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Saturday November 25th 2017

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How to attend a Malay Muslim Wedding

Food set up!

Every time my non-Malay friends are invited to a Malay wedding, they are surprised that you don’t have to give that much in the money packet and they also sometimes have no idea how to give or what the protocol to eat the food there is like.

This is your mini guide to attending Malay weddings.

So, you got invited to a Malay wedding eh? You know the address, date and have replied that you’re coming. What next?

Attire

Ok, for Malay wedding there’s no unlucky colours so whatever colours you want to wear, just go for it. Your attire just has to be decent.

The location of the wedding is usually stated in the invite card and it might be at the void deck, a multipurpose hall, community centre, hotel ballrooms etc. Thus, nothing too formal since business casual pretty much works. Whatever you usually wear to a relatively fancy restaurant, wear that.

Arriving at the location

Check the timing in the invite. If you’re going to a typical Malay wedding, there will be a time range stated on the card.

Ok, here’s the thing, Muslims pray 5 times a day and the afternoon sessions are Zuhor (around 1pm+) and Asar (around 4.30pm+).

If you want to go to a timing that won’t be crowded, come to the venue when the reception has just started. The most packed timing will be around 1.30pm or so after Zuhor or that people will want to arrive just a bit before Asar. Of course, the person who invited you might tell you some key timings of what is happening if you want to see the wedding couple arriving and whatnot.

What do you do when you arrive at the location?

Find the entrance! If it’s at the void deck, it is most likely the area with tables of wedding favours (berkat). There you’ll find the parents of the wedding couple or your friend’s parents. I’m gonna assume your friend invited you, so it’s their parents. Say hi to them and introduce yourself to them if they don’t know who you are. Then they’ll “Jemput, jemput makan!” and ask you to eat.

Grab a free table! If it’s a very crowded time, you’ve got to wait a bit or share a table with someone.

If it’s at a hotel or some special ballroom of sorts, you might be given a table number when you introduce yourself to the parents. It might be the kind where your friend has specified which table each guest sits at.

A tower of kuehs! DIY Rojak Some kueh!

Eat!

Yes, pretty much eat once you have your own seat. Nowadays it’s buffet style so you just get your plate at the end and fill it up. There’s a variety of dishes you can choose and the ‘default’ dish is briyani with beef rendang or ayam masak merah (chilli chicken) and heck it’s a lot ok?

Just fill your food with savoury dishes first. Grab the desserts LATER. You always go for the second round for desserts like the kueh.

At the pelamin

In the meantime, maybe your friend has arrived at the location. What do you do?

Nothing.

You don’t have to do anything! Just enjoy the show. They may have a kompang team drumming away and ok, it’s kinda weird typing the translation of that in English. Silat performances in front of the couple is another typical thing but it depends if they hired them.

My coach trained a silat team for some schools and whatnot and he actually got a full silat performance! Not the usual pose here and pose there and the end type, his was the actual exhibition plus weaponry exhibition style since they were the actual competition team in Singapore. THAT was pretty amazing.

The Wedding Couple Might Not Be There

Ok, here’s the timing thing. If your friend said what time they’d be there, you might want to wait or just arrive at the location around that time.

If not, there’s no guarantees that you’ll see your friend.

And it IS okay.

You don’t have to wait until the wedding couple arrives if it’s hours away. Just come, enjoy your food, say good bye to the parents and leave.

It’s a bonus if you do get to see your friend. Sometimes they’d be from a different location to pick up the girl/guy or that they’ll be going to another wedding reception for the other side of the family.

Oh yes, a note sometimes the groom has his reception at one place and the bride another. Sometimes they combine it!

You’re usually just invited to one side though. You don’t have to follow them or anything.

My own plate

So eat! I like to have the briyani even if there are alternatives of noodles or pasta or whatever is there.

You can use your hands to eat or use the cutlery there!

For washing hands, not drinking.

If you want to use your hands, there’s usually the washing pot thing on the tables somewhere. It generally looks something like this and comes in many colours or patterns.

This is NOT for drinking.

Just washing hands.

 

An ice cream!

And really, a buffet is a buffet. There was an ice cream machine to one of the weddings I went recently and some have live stations where they make putu piring.

Some others just hire an ice cream man for the day, yes this is a thing.

You can do that and it’s fun since all the kids and pretty much everyone likes ice cream especially in our hot weather.

This one is called Lilly Ice Cream, apparently they do ice creams and satay too for weddings, engagements and birthday parties. (Call Wak Imah: 85124474/ Wak Lus: 85124487).

