6:14 pm - 05/15/2019

For Koreans, cash wedding gifts are stressful but inescapable

A foreign resident of South Korea posted a tricky question on a website where users share information on local culture and life.

Titled, "Most appropriate amount of congratulatory money," it was about a company colleague who was getting married.

"We are close enough to say hi when we see each other. ... We have never met outside of work. What do you think is the most appropriate amount to pay?" it reads.

One reply stood out.

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What do you bring to a wedding, Omona? Besides your charming personality and the hope of an open bar, of course. Personally, I love it when there's a gift registry. Just hop into a Crate and Barrel and pick up whatever they want and already picked out, so easy. If they ask for cash that's cool too. But I really like shopping for gifts lol.

source: Yonhap News
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synatri 16th-May-2019 05:11 am (UTC)
I actually had no idea Korean weddings worked that way! Personally idt sending out hundreds of invitations is unusual in itself (I've been to wedding receptions with over 800 guests and having 400~500 guests isn't particularly uncommon in my country), but do the guests pay for their own food in the reception?
u_know 16th-May-2019 05:29 am (UTC)
Cash wedding gifts are super common in my part of India, like I've seen people give thousands of dollars, even more sometimes. Or just straight up gold coins and shit lol.
prlsb4swiine 16th-May-2019 06:49 am (UTC)
lmao i had one aunt give me two envelopes of money, one for me and one for my sister. and i was like ????? but i also def remember getting a lot of money when she got married too lol
prlsb4swiine 16th-May-2019 06:53 am (UTC)
i asked for cash at my wedding, as per tradition. the people who struggled the most with it were the random white co workers my parents invited. i kept getting texts asking me for a link to my registry??? like lol no there's nothing material i want please, my mother has been stockpiling appliances since i was 13, we have plenty. too many to fit in our flat actually. please just give us some cash/venmo so we can make rent yall I'd really appreciate it.
pseudo_shigure 16th-May-2019 07:25 am (UTC)
hmmmmm it's interesting. bc in my country people usually also invite hundreds of people to their wedding, like i guess 200 is the usual number and ofc it means they expected to get 500 people. that huge number is bc it includes your parents cousins, and their friends and coworkers, etc) like it's not just your event, it's also your parents event (so you know, when the parents are important people then it's gonna be a HUGE wedding). and idek if it's included in that 200 or not but people usually also casually invite people through FB and WA group (but i guess they're not really expected to come). and we also usually have buffet in our weddings.

but, i dont think there's a set number for the cash you're suppose to give them. like i'm cheap so i still leave around 5usd for wedding (i think you're supposed to at least give twice of that lol). but i don't think that means it's super rude or anything bc i guess in our culture it's not polite to expect something from your guests. so it's more like a tip for the bride and groom. and most people don't even have to write their name on the envelope (bc it's also impolite to tell people how much money you give them i guess). but for super close friends we usually give them few items for their new home like bedding, rice cooker, plates, cups, stuff like that. Also, i don't think super close family, like your parents siblings are expected to give anything for the wedding, bc most likely your aunt and uncle already help you with the whole process, esp if you're following the real tradition with post and pre wedding events. if anything you're the one who's expected to dress them for the wedding bc they're gonna be the one standing around receiving guests.

Edited at 2019-05-16 07:35 am (UTC)
hellicoptajuuce 16th-May-2019 08:13 am (UTC)
I wonder if ethnicity has anything to do with how kucb is guven. When i went to my cousin's wedding his in laws gave the couple like $5k and they annouced it at the function but every else gave like 50-200 bucks
jwaaaa 16th-May-2019 08:37 am (UTC)
every culture is different..
gdithero 16th-May-2019 09:44 am (UTC)
South Koreans distribute invitation cards to hundreds or even thousands of people. lmao nooooo but ngl in my area it's super common for invited guests to show up with their family in tow.
dior_chic 16th-May-2019 11:11 am (UTC)
I never been to a wedding and tbh reading this post, as I’m not a big gift giver (when I chose to give gifts I love it, but when it’s expected of me....it sours it for me) it sounds really unappealing lol.

