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Thread: My brother's wedding in Taiwan--Help please!

  1. #1
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    My brother's wedding in Taiwan--Help please!

    My younger brother is getting married in Taiwan in a couple of weeks, and so of course I'm going to visit Taiwan for the ceremonies. Is there anything I should know about wedding ceremonies in Taiwan?

    Specifically, I was curious about what I should wear. (Other advice is good, too! )

    If it was in Japan, I would be sure to wear a white tie, but I heard that white is not a good color in Taiwan. I heard that red is a good color, but men generally don't wear red at weddings in Taiwan.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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    OK, I suppose I should be a little more specific!

    My brother is American, and his wife to be is Taiwanese. Her family is relatively well to do, but they're trying to keep it small (only about 120 guests! And that's mostly on her side. I can only imagine what a big wedding would be like!)

    Her family is basically arranging most everything, so it will be quite Taiwanese. Which means that my brother is not getting many exceptions on local custom just because he's a foreigner! Poor guy! Hahaha!

    I have never been to Taiwan before, nor mainland China for that matter, so needless to say, I don't know much about anything that might be pertinent to weddings there!

    Some more specific questions:

    1. What is this red envelope that I hear about? Should I pay it, too, considering that I AM immediate family? If so, what would be a good amount? (any currency is OK. I'll convert later.)

    2. I heard that at weddings, "face" is everything. As a practical matter, what does this mean?

    3. Just so it's not forgotten, I'd love any guidelines for dress. Or should I just dress the same as I would in Japan or America?

    Thanks again!

  3. #3
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    Just for future reference.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mikawa Ossan
    Some more specific questions:
    1. What is this red envelope that I hear about? Should I pay it, too, considering that I AM immediate family? If so, what would be a good amount? (any currency is OK. I'll convert later.)
    It turns out that I had misinterpreted this red envelope thing entirely. They did not receive this red envelope, but rather gave it out to certain members of their guests.
    2. I heard that at weddings, "face" is everything. As a practical matter, what does this mean?
    I'm still not sure what this meant, so I guess from a non-Taiwanese point of view it's not something to worry about?
    3. Just so it's not forgotten, I'd love any guidelines for dress. Or should I just dress the same as I would in Japan or America?
    It seemed that if I dressed formally the same I might in America that I would be OK. My advice to anyone else who might be in the same situation I was in is to wear a nice dress suit and a nice tie. Nothing to worry about.

    BTW, it was a great wedding! It went by way too fast, and now I have a new sister-in-law!

    Of course now my other brother is getting married, too...

  4. #4
    Regular Member godppgo's Avatar
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    hello Mikawa Ossan,

    Didn't see your post until now. Sounds like you did okay afterall! Just wondering, was your bro's wedding western style? Many young Taiwnaese couples now prefer western style wedding (eg, getting married at church then have party afterwards). Traditional wedding is less common nowadays.

  5. #5
    Seeing is believing Minty's Avatar
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    Too bad I have only joined this forum last month otherwise I could give you some good suggestions.

    Now, there is a movie by Ang Lee called gThe wedding Banqueth available to English speaking audiences. Although the wedding in there is a stereotypical wedding of Taiwanese but I think it will give foreigners a basic guide of what to expect. Warning: the theme of the story is about gay (if you are sensitive to gays, itfs probably not a good idea to watch this film) but the wedding in there is between a man and a woman in a Taiwanese style.

    It turns out that I had misinterpreted this red envelope thing entirely. They did not receive this red envelope, but rather gave it out to certain members of their guests.
    You can choose to give red pockets/envelopes instead of gifts, they also give out gifts or red envelopes to their guests for attending the wedding.
    I heard that at weddings, "face" is everything. As a practical matter, what does this mean? I'm still not sure what this meant, so I guess from a non-Taiwanese point of view it's not something to worry about?
    In Chinese/Taiwanese society, position within the group, rather than over the group or in distinction to it, is far more important than independence from the group. Likewise, respect for others ("face") is of paramount importance and is manifested through gift giving, deference, not publicly disagreeing, public honours within a group, and so forth. Both relationship networks (guanxi) and the social stature of face (myan tzi) are enshrouded in public rituals (li), which express status, respect and bonding, in formal terms.

    It seemed that if I dressed formally the same I might in America that I would be OK. My advice to anyone else who might be in the same situation I was in is to wear a nice dress suit and a nice tie. Nothing to worry about.
    For Taiwanese/Chinese weddings, typical business suit would do it for men and for women a blazer with matching skirts or pants other wise a dress would be fine.

    However I think in Indian cultures and Muslims cultures, people seem very traditional still in their weddings. At least that is what I have seen, but more and more Chinese/Taiwanese in general are getting married in contemporary Western style today.

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    Thank you, Minty! It was very interesting to read what you had to say. If I ever see "The Wedding Banquet" at the video store, I'll be sure to check it out!

    Quote Originally Posted by godppgo
    hello Mikawa Ossan,
    Didn't see your post until now. Sounds like you did okay afterall! Just wondering, was your bro's wedding western style? Many young Taiwnaese couples now prefer western style wedding (eg, getting married at church then have party afterwards). Traditional wedding is less common nowadays.
    I honestly don't know how traditional it was. The impression I got from my brother was that it was a kind of compromise.

    We had the red envelopes, we the brothers went to her house on the morning to pick her up, I offered her tea when she arrive, there was no church, before the actual ceremony my family and her family were in a little room and accepted visitors wishing the newlyweds good luck, etc. The ceremony itself was mostly just a bunch of people giving speeches and then a big cake.

    After the ceremony there was a huge dinner reception party.

    My joke throughout the who process was that I was the "worthless" brother because I wasn't the oldest, nor was I getting married. I was just extra luggage. (Just a joke.)

    By the way, we went with gold-colored neckties.

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