The Hadi Boyz

In the meantime, as you eat or while the wedding couple get their photos taken, there’s live music or a DJ station. This group is called The Hadi Boyz and wow, they really do perform English and Malay songs very well.

There’s going to be songs and dedications and it can get a bit deafening if you sit too close to the speakers.

This is not cake

This is not a wedding cake. Well, others have wedding cakes but this one they got pulut kuning (yellow glutinous rice) and other traditional savoury items instead! I find that pretty cool cause pulut kuning is quite delicious.

FYI, the wedding couple eat at the venue too and they’d have a table to themselves or with their family.

Exiting the venue

Anyway, done with your food? Time to exit. You can put your money in an ang pow if you don’t have generic Malay wedding envelopes. It is ok as long it’s some small packet to put your money.

How much money?

$10-$20 is good. If you’re really good friends you can give $20. If you want to give more then, okaaay. No one is stopping you.

Just that the norm is just $10 or $20 even if at a fancy venue in a restaurant. You guys can comment below on this if you give more/less.

Ok, who to give the money or how to give the money?

Give the money to the parents of your friend.

If you’re a guy, give to the father, if you’re a girl give to the mother.

If you don’t know, just give to any of them and it’s still okay.

No. You don't give it like this.

No. Do not give your packet straight like that with one hand. If you want, you can give with two hands if you’re giving the Chinese ang pow way.

It’s just not done giving one hand like that in the above picture.

Give the packet like this!

The usual method. You fold that packet in half and when you salam the aunty/uncle, they’ll take it discreetly while thanking you for coming. That’s it!

It's an egg!

Of course after that, you’ll be given a wedding favour (berkat) which could be eggs (like in the above pic, that’s an egg inside the box) or towels or chocolate.

Anything really. Fancy nail clippers were in trend before or keychains.

But yes, that’s it all there is to attending a Malay wedding.

TL;DR VERSION

  1. Wear decently
  2. Say hi to the parent and grab a table
  3. Eat
  4. Give money to the parent and go home
  5. ???
  6. Profit

Ps. The close up of the briyani and kueh tower is by Mahkota Weddings. The one with the couple sitting is Mintea and she had hers at Lagun Sari. The setting in the first picture and the close up of the kueh in the third thumbnail is by some other wedding caterer that I didn’t take the card of.

Reader Feedback

66 Responses to “How to attend a Malay Muslim Wedding”

  1. Farrah says:

    Seriously Sarah, you have the Ang pao bit totally wrong! It’s now according to market rates at the hotel or restaurant – just like a Chinese wedding dinner. Please don’t give the wrong impression or info – at least of your homework please.

  2. Farah says:

    Seriously Sarah, please at least do your homework before saying the Ang pao is just $10-20!!! That’s like last decade! Haven’t you heard of inflation? It’s market rates now akin to Chinese wedding dinners!!!

  3. sarah says:

    Hi Farrah,

    I did! With the ones with family and friends, I’ve noted it’s still the same price at those locations and I went recently too.

    But hence that’s why I asked others to comment if you want to give more/less.

  4. sarah says:

    (Oh yes, by the way. Comments take a while to appear just so you know but they’ll go through. This is a note for all, since regular readers note it appears some time after.)

    Also can you enlighten us what’s the acceptable rate since you’re taking your time to comment? It’ll be good for others to know.

  5. M says:

    I think under the block about 20 is fine but if they have it at a restaurant you should find out the average price of a set meal which should be 40 to 50 at least for lunch . If it’s at a hotel 80 would really be the least esp for dinner and depending on the hotel. Food in Singapore is expensive, no one should expect to cover the cost of a wedding but would be nice if they could at least cover the F & B.

  6. Mintea says:

    Personally though, how much ang pao you want to give to a couple is pretty much up to you. Give what you can afford.

    Most Malay families aren’t looking to make a profit or even break even because it’s a known people generally dont give as much as they do at Chinese weddings.

    If you’re giving as much as you do at Chinese weddings, well good for you but if you don’t, that’s ok too.

    $10-$20 is the norm. I’ve heard of people giving just $2. Ultimately, just be thankful with what you get.

  7. Thanks for this post, Sarah!

    To be honest, I feel that the whole rationale behind weddings is shifting beyond why the wedding is held.

    Gifts or ang paos were given as a token of appreciation or a gift of celebration – very much like a birthday or a graduation. So why should it be different here?