Now that I think about it, I’ve never gone since when I do receive invites it’s for family members I don’t know or care about 😬 I feel like I must be really close to someone to actually go. My friends don’t seem like they’ll be marrying anytime soon, we’re all single haha. My siblings might get married soon, so that would be my real first experience then

Edited at 2019-05-16 11:27 am (UTC)
lil_poisonfrog 16th-May-2019 12:10 pm (UTC)
Lol I'm the same way. I probably sound like a cheap wedding hater in this post haha. The truth is I've enjoyed the weddings I've been to and luckily they were for my cousins who are cool and wouldn't judge people for what gifts they bought (at least not openly lol). If you're inviting someone as a guest to an event you're putting on, all they owe you is their attendance (if they RSVP) and any gift is extra. At least that's how I feel about American weddings.
lyzame 16th-May-2019 12:30 pm (UTC)
In my country we don't even bother with actual gifts... no one practices that anymore. We just give money in an envelope before we leave the reception.
dropthecrates 16th-May-2019 01:01 pm (UTC)
i give $100 but that's because i'm only ever invited to weddings of close friends and we're all poor lol. a friend of mine got married and i flew to japan for the wedding and THEY gave ME gifts and money for going all that way so i gave about the amount mentioned in the article, 30,000 yen? i think i've only gone to three weddings since my friends all got old enough to think marriage was a good idea
hillando 16th-May-2019 01:06 pm (UTC)
The timing of this post is spot on lmao

I'm going to my hagwon owner's daughter's wedding on Saturday (all the teachers are going), and the invitation specifically told us not to prepare any presents or money. Fast forward to today when the Korean teachers said we should give money anyway, because is it "good manners". Well, how much to give? It is the owner's daughter, but we've never met her in our lives. We decided on 30k just because we don't personally know the couple.
existingisfunny 16th-May-2019 01:39 pm (UTC)
I've only gone to one wedding as an adult and I was also a bridesmaid. I bought a $30 appliance from registry, paid for my nails, shoes, and transportation there but my best friend paid for my dress (which was only $60. Extremely lowkey.) I think her parents paid for our hotel rooms and we decided to have the "bachelorette party" after her honeymoon because she was getting stressed about time lol.

If I were to be invited as a guest, I would still opt for a registry buy or cash. I don't know why it has to be so complicated but very strange to invite people you hardly know... Especially if you have the burden of paying for venue and food? I suppose paying $30 as a gift is basically covering your food, as if it was another dining out experience.
olivier_dathos 16th-May-2019 02:12 pm (UTC)
I’ve only been to one Korean wedding. They paid for our flights over, our hotel, all transportation, organised sightseeing for us and even took us out for dinner on their wedding night.

The wedding was on a floor of a wedding hall but when you entered the main room, after the money desk and greeting the bride in her little room, it was all set out for meals. There was a raised stage walkway down the middle of the room, which the bride and groom walked down together, which led to the front stage. On either side were round tables already set for a three course meal.

We sat there for the ceremony and afterwards, as the food was brought out, they took multiple photos (his side, her side, all young people), tossed the bouquet (the catcher had been chosen in advance and they did it until they got the perfect photo), cut the cake (it was wheeled out, cut, photo taken, and then wheeled away never to be seen again) and the groom touched his lips to the brides for about a minute while the photographer changed angles. It was almost as if all those little things from an American movie were included, but only for the sake of getting a photo of it.

While we ate the couple went to another room for the traditional part in the traditional wedding outfits where they bowed to their parents multiple times, poured wine at a table and tossed chestnuts into the bride’s skirt; we were personally invited to come watch. The wedding photos were taken in multiple outfits months ahead of the wedding. It all would have taken about two hours.

We gave some money at the desk, but gave them our real presents that night which we had carefully picked from home to give something quality and unique to our country.

I’ve never been to a wedding with a registry.

Edited at 2019-05-16 02:15 pm (UTC)
lil_poisonfrog 16th-May-2019 02:39 pm (UTC)
This sounds like a dream tbh, given that they paid for almost everything and the actual wedding part was so efficient. The part about the cake is funny tho, I wonder if anyone ended up eating it lol
myungung 16th-May-2019 02:18 pm (UTC)
and here I am thinking, wow that's pretty cheap for a wedding. I've been so socialised by my culture to think that weddings are hell lot of money to pay (usually $100+ for a banquet).

I hate that weddings in my culture are so expensive, and pretty extravagant, when most couples don't want a big wedding/banquet. but because of tradition, and parents' wishes, it's hard to go against. that said, I do give above $200 for close friends weddings. I'm just glad that I haven't had the chance to reject going to weddings that I didn't want to go yet.
torontok 16th-May-2019 02:27 pm (UTC)
Being south asian it's crazy to me how others are expected to pay to be in someone else's wedding like with bridesmaids. Here families are expected to cover the cost and guests don't pay anything. You can either give a gift or "salaam" which are cash gifts.The most I've ever had to give for salaam was.10k rupees which is about 20 dollars. My sister married in March and even I got gift money from some relatives which was nice
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