I’m no big fan of Chinese weddings, I feel like I’m taking part in some low budget tv game show where the happy couple are led through a variety of trials like filling a champagne waterfall (which nobody ever drinks and the waitresses eventually throw away), drinking a shot of baijiu or something through linked arms, kissing the bride under a spotlight while bombarded with bubbles from a machine and “romantic” music, drinking a shot of baijiu with every single male guest at the wedding. All of this is done with full commentary by a wannabe with a microphone, typically at ear-splitting volumes. God knows what happens if they don’t get enough points, they probably have to go through the whole lot again.

Fortunately the one I went to the other week wasn’t at all bad actually, it was quite a sober affair which gave us chance to liven it up with some hard drinking and frequent back-slapping, “ganbei”ing tours of the tables.

Of course you have to take a gift, a hongbao full of money which the best man keeps in his murse for the rest of the evening for safe keeping. Deciding on the amount of money is a nightmare, you pretty much have to discuss with every other guest at the wedding, discussing how much everybody is giving and then adjusting your own amount so that you look slightly more generous than people of a similar level (i.e. colleague, superior, big boss, friend etc) to you. Oh, of course you have to take the number into account too, it should end in an 8 because it’s lucky but it’s not as easy as giving say 888 rmb because potentially if they split the money they’ve got 444 rmb each which is VERY VERY BAD!!

I thought I’d liven it up a bit with something extra in the packet:

Yes, they’re the same ones from last year, actually exactly the same ones, they were a bit out of date if truth be told, anyway, they’d both make good parents, I’m sure of it.

The gamble paid off anyway,as I thought the bride decided to delay the more usual wedding night activities in order to count the money in all the envelopes and was in for a nice surprise.


Yes, there are supposed to be 10, I ripped one off before shoving them in the envelope, sure enough the groom asked me a few days later:

“but why were there only nine?”

“yeah, I used one on the way to the wedding”