    A wedding lunch/ dinner is to celebrate with friends and family. You are invited because they want you to celebrate with them. Just give what you can afford.

    So basically, if you want an “ROI (return-on-investment)” or break even on your wedding, you might as well just go for registry and don’t bother with the lunch/ dinner. Makes more economic sense.

    ~ Joelyn Alexandra

  8. […] I understand at a Malay wedding, your presence is more important than the size of your gift (some people suggest SGD 10-20, don’t do this at a Chinese wedding though, its a little different). When […]

  9. Andrew says:

    Thank you for this helpful article!
    I was invited to a Malay wedding by the auntie of the groom. This helps me know how to behave politely, and what’s expected of a guest and what’s not.

  10. […] at the wedding thus I did my homework prior to the wedding and found this really useful site! Click here to read if you’re going to attend your first Malay wedding as well […]

  11. Alina says:

    I disagree on the amount to give.
    I feel it is only respectable for guests to give an amount according to location the bride and groom made it to be. And trust me, they wanna try to atleasttttt breakeven if not make a profit. Spending so much to please guests and nobody cares? come on, give the amount depending on location and price of table. Nowadays even malay weddings are held at hotels. and FANCY hotels, mind you.
    If one table costs 1000, give them the money accordingly. at the very least – 80 per person if you cant quite afford it. Hey, in this time and day, malay weddings are pretty much like chinese weddings ok so please respect the bride and groom and not throw a $10 when you’re invited to a restaurant/country club/hotel wedding. You wont get away with that amount even if you dine at a restaurant yourself, oh that may not even be enough to cover food at some FASTFOOD restaurants! Be respectful, please…

  12. Amirah says:

    Hello Sarah, do you know where they purchase the pulut kuning?

  13. sarah says:

    Hi Amirah, unfortunately I do not know.

  14. nina says:

    Pretty amused by angry comments on the ang pow rates. Pretty sure it was written by young malay couples having fancy wedding themselves and expecting guests to help them cover the cost. Dnt get me wrong, i am a malay myself and in the midst of planning my wedding and i do not expect to break even let alone make a profit! The idea of a wedding in Islam (generally the religion to a lot of singaporean malays) is NOT to make money or even expect to break even! But sadly these days its all abt face value and how grand your wedding is.if you cant afford to do it a hotel or country club, then dont. So Alina’s rant about how couples will at least wanna tryyyy break even or make a profit does not apply to all malays! Because my circle of friends feel the same way as i do in regards to this issue.

    I will say give what you can afford and let it be accompanied with your sincerest prayers and best wishes for the couple 🙂

  15. sarah says:

    Hi nina,

    I left those comments up so it won’t be ‘biased’ but heh, you are very much right. It’s actually really like how the words on the packet is “setulus ikhlas” in my pictures. Glad to know that you and your friends do remember the most basic idea of Muslim weddings then. Heh hope your wedding planning goes smoothly and have a happy day on the day itself.

  16. Cessa says:

    Hi, may I know is it necessary to write our nama on the ang pao given? Or just leave it blank? Thanks.

  17. sarah says:

    Hi Cessa, just saw this comment.

    Not really. But sometimes we just write to let our friends know we came by, like hello or if you wanted to write your congratulations.

  18. glowsh says:

    From your writeup, I gather one is not expected to hang around for too long, rather just enough time to eat and go (~1hr?) as other guests may arrive and have a place to sit. Is this abt correct?

  19. sarah says:

    Hi glowsh, Yes that is correct. Or you can hang around the location if you want to see kompang or any event happenings.

  20. glowsh says:

    Tq for your fast reply and your informative article to non malays who although are singaporeans (a bit shy to declare) not sure abt others practices n customs. Anyway, I hv othee questions.
    -is it the usual practice to give the ang pow while u are in the way out after your makan? Is it odd or even rude to do it first thing upon intro at entrance. (note this is the chinese practice).
    -the chinese also hv a ‘guests book’ to record the amt u out inside your red packet. I for one am getting sick of being invited to these chinese dinners because it is getting absolutely meaningless except for the hosts to recoup their expenses. Like some who mentioned here, if u cant afford why di it at an expensive place and expect your guests to cough up ridiculous amt to sponsor your wedding. Any chinese here shouldn’t be offended by my comments here cos I am more chinese n a more true blooded singaporean than most.
    – i hv noticed some malay weddings celebrated over two days? What is the significance here? Is it bcos there are too many guests and in this case ‘normal’ friends are invited for the first day while relatives n close personal friends on the second n presumably more important day.

