Differences in Receiving a Wedding Invitation in Taiwan and Canada

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Our Invitation and Response Card for our Canadian Wedding

Wedding Invitations:

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.

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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.

Conclusion:

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:

Introducing My First Series: Taiwanese Weddings

The Red Bomb – The Meaning Behind a Taiwanese Wedding Invitation

 

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Our Taiwanese Wedding Invitation, Canadian Wedding Invitation and Response Card

 

 

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26 thoughts on “Differences in Receiving a Wedding Invitation in Taiwan and Canada

  1. When it comes to notice, in the South of Italy is like in Canada, the invitations get send way in advance and it’s because getting married is such a massive deal that everything get perfectly organized and prepared with plenty of notice.

    I love the red style Taiwanese cards, so beautifully decorated and done! 🙂

  2. I LOVE receiving wedding invitations. Sure, it’s a little bit expensive, but it’s also a chance to dress-up, to eat and drink merrily as well as to boogie on the dance floor! I’ve never actually received an invitation in Asia – as you’ve rightly said, invitations were always addressed to my parents and us kids would just tag along with them. I never realized how different wedding etiquette can be until you mentioned these, Constance! Thanks!

  3. The reference to the “red bomb” made me laugh! True, among the Chinese here too, some of us will complain about being “bombed” We Hokkeins call it “ang char tan” – haha, “red bomb” exactly!

  4. You could replace “Canada” with “USA” and “Taiwan” with “Mainland China”, because what you’ve written totally reflects our experiences here as well. We didn’t even send out paper invites, we just e-mailed people or called people. And it was a guessing game — not to mention getting hotel rooms prepared for out-of-towners. I’m so glad my family in China helped us organize it, can’t imagine doing it on my own!

  5. In my European country it would be really rude not to RSVP – if me and my Chinese bf will marry, I will certainly make sure all of the guest will RSVP – what an incredible loss of money, to book so many hotel rooms and stuff for nothing! No way I will agree to such a way of doing things.

  6. This Is so similar to how wedding invitations are like in Bangladesh as well! Interesting to read how different they are from invitations in many western countries!

  7. This made me laugh! I think our Mauritian “culture” is much more closer to the Taiwanese ones. We usually hear through the grapevine that someone is getting married but we’ll only get the actual invitation a couple of weeks before (by which we’d already have our outfits ready). Similarly, no response card is given which ends up in the guessing game. We also usually have one card for an entire family: my parents live in the same building as my father’s two brothers and their family, and usually we get only one card which includes everyone. I’m not sure about the “red bomb” but I’m not usually too thrilled on attending weddings, not because of monetary issues though (we’re not required to give any money unless we’re close family). However, in Mauritius, when someone gets married, you have to invite EVERYONE you know, even the third cousin twice removed which ends up being A LOT of people. Most of the times, I don’t even know the people getting married but because it’s the son/daughter of a cousin of a friend of an aunt of my mother, we HAVE to go.

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