How much should I give for wedding hongbao?

Q:

My husband is the engineering manager of his companies office here and his #2 Chinese guy is getting married this weekend. The wedding reception is outside Shanghai, smaller town, and will last all day. We are wondering what is appropriate hongbao to give? The other post I read on wedding hongbao were dated 2009 so this subject could probably use some updating anyway.

A:
I have been to two weddings, and in both cases, gave 200 RMB as hongbao, but in both cases, we lent our apartment, computer for overheads, and my wife was a helper to the brides, collecter of hongbao, etc etc.
That would be absolute minimum.
As this guy is #2 in the company, that makes a big difference.
I presume you are going as a couple, so it is important to give one hongbao as a couple.
To do otherwise is unlucky.
Similarly, give hongbao as an even number. An odd number is also unlucky.
All in all, I would suggest 2,000 to be appropriate.
This has nothing to do with it, but a great deal of mana is gained, by having a few Expats at a Chinese wedding.

I would suggest that 2,000 for the couple, if the husband holds a very senior position, is a little on the low side.
A Chinese young person (i.e. recently graduated) could give a good friend from 600-1,000 RMB depending on how close, even if they attend the wedding alone.

2000 is reasonable as a hong bao but never worth getting drunk at a Chinese wedding. I imagine your wife’s friend is not Shanghainese. Generally, Shanghainese weddings are sad affairs – drop the hong bao, suck on some crab, drink huang jiu or Imperial Court, play games, expensive gumball bai jiu, everyone home by 10 pm….
Give 2888 and no.2 would consider it eternal bad luck to ever cross your husband. Also, bring with you a bottle of Baccardi 151 or some expensive Saki when they come over to your table to toast – win/win because you’ll not only avoid the Imperial Court or Baijiu, but also contribute a nice, subtle touch (and strong booze)

 

A Suzhou native.

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