  21. sarah says:

    Hi Glowsh,
    I’ll reply below your comments since it might be useful to others too!

    -is it the usual practice to give the ang pow while u are in the way out after your makan? Is it odd or even rude to do it first thing upon intro at entrance. (note this is the chinese practice).

    Don’t give the ang pow first when you enter! Nooo, for Malay Muslims give them AFTER you have indeed eaten or when you are just leaving. We give it when we leave to the parents or the people in ‘charge’ that day as thanks mostly so just do it when you want to leave because they’ll also then give you a wedding favour too. Also the wedding favour sometimes could be eggs, or pulut (glutinous rice) or you know, small items like pretty nail clippers etc, really depends on what they planned but you shouldn’t worry on that anyway. Just give the ang pow when you want to leave.

    -the chinese also hv a ‘guests book’ to record the amt u out inside your red packet. I for one am getting sick of being invited to these chinese dinners because it is getting absolutely meaningless except for the hosts to recoup their expenses. Like some who mentioned here, if u cant afford why di it at an expensive place and expect your guests to cough up ridiculous amt to sponsor your wedding. Any chinese here shouldn’t be offended by my comments here cos I am more chinese n a more true blooded singaporean than most.

    On TECHNICAL traditional way, Malay weddings aren’t supposed to make money, I can’t speak for the ‘modern’ ones who you might see above because actually in the most general way, it’s supposed to be to celebrate the couple. We don’t have a guestbook to record money for the couple BUT we might have a guestbook for memories. This one is more of writing your congratulations and sometimes they might have instax cameras to take pictures to paste in, you know, depending on how they like to layout. This is more of the couple or their organizer who might arrange to have it as keepsakes of that day instead.

    On our ang pows, usually we don’t write our names on it too. But if you’re close to your friends, you might want to write it in case you don’t see them on that day like a little “Hey! I came but I didn’t see you so aww” thing. As I stated in the post, you might not see them but it’s really ok. So on writing it, really if you just want to write your name, if not it’s ok!

    – i hv noticed some malay weddings celebrated over two days? What is the significance here? Is it bcos there are too many guests and in this case ‘normal’ friends are invited for the first day while relatives n close personal friends on the second n presumably more important day.

    Nah, two days because sometimes they might have the bride’s side at some other location and the groom’s side at another location. Or sometimes they combine it together and thus it is one day and one location. OR even more tiring BUT it is done, two locations in one day (which is why sometimes you might NOT see your friend at some specific times).

    So either you’re invited to the groom’s or bride’s side it might be just one that one day. A note to know, sometimes if they have relatives in Malaysia or well, some other country, they might also do another there if they have a lot of relatives in that country too.

    Anyway, another possibility is that the day before is another thing which is the official prayers and signing of the marriage certification which is usually the one with the close relatives or personal friends if they want. It could also be before the wedding reception too (depending on how they want to schedule it!) but that might be too packed a day.

  22. glowsh says:

    Thank you Sarah. Abt my comments on the guests book, I would like to say not every one has the same practice. Most hv the book for signing your name and offering your wishes for the couple. But chinese ang pows are expected to hv names written and then the money will be counted and recorded for ‘future reference’. The current minimum rate is ~$100/pax. Anything below $80 and you are most likely frowned upon with disapproval. Note these are generally correct but there are always exceptions. If I hv to hazard a guess, I will est the above applies to abt 70-90% of chinese weddings. Anyway, thank you once again for your kind info. I had just been invited to a malay friend daughter’s wedding…therefore so many questions.

  23. Rein says:

    Hi sarah! I was planning to bake some cupcakes for a wedding that I was invited by the bride’s mum then i came across your post and wondered if that’d be appropriate! Will it be inappropriate or funny to do that? Thanks in advance!!

  24. sarah says:

    Hi Rein,
    Yes, yes it would be, because there will be too much happening there and lots of food already. If it was an engagement, it might be another matter but for a wedding, not really.

  25. Passer by says:

    I just attended a Malay Muslim wedding… oops!

    I gave my friend’s father ang pow ($30) with one hand .. but luckily I ate already before I gave it to him… at that point I was waiting to go up the stage to take photo with the couple

  26. Passer by says:

    By the way,

    I am a chinese and I prefer muslim weddings more cos I get to eat more and full for a lower cost rather than a chinese wedding at an expensive hotel (which means expensive red packet) which serves little food as the dishes are expensive and also shared among many people at the table.

