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People's Daily Online>>China Society

As wedding bells ring, pockets empty out


09:24, January 04, 2012

BEIJING, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- Li Wanfei, 27, stuffs a red envelope with cash as a gift to her friend who is getting married during the New Year holiday.

Nowadays in China, wedding presents are a thing of the past -- the trend is cash, and there's pressure to put the right amount in the red envelopes.

"I would feel ashamed to give less than average, especially for my close friends," Li said. "The sum represents our friendship and intimacy."

Despite being on a tight budget, Li and her husband refuse to be stingy. They gave at least 15,000 yuan (2,377 U.S. dollars) as wedding gifts in 2011.

Li usually gives 200 or 300 yuan for colleagues, 500 for ordinary friends, and 1,000 or more for close friends. Her husband even gave his cousin 10,000 yuan, hoping to convey the deep love he has for his cousin.

Lavish wedding ceremonies have become increasingly popular as China's economy has grown, and the more lavish the wedding, the more money the bride and groom can expect to receive as gifts.

Wedding invitations tend to come more often during the holidays, as the days off make it convenient for relatives and friends to attend.

Hu Xunzhi, a 26-year-old bachelor working in construction in Beijing, will attend three wedding ceremonies during the New Year season, and he had already attended two during National Day holiday in 2011.

"For invitations coming from not-so-familiar colleagues, gift money is a headache," Hu said.

Two decades ago, people didn't have such dilemmas. They gave presents instead of money.

Ge Guimin, 55, got married in 1986 in Beijing. She and her husband held a simple ceremony with about 30 people, and they received a small sum of money and some presents, such as bedclothes and decorations.

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