I saw these pictures on the Ifeng BBS. In Shaoxin Qiaohe, a couple got engaged and the future groom took out 988,888 RMB (150,000 USD) engagement money for the bride’s family, a 200,000 RMB (30,000 USD) engagement ring and a 100,000 RMB (15,000 USD) golden necklace.
This is really nothing rare or new in China, and there are certainly way more extravagant engagements or weddings in China, but it is still pretty impressive among the common folks in China or else it would not have ended up on the BBS. People say marriage is a business, it is especially true in China, at least it is always more typical and elaborate.
Traditionally, the bride’s family makes a nice return for all these years of investment of bringing up their daughter and finally giving her away and the groom’s family gains a daughter. The wedding is usually very expensive, but not for the couple’s families because almost no guest brings an actual wedding present but they bring the famous Hongbao (red envelopes) stuffed with cash. A well executed wedding actually brings in a very nice profit for the newlyweds to start their new life. Wedding is also a nice marketing and PR activity for the families. The couple’s families get a chance to show off their wealth and also to strengthen those guanxi (connections) of relatives, friends, business partners and those powerful allies. After all, they are who you depend on to bring you even more wealth in the future. Marriages in the west are not all pure and simple, many are all about the business, it’s just they are much more subtle, can you imagine a western couple getting engaged in a bed full of hundred dollar bills? Other than in the rap video or drug dealers and mafias.