  27. Juicy says:

    I am Chinese and have never seen a record book of the amount of money in the ang pow or the name of the guest. (This practice only occurs at Chinese wakes – Buddhists, Daoists, Christians.) The guest book at a wedding banquet is for recording the guests’ good wishes and their names. The ang pow is dropped into a designated box or given to the person who invited the guest. So it could be a parent or the wedding couple. There is no need to write your name on the ang pow unless you are giving a humongous sum. In my wedding, less than 30 people wrote their names on the ang pow . (We had 600 guests). The info I would like to know is how much ang pow to give for specially catered Muslim food served at a Chinese wedding banquet. Anyone knows the cost of a Muslim food table in a Chinese wedding banquet?

  28. Mahad Guleid says:

    Thanks, sarah.

    this very useful article enlightened my info about Malays weddings, now I can go my friends weddings peacefully lol.
    I’m from Somalia and I realize we have common traditional things in the wedding, thanks once again I’m about to go a malay wedding that’s why I’m looking for this info.

    God bless you.
    Mahad.

  29. Anilaz says:

    Loved your article.

    Those who wants to go by market rate and think it is “respectable” to give based on table price… Please think again.

    Chinese weddings have gone this way, and angpows are ridiculously high even when you’re not attending. Stick to the reason why muslims hold a wedding reception. To announce the matrimony and celebrate with lunch treat. Give what you wish, if you can afford to as a gift. The wonderful thing about this way is you feel good because you give it from your heart, not because you feel compelled to. And families are invited including the children. Parents aren’t expected to pay market rate of per head.

    Tips for guests, even though the wedding’s at void deck, please avoid slippers and shorts and don’t overstay when you see crowds waiting long for empty seats.

  30. Estee says:

    Hi Sarah, market price do applies to malay wedding too these day. I do wedding planning for both for all races (we have different teams to plan the different kind of needs [and races] of the weddings).
    My say would be, guest should give about $20-$30 for a typical void deck wedding (these are the avg, but again, I should stress that Malays do not mind of the amount. Note: IKHLAS). A wedding at Community Centes don’t really make that much of a difference (difference are about $2k-$3k, depending), $30-$40 would suffice.

  31. Sydney says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Great article. We are compiling a guide for Muslim Wedding and your article help us a lot. Thank you.

  32. R. says:

    Hi! Just came across this. Just my thoughts – I usually give 50 to start with for my fellow Muslim/Malay weddings (50 for void deck weddings, much more for other venues such as hotels), and much much more (100-300+) if they’re my close friends/family. The majority of Muslims here accept weddings as a loss-making enterprise – I know my family does – as we believe that your presence at the wedding is enough, and whatever you choose to give is enough. However, I think it’s a balance – let’s not take advantage of the situation either. 🙂

    And in response to a comment above – I have been to a few Chinese weddings where the amount I gave in the angpow was taken out and recorded on the spot. 🙁 Really not comfortable with that sort of thing.

  33. Yanti says:

    terribly late to the party buuuuut yeah. anyway, if it’s a friend i hang out with, i usually give $50. if it’s just an old friend that i hardly ever meet, then $20. if i go with my parents… i don’t give cos they give 😛 if it’s my boyfriend’s friend kinda thing, i give $10-$20 depending on how close i am to the bride/groom. of course, if it’s my best friend getting married, the amount of money is unlimited, but still tied to how much i can afford at that time! 🙂

  34. Deborah says:

    This is super useful. I just got an invite to a Malay wedding and was at a loss as to what to give, how to give, when to go, etc. lol. So I can give in a chinese red ang bao? it won’t be offensive? I was panicking on where to get a Malay green envelope. If I can give in a red ang bao, it’ll make things easier. Phew.

  35. sarah says:

    Hi Deborah,
    Yes you can.

  36. Diyaa says:

    Firstly I don’t think its right for you to put the amount that is “required” to give. By putting $10-$20 you will make an impression that Malay wedding are inexpensive or sorts.

    Usually our location are not as grand but come to think of it, the total amount we spent is almost equivalent or sometimes more than Chinese wedding banquets. They invest more in their location however, we Malays invest on food and cater for much much more people.

    Of course if you were to ask family/friends, they wouldn’t have say oh we expect to break even or they should give us XX amount.

