Like I said in my pervious wedding post, weddings in Taiwan are deeply rooted in culture and traditions and the actual wedding invitation is no exception. However, like most wedding traditions, invitations vary from country to country and culture to culture. There are several differences relating to invitations in Taiwan and Canada and these differences will be explored in this post.
One Invitation – Specific People Vs. One Entire Family
In Canada, it is a general rule that every adult or adult couple receives an invitation and children are asked on their parent’s invitation. Most unmarried adults receive an invite with their name and guest, giving them the option to bring someone to the wedding or not. For example, when my cousin got married, my parents received an invitation, my sister’s family received one, and my husband and I received one as well totalling three invitations for my immediate family.
In Taiwan, however, things are done quite differently. One invitation is given and covers an entire family. When my husband’s mom receives one from a relative, that invitation includes all of her children, their spouses, as well as the grandchildren. Usually one invitation can fill up an entire table (consisting of seating for 10 people). If the bride or groom is a friend or former classmate, then the invitation usually extends to the immediate family of the guest.
Receiving the Red Bomb – Different Cultures, Differing Impressions
For the most part, receiving an invitation in Canada is considered an honor and a kind gesture. The couple considers your presence important enough to include you in their special day. Most people feel happy to share in the celebration of the couple’s love and joy as they begin their new life together as husband and wife. Attending a wedding is usually viewed in a positive light, as most weddings are full day events and it is the opportunity to eat, drink, and be merry with family and close friends.
But, like I mentioned in my previous wedding post, when the ‘red bomb’ is delivered or arrives by mail in Taiwan, it is sometimes viewed in a negative light. The ‘red bomb’ is viewed as a draining of money or funds since the amount given depends on specific relationships and connections with the individual (or couple). Attending a wedding in Taiwan sometimes means big bucks, as the amount given to the couple is not based on what you can afford, but on what is culturally expected of you to give. Also, money given at previous weddings is factored in as well – as you need to ‘return’ the money previously given to you or your family. (more on this in the future)
For example, when my husband and I got married, he was reluctant to ask some of his friends as he was concerned that they would view his invitation as a ‘red bomb’ and asking for money, especially his buddies who had small weddings with no wedding receptions. That being said, he did not hesitate to invite the friends of weddings he attended.
Amount of Notice Given – Minimum Notice vs. Months Notice
In Canada, guests are notified months, sometimes an entire year in advance of the couples intent to marry on a specific date by the couple either emailing or mailing ‘Save the Date’ cards. The actual invitations are sent out three to four months before the wedding, allowing guests ample time to make transportation and accommodation arrangements and to organized other travel details.
However, in Taiwan, this is not the case. Invitations are usually given out a couple of weeks before the wedding.
Stating You Intent – Specific Numbers Vs. A Guessing Game
There is usually a response card enclosed in a Canadian wedding invitation. However, these days most couples ask guests to forward their responses via e-mail. Responses should be RSVPed and received no later than a month prior to the wedding. This gives the couple and the wedding organizers enough time to compile accurate numbers, create seating plans and notify the carter of meal options required.
But in Taiwan, no response card is given and no response is necessary, so it becomes a guessing game regarding how many people will actually show up. That being said, tables can be added and subtracted at a moment’s notice at some wedding venues. (More on that in a later post)
The Actual Invitation – Traditional Vs. Personal Preference
Canadian (and most Western) invitations display the personal preference of the couple, often including their wedding color scheme and symbols relating to love like hearts and rings.
However, Taiwanese wedding invitations, containing the Chinese character ‘xi,’ are deeply roots beliefs and traditions. But these days, wedding invitations are becoming more customized to include photos from the pre-wedding photo shoot.
Although wedding invitations may be different in Canada and Taiwan, they do serve the same purpose: to announce and inform people who mean the most to them that they will become husband and wife.
Now, let’s hear from you. What do you feel when you receive a wedding invitation?
**I really wanted to include some samples of Canadian wedding invitations, but I couldn’t find any. However, I will update this post when I do.**
Check out my other two related Wedding Posts: