Traditionally, this is advised by the “mei po”(Match maker). But match makers are really rarer than dinosaurs nowadays. So most times, couples will settle this themselves with their parents.
So what must the groom give to the bride’s family.
For Gou Da Li
Everything is usually placed in a basket
1) 2 Pairs of Dragon and Phoenix( Long Feng) candles
2) Oranges, commonly 8, 10 or 12
3) Pin Jin (The Money) – Put in a red packet.
x Many = Pin Jing
This is almost the most important in the Singapore context. Nothing else in the package beats this. The amount? The more the merrier (Money is never enough). But seriously, depending on the financial status of your family, it is usually $688, $888, or $1888, $2,888, $6888, $8888, $9999. Of course, you are free to quote any amount, but they usually end with 8. For those grooms shivering in trepidation, not to worry, a portion (although you don’t decide how big the portion is) of the money will be returned to you in the dowry.
4) 2 Bottles of wine
In the Singaporean context, again commonly red wine.
5) Wedding cakes
This can be any cakes. Usually from bridal cake shop, with some pictures or words written on it. But I’ve seen many friends who use modern cafe cakes.
6) Si Dian Jin
As discussed in the article Si Dian Jin
7) Chinese Tea
Usually 6 cans or boxes
7) Dialect group Specific
In the Singaporean context, the Cantonese usually gives dry seafood, the Hokkien usually gives pig trotter (The canned ones, usually 6 cans)
The really traditional families will include Red cloth ( Good luck), Vermicelli (Long Life), Candies( Sweet marriage), different types of grains. I don’t seem to see this in my friends’ weddings. It seems like most Singaporeans will do with the simplified list above.