    In short, we don’t need to ask or indicate a certain amount as our parents taught us courtesy but never should you put an impression to the other cultures about giving a specific amount. THAT IS JUST WRONG.

    They should be smart enough to know how the economy is and how everything is getting more and more expensive.

    FYI – Malay wedding can cost up to $40k.

  37. Jaclyn says:

    How much should I give if I’ve been invited to 2 receptions by a Malay-Chinese couple? The Malay reception is at Mamanda while the Chinese reception is at W Hotel on Sentosa?

  38. sarah says:

    Hi Jaclyn,

    Are you going to both? Because then you should go with whatever instructions they gave you. I must say Mamanda is a fancy place so you can figure out from there. And Chinese receptions are according to it then. I think your invite might have tips on how much to give?? Usually they do let you know if it’s going to be formal and whatnot.

  39. Jaclyn says:

    Yes we have to go for both. The invitations didn’t give any instructions as to how much to give. Only the W Horel invite mentioned that the dress code is formal. So basically we should give the cost per head at the Chinese reception + $20 cuz it’s a good friend?

  40. sarah says:

    Wow, ok this one really depends on your friends then.

    The W Hotel is probably going to be like how your normal Chinese wedding costs are like if it’s that way. And the Malay one is going to be a bit more ‘expensive’ because if it’s your good friend usually maybe $50 at the mamanda one? It’s a really fancy place. But it really is depends on you for the Malay side one.

    For this, it’s really best to ask anyone else going since I don’t know the ‘style’ and how close you are to your friends and how they expect what sort of wedding they want.

  41. Jaclyn says:

    I just went to find out the package price for Mamanda. http://www.mamanda.com.sg/media/Wedding%20Brochure%20(Updated%20April%202013).pdf Ranges from $49++ to $79++ for buffet packages. I think I’ll have to pack more then…

  42. jon says:

    please wear appropriately. I’ve seen a Chinese guy attended a malay wedding with shorts on or looks like boxer. please have some common sense. please don’t think thay you are there just to eat ..do respect other guests too. cheers

  43. Jaclyn Chen says:

    Agreed! I had one chinese attend my wedding in berms and singlet. Although it was a garden themed wedding at a park, it sure doesn’t mean that you should be sloppily dressed. Fair enough, I didn’t state the dress code but hey, one should know how to dress smart casually right? Not in your marketing clothes.

  44. Tracey says:

    Hi Sarah, if we are a family of four from overseas, do we need to give four individual green ang pao’s or can I put total money per person in one envelope? Also does anyone buy wedding gift like something to use for their house? Where can I buy in Singapore these green packets?

  45. sarah says:

    Hi Tracey,

    Usually, yes for individual envelopes. I do recall if your children are older (teenagers and older) they will usually just ‘give’ a packet but everyone knows it’s from their parents to give to the people who invited them. It’s usually two sections in which the ladies will give to the mother and the men give to the father. This moment is actually more for the parents of the bride/groom to get to meet their guests and hence why you individually give a packet to ‘salam’.

    No, please don’t buy a wedding gift for their house. If you want to do that, usually give them after the wedding ceremony like on another day, not on the day itself.

    Green packets can usually be bought in Joo Chiat or Geylang Serai, mostly in those Muslim bookstores or so in Joo Chiat. If you can’t find a green packet, a red one is alright too or even just a small pretty packet sold in generic bookstores.

  46. Tracey says:

    Thank you so much, your reply has been very helpful !

  47. Jaclyn says:

    You could also just hand it in a normal mailing envelope or even folded in your hand as you salam (shake the hand) of the receiving party. I’ve seen it happen many times at weddings and Hari Raya Puasa celebrations, when people, often the elder ones do not have an extra empty envelope on hand to out the money in. I’ve also been at the receiving end before. 🙂

  48. Abdul Rahman says:

    Thanks for the article!

    I’ve been thinking of writing a short guide on attending Malay Weddings, as an insert to my wedding cards for my non-Malay friends and colleagues.

    Your article have given me some ideas what to write.

    Thx!

  49. Avocado says:

    Hi all, my husband and I will be attending a Malay wedding lunch at Moda, the ballroom at east coast soon. As we are Chinese, we rnot quite sure of the current rate for red packets. Can anyone be kind enough to give us some estimates please, thanks in advance!

  50. sarah says:

    Hi Avocado,
    There’s no ‘current’ rate but more of how close you are to the couple, usually friends will just let each other know how it is. If you’re really close to them and it seems to be a somewhat fancy place you can give around $50?

