Weddings are a big deal in Taiwan. The invitations, often referred to as ‘the Red Bomb,’ are deeply rooted in meaning and were the main feature of previous posts in this Taiwanese Wedding Series. The next segment of this series relates to Wedding Cookies and the deal behind them.
Taiwan Wedding Cookies
I have been to my fair share of weddings and I have received several boxes of wedding cookies as well, but there is one thing about this tradition that remains abundantly clear: this is one tradition of Taiwanese weddings that has a life of its own. And what I mean is that there is a general inconsistency relating to when the cookies are actually given out, the actual physical product, as well as the people who are intended to receive them.
The Actual Wedding Cookies and Cost
Wedding cookies can cost as little as you want or as much as you would like. Plus, they can range from a traditional Chinese cake/cookie to an elaborately decorated box of cookies.
The traditional cake usually consists of a red bean, egg yolk, or fruit filling. These cakes are usually round, symbolizing the unity and bond that is never to be broken. This type is the cheaper option which usually costs about NT$300 (US$10).
However, in recent years, most couples tend to purchase the more pricy, more extravagant boxes of cookies. These cookies are usually individually wrapped and perfectly presented in a beautifully decorated box. If you go to a wedding cookie speciality store, you can choose from a number of options ranging in style, size, and of course, price. Expect to pay at least NT$600, but if you have deep pockets, the sky is the limit.
No matter which option the couple chooses, it is the responsibly of the groom’s family to absorb the cost of these cookies.
Who Receives the Wedding Cookies and When
When I lived in Taipei, it was my understanding that only the bride’s side of the family and her friends were the recipients of wedding cookies. Also, I was under the assumption that it was common for the wedding cookies to be given out during the engagement party. I attended several engagement parties and this seemed to be the tradition, the norm.
But when I moved to the west coast of central Taiwan, I realized that things were done a little differently here. I usually receive the wedding cookies upon receiving the wedding invitation.
However, according to my husband, every area has its own set of rules and guidelines and the tradition of giving wedding cookies varies tremendously. When we got married, his family followed the tradition of their area – when people returned a red envelope containing a gift of money, they received a traditional wedding cake. My husband and I had no involvement with the purchase or the giving so we are both unfamiliar with the entire process.
Wedding Cakes – My Friend’s Experience
The box and bag, pictured throughout this article, were a set given to me by one of my best friends. I didn’t have the opportunity to attend the engagement party (a celebration for her side of the family) due to a prior commitment but I attended the actually wedding reception (which consisted mostly of the groom’s family and their friends). I was given the wedding cookies at the wedding reception; however, most were given out at the engagement dinner.
My friend opted to select and purchase several different types and styles of wedding cookies and the cookies you received depended on your relationship with the bride. My friend values her best friends and she told me she opted to give the people who mean the most to her wedding cookies where the bag was the main feature. It is beautiful and I am sure it was quite expensive. The other style of wedding cookies given to others didn’t have a bag and the boxes of cookies were smaller with very little detail.
My Personal Viewpoint
So, in reality, I am not an expert on the wedding cookie tradition in Taiwan as I had no involvement in the process when my husband and I got married. However, there is one thing that is very obvious – it is a tradition that varies from north to south and from coast to coast.
**Check out my latest post in the series – Pre-Wedding Photo Shoots in Taiwan: A General Guide to Selecting the Right Shop, Photographer, & Package **