How much does it cost a man to get married in China? Clue: it involves a flat and wads of cash
Presents are traditionally given by groom to future parents in-law to secure bride’s hand, but cost has rocketed over the past four years, survey suggests
It has become even more expensive to get married in China, particularly in the north, with the cost of betrothal gifts in the capital rising more than 20 fold after just four years, according to a survey.
A groom in Beijing now has to present his prospective in-laws with a 200,000 yuan (HK$29,000) cash gift and buy an apartment for his future wife to win their daughter’s hand in marriage, the study conducted by the state-run People’s Daily newspaper found.
The same study four years ago, which maps out the average cost of betrothal gifts in cities across China, found that a groom only had to give 10,000 yuan in cash and other gifts to gain his prospective in-laws’ blessing.
The exchange of betrothal gifts has been part of Chinese wedding tradition since ancient times. However, China’s population control policies along with some Chinese families’ traditional preference to have sons rather than daughters have created a demographic imbalance.
The increasing shortage of women in recent years has caused the groom’s family to pay significantly more for betrothal gifts.
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The increase in cost is most acutely felt by families in the north, particularly in provinces surrounding Beijing. A man in Baoding in Hebei Province told the newspaper that each groom in his village has to give cash in different coloured notes, which symbolise a colourful wedding and marriage.
He said in order to achieve that each groom ends up paying the bride’s family a cash gift made up of 10,000 five-yuan bills, 1,000 100-yuan bills and an additional stash of 50-yuan bills. The total amount given is always a minimum of 150,000 yuan, he said.
However, the study revealed that the cost of betrothal gifts in some southern cities has levelled and even started to fall compared with four years ago.
It suggested that brides in the south may have a higher chance of marrying somebody whose families have lived in the same area for sometime. This meant a daughter would stay in the district and her family would be less inclined to demand more money as a betrothal gift, the report said.
The study showed that the cost of betrothal gifts in Shanghai has remained about the same over the past four years. Yingde, a city in Guangdong province, has experienced a 90 per cent drop in the cost of betrothal gifts over the past 35 years, with the groom having to pay less than 20,000 yuan in cash.