  51. Sarah says:

    Agree with a lot of people above but especially Nina.

    Malay weddings are typically muslim weddings. No reason for the bride and groom to make a profit let alone break even. If you can’t afford, don’t do it at a fancy place.

    I’m Chinese-Indo muslim and currently planning my own wedding. I don’t expect my guests to give according to the hotel rates but of course it would help me a lot.

    I will not be recording down who gave how much nor are my parents going to open your packets to check how much was given. But I agree with comments saying to give what you feel is comfortable or better yet respectable.

    If you’re invited to a hotel wedding, and if you’re paying $10 because it’s “comfortable” for you, it is not wrong according to Islam, but it is definitely not respectful according to ‘cost-of-living-in-singapore’. I mean c’mon, you wouldn’t want someone to give you $10 when you’ve spent $100 on them right? And even for void deck weddings, the last time I paid $10 was when I was a student (3 years ago). I pay at least $20 for a void deck wedding now. Higher for CC weddings etc.

    I would say $10 for a wedding that was held 10 years ago. But at least $20 (void deck) and up for weddings of this time.

    For places like country clubs or as mentioned above, Mamanda. I always check on the website to see how much it costs for the couple to invite me over. Mamanda is definitely higher than $50.

    As a rule of thumb, check the website how much it will cost first. Give either exact or slightly higher. If you’re a student, I think it’s fine to give lower as the couples shouldn’t expect you to cover their cost anyway. Lastly, give the couples however much you would want them to give you if you held your wedding at their venue.

    Hope this helps.

  52. Elaine says:

    hi everyone.. i read with interest on the comment overhere. I use to attend a few weddings but this round is different because its one of my customer. so am kinda looking for the guideline. thank you sara.

    but i couldn’t help but read some of the remarks here.
    1) i think we shouldn’t be comparing the malay and chinese wedding as both are of different culture. i believe a wedding is a significant event and to gain profit from the wedding be it malay, chinese, etc has nothing got to do with the culture. its the person attitude and thoughts toward it.

    2) as for the recording of the amount in the book – its normally done after the wedding. the purpose of this practice in the chinese culture to record the amount of the money received so that when the other person having the same event or any other event they will use it as the reference. Chinese culture believe in we do not only receive but also must be the giver. the act of opening the ang pau and recorded immediately is not the chinese culture but again the attitude of the whoever person that gives the instruction to do so.

    i hope this will clear a bit on the what is culture and what is human behaviour. there are two different things. no religion will teach bad things.

  53. […] How to Attend a Malay Wedding My First Malay Wedding […]

  54. Jaclyn says:

    Couldn’t you still give an angpow without a need for a “reference”?

  55. oeh says:

    I have been giving ang pows without my name on them for decades. As for my wedding, I did not record who gave how much except for the big ang pows – so as to know how much to give when it’s my turn to give.

  56. Jaclyn says:

    Me neither and I did the same for my own wedding. I didn’t record down the owners of the big angpows but it’s easy to remember who it was.

  57. Juriah Awi says:

    Hi, i’ve read the comments abt how much to give am very happy that many non malay want to do the right thing when attending malay weddings. The reason behind the $10-$20 angpow is a muslim is obligated to go for wedding invitation. When your friends have grown children or grandchildren u will receive 2 to 3 sometimes 4 invitation for dat week. Last dec my fridge door had 10 invitation cards posted on them. Some are close relatives n friends while others are some relative’s relatives( by marriage). So of course for the close ones i gave more.
    So muslims parents( not sure of the young bride n groom) understand this n won’t feel outrage if their guests some of them ‘pencen’ already gave small amt. What a muslim want is to share their celebration with others, feed them as its part of sedaqah n hope to get barakah from Allah for the event n the unions. If they expect returns of investments n ranted when they don’t then all their efforts is useless in the eye of god. So when we said we dont mind any amt of angpow its not saying we spent so little for the wedding. So those out there don’t get offended when fellow muslim like sarah says it $10-$20.
    For the bride/groom -to-be..Barakallahu laka, wa baraka alaik, wa jamaabainakuma fikhoiri
    May Allah bless for you( your spouse) and you, and may He unite both of you in goodness!

  58. Jad says:

    I have been invited to a wedding by the father whose 2 sons are hosting 1 reception on the same day and at the same community hall. But I do not know both bridal couples. I only know the dad. So in this case, should it be 2 angpows or just 1? And is it ok to hand the angpow to the dad even if Im female?

