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Wedding Essentials

Give the right gifts at the right time

Etiquette expert Suzenne Zeng and wedding planners give advice on what to give at various wedding celebrations
The Straits Times - March 18, 2012
By: Cheryl Faith Wee
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Give the right gifts at the right time -- PHOTO: NEX

Engagement parties

A red packet is fine but gifts for the couple are even better. Consider giving jewellery, a bottle of champagne or a gift basket with wine and chocolates.

Bridal showers

Since this is normally held between two months and a fortnight before the wedding banquet, gifts which the bride can use in her new home might be suitable, such as household objects such as crockery, bedlinen and blenders.

Brides can make gift-hunting easier for their friends by signing up for a bridal gift registry at department stores such as Takashimaya.

Hen and stag parties

Organised and paid for by close friends of the bride and groom, family members are usually not invited. Lingerie and underwear are common gifts, depending on the atmosphere of the party.

Solemnisation ceremonies

For those held on a separate day from the wedding banquet, present the bride with a bouquet of flowers or chocolates.

Guests from the older generation might still prefer to give red packets for good luck.

The amount in the red packet usually depends on whether the ceremony is followed by light refreshments or a formal sit-down meal, but it normally ranges beween $80 and $200.

If you are unable to make it for the wedding banquet, this is a good time to present a red packet to the couple.

Wedding banquets

Standard practice is to give red packets containing $80 to $200. If you cannot make it at the last minute, it is polite to send a red packet to the couple anyway.


Usually takes place right after the wedding banquet. Guests adjourn to a bar or lounge in the hotel where the banquet is held. It might also take place at a club or pub. No gift or red packet is required.

Weddings abroad

No hard-and-fast rule. Some couples cover airfare and accommodation expenses for close friends. Those invited to multiple banquets or celebrations, such as one here and another abroad, can just give one big fat red packet at one of the events.


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