Once the wedding is over, whose job is it to cover the expenses? That is a question that many newly-wedded couples of asian culture find tricky to answer as it can be a sensitive topic at times.
Whilst there is no right or wrong as to who the responsibility of paying falls to, it is a good idea to be aware of past wedding etiquettes that have been in place for generations.
Photo credits to: Stanstills Photography
Traditionally, in an Asian wedding setting such as those in China and Malaysia, the groom’s family would be the ones required to pay for the entire wedding expense along with a dowry and/or a bride price beforehand. A bride price is considered to be the money given by the groom to the bride’s parents as thanks for raising the bride up until the day of the wedding. In return, the bride’s family will return some of the dowry given as a gesture of goodwill. The red packets given as gifts from wedding guests are also given to the groom’s parents to offset the costs of the wedding.
There are also some Asian countries such as Singapore that favour the custom of splitting the expenses between the bride and the groom’s families. In this case, the groom and his family would still pay for most of the wedding expenses including the bride price. However, the bride and her family will also help cover some of the expenses such as dresses for both the bride herself and her bridesmaids, red packet gifts and relevant fees if a church wedding is in order.
Photo credits to: Knottin’ Visuals
But what happens when westerners are thrown into the mix of Asian wedding traditions? In this day and age of globalisation, intercultural marriages are becoming for frequent. Yet, issues can be created since Asian wedding expense customs would differ greatly from the weddings of the western society. Misunderstandings can come into play from this as the parents of the western groom may wonder why they are asked to pay a bride price to their future daughter-in-law’s parents. Problems from this lack of understanding can result in the unfair situation of the bride’s parents taking advantage of the groom’s family by asking for a higher bride price amount as well as making the wedding bigger than what they can pay for as an attempt to save face.
In these situations, the best thing to do for both families is to have some time coming together to discuss the wedding expenses. During this time, it would also be good to highlight that since it is a joining of two cultures, compromisation of who pays for the wedding should be in place to reflect fairness.
Looking back at the end of the day, the focus shouldn’t be on who pays for the wedding expenses, it should be about remembering all the magical moments of your perfect wedding as a whole. After all, a wedding day is truly a special one for the bride and groom!
Article was written by Christine Yong