‘Friendship is priceless’: couple’s ‘no money gift’ passes for wedding guests praised amid China’s frugality drive
- Chinese people traditionally give red envelopes with money enclosed at weddings, funerals, birthday parties and other important occasions
- China has launched a nationwide campaign to curb extravagant weddings and funerals that have been deemed wasteful and too complex
A couple in China have designed a “no money gift” pass for their wedding guests to spare them from the controversial Chinese tradition of giving cash as wedding presents amid the country’s frugality drive.
The man, surnamed Chen, and the woman, surnamed Shi, have been praised online for their innovative approach, which they said is aimed at simplifying their wedding as the usual lavish rituals are an increasing financial burden for many, the Qianjiang Evening News reported on Wednesday.
The couple, both aged 28, tied the knot last week in Zhejiang, eastern China. They sent out the passes along with the wedding invitations to friends and relatives of marrying age.
The receivers were told to put the pass in a red envelope to replace cash before handing it out at the wedding.
The creative method works both ways – the couple can reuse the returned “no money gift” pass when they attend the receiver’s wedding in the future.
“In order not to create a burden for each other, my wife proposed the idea of mutual exemption from cash gifts,” Chen said.
Chinese people traditionally give red envelopes with money enclosed at weddings, funerals, birthday parties and other important occasions.
The amount varies from as little as 50 yuan (US$7) to several thousand yuan (hundreds of US dollars) depending on the income level of the area and how close the relationship is.
Inspired by film tickets, the Hangzhou couple’s self-designed pass has two parts – one section has the receiver’s name and is reusable by the couple in the future and the other half has their wedding information.
“With this pass, there’s no need to gift money,” a message emblazoned on the pass.
Other messages on the pass included – “Friendship is priceless” and “We have received your good wishes”.
While older guests followed the money-gift tradition, Chen said they sent the passes to more than 20 friends and relatives around their age and most of them accepted the idea happily. One of them even called it “an invention of the 21st century”, and another said, “it’s worth being promoted nationwide”.
“We think that we have a perfect wedding. Everybody had fun and we received all their good wishes,” Chen said.
In an ongoing nationwide frugality campaign over the past decade, China has been cracking down on extravagant weddings and funerals deemed wasteful and too complex.
Problems targeted in the campaign include “sky-high” monetary gifts, lavish rituals, a perceived need to keep up with neighbours, and the trend of “being stingy in providing for living elderly parents but holding extravagant funerals after their death”, according to several directives issued by the central government in the past few years.