Wedding Gift-Giving Ideas Across Asian Cultures
For many cultures, weddings are a big multi-day event celebrating a couple’s union. Just like the food, décor and entertainment will vary across cultures, so will the gift-giving traditions. Learn more about the wedding and gift-giving customs in Indian, Pakistani, and Chinese cultures.
Indian Wedding Culture
Indian weddings are all about tradition, with ceremonies meant to blend two families together and bind them for eternity. For three days leading up to the wedding, everything from the outfits and jewellery to the décor and gifting customs is a significant part of the celebrations. Vibrant colours and traditional Indian jewellery are encouraged, and that extends from the couple and their families to all the guests.
One of the most important ceremonies before the wedding is the mehndi ceremony, where the bride’s close friends and family gather to kick off the festivities. During the ceremony, the bride’s hands and feet are adorned with intricate henna designs that become part of the wedding day look.
Indian wedding day jewellery is always a wide range of both family heirlooms and gifts, including anklets and bangles to earrings, rings and necklaces. The bride and groom often wear pieces passed down to them through their family and new pieces that symbolize the start of their lives together as a couple.
Known for ornate styles, Indian wedding jewellery may vary based on the community and culture the couple grew up in. Here are a few of the most common Indian wedding jewellery gifts.
Bangles are a type of bracelet that are considered a must-have for any Indian bride. The tinkling sound they make is reminiscent of laughter and symbolizes the joy of a wedding day. While the bride may have a specific set of bangles significant to her family, her future husband may also choose to gift her a new engraved bangle as a symbol of their newly formed family.
Gold, in all its forms, is a very popular style of jewellery because it symbolizes good fortune and prosperity. In Northern India especially, it is customary to gift jewellery like gold rings and chains to the groom’s family. The groom’s family might also opt to give the bride a gift of gold and diamonds to wear for the big day and beyond.
Pakistani Wedding Culture
In Pakistani wedding culture, 2-3 days’ worth of events extends from Dholki, a pre-wedding celebration, to Valima, a reception thrown in celebration of the newly married couple. Throughout the process, multiple occasions involve gift giving between the two families or the bride and groom.
One of the traditions is a dowry paid to the groom’s family by the bride’s family. It can include furniture, household items, gold, jewellery, and much more. There is also the Bari, which includes all the gifts given to the bride to help her feel welcome. In an Islamic marriage, a “mahr” is a symbolic presentation of gifts or money given to the bride by the groom.
Gharoli is a ceremony held on the morning of the wedding to secure the spiritual well-being of the groom before he makes a lifelong commitment. He’ll also receive any jewellery gifts from friends and family at this time. The bride’s family will also shower her with gifts for Daaj, including gold jewelry for the bride to wear during the Shaadi (the wedding ceremony).
While the sky is the limit when it comes to traditional Pakistani wedding gifts regarding jewellery, the most common items include gold and meaningful custom pieces exchanged between the couple.
Gold is considered a status symbol in Pakistan, so no bridal ensemble is complete without gold accessories ranging from bracelets and necklaces to rings and earrings. Gold is given as part of a dowry and taken into the marriage as an investment in the family’s future. It used to be common to postpone weddings until the bride’s family could afford a dowry, but with the price of gold rising, some families look for other ways to carry on the tradition.
Vibrant colours are a big part of Pakistani culture, which extends to the jewellery. Gemstones like sapphires, emeralds, rubies, topaz, amethyst, and more are popular choices for all types of jewellery, from necklaces and bracelets to rings, earrings, and every other accessory. Gemstone jewellery may be given to be worn on the day of the wedding or as part of the dowry as the couple starts a new life together.
Chinese Wedding Culture
Chinese culture is full of symbolism, and as the start of a new stage of life, getting married is a significant event that calls for beautiful jewellery to complement the couple and their bond. Jewellery worn at a traditional Chinese wedding is meant to carry goodwill and well wishes from both sides of the family.
Traditionally, the groom’s family will gift the bride with betrothal gifts in the form of gold jewellery. The bride’s family may also give her jewellery to bring with her into the marriage as a dowry. When it comes to traditional pieces of jewellery, dragon and phoenix bangles represent the wish for everlasting love and happiness. A gold pig necklace is also a popular choice to represent prosperity, abundance, and fertility.
Floral jewellery is also a popular choice for a groom to give to his bride before the wedding. Consider intricate crawler earrings or a birth month flower pendant with a birthstone accent. No matter what, jewellery given in honor of a Chinese wedding should be high quality and rooted in tradition.
According to the philosopher Confucius, jade stands for kindness, justice, wisdom, and truth. It is also believed to have the power to ward off evil and bad luck. When paired with gold, jade is a popular wedding gift in Chinese culture, whether in the form of an ornate ring, meaningful pendant necklace, or drop earrings.
The colour red is significant in Chinese culture as it represents good luck, vitality and prosperity, all things a newly married couple wants to take into their future together. From drop earrings to pendant necklaces to custom charm bracelets, gifting ruby and garnet jewellery can be a generous way for family members to pass on goodwill to the happy couple.
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Looking for more gifting ideas? Peoples has a wide range of jewellery to fit anyone’s sense of style.