Wedding hongbao guide for the clueless

WHENEVER accountant Ryan Loh, 28, gets invited to a wedding reception, he checks with his friends to find out how much money he should put in the red packet, or hongbao, for the happy couple.

And if the banquet is at an upmarket hotel, he would give more.

Guests at Chinese wedding dinners traditionally give the newlyweds a hongbao as a gift.

It used to be that guests would check with older friends or relatives to prepare an appropriate amount but, of late, wedding sites and netizens have been uploading wedding hongbao rates, giving clueless adults another resource to use.

For instance, wedding portal Perfect Weddings, run by J2 Media Solutions, has drawn up a table listing the market rates for wedding hongbao.

The table, titled Wedding Ang Bao Market Rates 2012, contains a list of recommended amounts for 52 hotels popular with newlyweds.

It was posted on Perfect Weddings' website,, last month. The website also contains tips for couples who are planning a wedding.

Perfect Weddings' wedding hongbao table listing rates for last year and early this year has been making its rounds on social media and was posted on citizen-journalism website Stomp earlier this month.

A Perfect Weddings spokesman told my paper that the guide was created to let guests know the appropriate amounts to put in their red packets.

Many newly married couples the site consulted lamented about financial losses they incurred from hosting a wedding banquet.

"For example, a family of two parents and three teenagers may give a hongbao of only $250, but the actual cost for five people easily amounts to $100 per person, or a total of $500," said the spokesman.

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