much everything for our wedding. So all this is to say that what you experienced is perfectly normal.

  • August 8, 2012 at 10:07 am

    @Ray, the red envelopes ( money/gifts) that your chinese relatives give to you during the wedding belong to you. If you think in a strange way like making a profit on a wedding then it’s okay also but this is not a business deal though. Don’t get me wrong. That money is for you and your wife. Actually, some Chinese weddings will make $5k to $15k USD after ALL expenses PAID like ( karoake bar, wedding banquet, limo, beer/liquor/wine) Everything is paid for. Of course, sometimes you come out on a negative $. It’ okay you don’t have to kiss her during the wedding. You can do that behind closed door all the time. I know I know culture difference is hard to get used too but you will get used to it soon. My friend just got married last yr and I told him and his wife to eat before the wedding banquet . You really don’t have time to eat there . Good Luck :).


  • January 7, 2015 at 6:21 am

    My american son married a Chinese girl and I know we are expected to give a gift of money but I’m not sure how much. We go to China to visit them this spring and I want to give appropriate amount. Also how much for new baby?


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