    My family was also invited to attend a similar “2daughters-1reception” wedding 2 months ago by a neighbour and we had no clue how to give. So in the end we gave 1 angpow each for each couple and wrote each couples’ names on the respective angpows. My mom handed both angpows to the mom (whom we know) of the brides.

  59. sarah says:

    Hi Jad,

    To me, if you’re quite close to the father, just give to the father. It should be alright if you’ve done handshakes and all with him. It should be fine, your friend might be understanding. And usually it’s just 1 angpow. It’s not usually split on which groom gets it, it’s like a community family thing? So you can just give 1 angpow. And we don’t really practice the writing of the couple’s names on the angpow. They won’t record it anywhere and the money is more like good will.

  60. Tasha says:

    $10-20 is about right for a void deck wedding. But like what Sarah say, give more if you want but most importantly straight from your heart. Your presence matters most! If you do a wedding based on profit making, then your intention is wrong. The main purpose is to share the special occasion with people that matters the most to you. If you decide to make it in an expensive venue, then that is your choice and you should not expect people to pay a certain amount to attend your wedding. Some people might be financially unstable and we can’t expect them to give a certain amount to attend your big day. If a bride & groom decide to spend a lot of money on an expensive venue, that shows you can afford it. If not, just do something simple. Bottom line, spend within your means.

  61. Lim says:

    See it from 2 perspectives.

    Couples organising an event should not be expecting others to help them pay for the wedding. Organise it at a place where you can afford, not at a place where you want others to pay for you. This is prudence and responsibility.

    Secondly, guests should not be so cheapo to pay an amount that is way below the cost of the food. Pack a decent amount. It is also showing respect to the couple. If you really cannot afford, decline the invitation and separately give them a gift.

  62. jessie jaye says:

    Hi All

    It is such an interesting and in fact to some extent soul searching kind of a read/topic. I am a Singaporean Chinese but living overseas. I agree with Elaine January, 15th that to record the giver’s ang pow and an amount against their name is not a Chinese practice. It is a personal preference. Esp. for those hoping to break even or to have their invitation paid for with a hope of making profit! I detewt this practice. It is almost like going to churches where the church pass around a see-through offering bag, a plate or a bag with a big hole at the bottom. These are gimmicks. In doing so, people be embarrassed if they gave a smaller amount. So such won’t be sincere giving.

    My cousin gave a wedding dinner at a posh place and declared to all those she invited that it costs her $1500 per head. What’s the aim in such? As such, she automatically eliminated my single widowed aunt and a hosts of working class relatives who are trying to make ends meet. It is also a way of culling the poor friends from attending!

    She was given away as a child and adopted by my aunt and led an ordinary life. But she is mega rich now, having married into a rich Indonesian Chinese family

    Of course, she had to break even or better still profit from it. Why call such event as a Wedding Invite? Call it a Wedding Sponsor! Like someone wrote, if they cannot afford the glam, just go on a honeymoon after a small intimate close family dinner. Don’t invite relatives, friends and colleagues expecting them to cover the wedding dinner’s cost.

    Sad that loving relatives who saw their relatives’ children grew up was ‘ousted’ from big life events like weddings because they couldn’t afford to please the hosts!
    People should start dealing with such greed. Start limiting per person cost to $50 and if someone like my show off cousin wants to show off her wealth, let her foot it. Guests should not give her the face she wanted by paying more than they can afford or willing to spend.

    So for that dinner, she would be expecting at least a break even of $150 per head. As relatives, people feel they need to pay more. So a few of my relatives paid $300 per head for this Christian cousin’s white face. 🙂

    Many declined but still compelled to ‘donate’ $100 each!

  63. DD says:

    So funny this article is still relatable!

  64. […] yourself to their family, especially if they don’t know who you are. They will then say, Jemput jemput makan!, which means Eat! So, go […]

  65. Toni says:

    Hi, I would like to buy the washing pot like the one on the picture. Someone knows how can I buy one? I leave in Italy, so I should get it from some web site.

    Thanks

    Toni

  66. sarah says:

    Hi Toni,

    The only one I see online is this: https://www.saveliving.com/products/2pcs-Portable-And-Durable-Gold-Colour-Hand-Washer-Pot-Set-(Teko-Cuci-Tangan)/2187
    It’s not the same model though and those kind of washing hand pots are kind of hard to find online for sale, in Malay they’re called teko cuci tangan and those selling are usually “locals” in their own countries.

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