Stellar Guest Guide: Buddhist Wedding Etiquette

June 17, 2013    |    By +
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Wedding-Thumbnail_Buddist_finalSometimes we get invited to an event and have no idea what to expect or what is expected of us. We’ve all been there; confused, bumbling and ultimately embarrassed. But, it doesn’t have to be that way! I’m doing a whole series on weddings so that no matter what kind of wedding you get invited to, you’ll show up like a pro. This time, I’m setting the record straight on Buddhist wedding guest etiquette. What’s going to happen? What are you supposed to wear? Will anything weird go on that I have to participate in? Well, Buddhist weddings are not all one in the same. In fact, the style and traditions practiced mostly depend on the origin and depth of faith of the couple.

The Gift:

  • Money in amounts ending in the number 1 (one) is the best gift because it is considered good luck.
  • Tuck the cash into a traditional red envelope with gold and black lettering for extra points. You can find these at most Asian grocery stores.
  • Steer clear of any traditional Buddhist Deities or other religious gifts if you are not a Buddhist yourself.
  • Always check for an online wedding registry or speak to family or friends of the couple if you want to buy a physical gift.

The Rules:

  • Bride and groom will dress nicely but not necessarily in traditional Buddhist robes or western white wedding dress
  • Wear whatever you want that is in good taste and modest
  • Women’s shoulders should be covered
  • Take your shoes off at the temple and don’t point the bottoms of your feet towards a Buddha or the official performing the ceremony
  • Throwing rice after the ceremony is considered inappropriate
  • The bride and groom may go from table to table at the reception to receive toasts from each guest so be prepared to wish them well

Because the rules can vary so widely for Buddhist weddings, it’s best to consult a friend or family member of the couple to verify that you are following protocol.

There you have it! It’s your easy guide to surviving a Buddhist wedding with savoir faire. I hope that you feel better about being a guest and can have some fun now. Remember that weddings are celebrations after all.

Stay tuned for more wedding guest etiquette.

And, if you want to go rogue and buy a wedding gift without consulting their registry or their traditions…see all of our favorite wedding gifts!

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Kathryn D.W.
Kathryn Drury Wagner is the senior manager of content at Gifts.com. She was formerly the executive editor at Honolulu Magazine, and is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Shopping on Oahu. Her career has included staff positions at Country Living Gardener and Power & Motoryacht. Her latest book is "Hawaii's Strangest, Ickiest, Wildest Book Ever!"

Gwen P.
Gwen is the Editorial Curator at Gifts.com. In addition to writing blogs, she creates gift guides, curates the site, and produces content for our social media channels. As a freelance writer, she created blogs on fashion, art, travel, health and lifestyle. A talented jewelry designer, she's also a yogi and a hospital volunteer with her therapy dog, Lilo, a Pomeranian.