One of the main reasons that we planned this years South East Asia trip was to attend our friends wedding in Singapore. Being that they have different customs than us, we did some research and asked family members in Singapore beforehand what we need to expect and what rules we need to follow.
#1 – Formal attire:
Usually, Chinese weddings are formal events and unlike weddings in western countries where you can dress more casually, it is expected that you dress formal to the wedding.
#2 – Appropriate amount of money for the gift:
Depending on where the wedding will be held, there’s a certain amount of money per person that you should give per as a gift. We found the website Wedding Ang Bao very helpful for this. The amount we had to gift wasn’t unreasonable according to us, but as you can see some of them can be a bit high. The idea behind is that you “cover” your own dinner, reason why it’s more expensive in certain restaurants. An important tradition is that the money should not be given in fours or the number four should not appear in the amount given, because the pronunciation of the word four is the same as for the word “death”. Preferred number that should appear in the amount is 8.
#3 – Red Envelope Ang Bao
This is where you actually put the money in to gift. There’sa variety of these available at several Chinese Stationary stores. Get someone to help you in the store, so that you don’t buy a happy birthday ang bao by mistake. The red color stands for good luck and is supposed to ward off evil spirits.
#4 – Formal dinner:
Yes, 8-course meal please! On the invitation it said that dinner will start at 7pm sharp, in the end we started eating around 8pm. Apparently, this is a Singaporean custom that the dinner starts a bit later then what is mentioned. But we didn’t mind, we made some friends, had some drinks, talked a bit and waited patiently for the dinner to start. The food will be placed in the middle of the table and every body can serve themselves. Boy, did we eat. Course after course and it was super delicious. Only the best gets served at weddings.
#5 – Toasting:
Yuuuuuuuum Seng! This is what you say during the 3 toasts. The MC usually says a few best wishes to the couple, such as best wishes for health, eternal love etc. after which every body raises their glasses and yell for a very long time “Yum” and finishes it with “Seng”. This was so much fun to do! Sometimes the couple also walks around to greet their guests and there will also be toasting then.
The dinner party didn’t go until the wee hours, but we were home at the decent time of 11pm. We had so much fun and want to wish the happy couple all the best of love in their marriage!