Ideas & Advice

Pin Jin or Dowry: What you should know about this Chinese wedding tradition

A Chinese wedding tradition, Pin Jin, the bride’s price, is a practice in which the groom’s family offers the bride’s family an amount of money as a symbol of respect.

A Chinese wedding tradition, Pin Jin, the bride’s price, is a practice in which the groom’s family offers the bride’s family an amount of money as a symbol of respect. It’s normally given during Guo Da Li, the Chinese betrothal ceremony.

The tradition of Pin Jin stems from the Chinese belief that that when a daughter is married, she leaves the family while the in-laws receives her into theirs. Thus, Pin Jin symbolises the bride’s value to the groom’s family. It is also given to create goodwill between the in-laws.

It sounds simple enough, but as with all money matters, discussions following up to the actual event can be tricky for couples to navigate. The amount given should preferably be something both families can agree on – it should not only show the generosity of the groom’s family, but bride’s family should look to be reasonable and fair as well.

Here’s the kicker: There’s no market rate for Pin Jin. It’s entirely up to the couple and the families to decide upon the amount – which also contributes to the trickiness of the situation.

“I will advise other couples to discuss with your parents exactly what they expect before meeting with your in-laws to ensure that there’s no unhappiness.” – Yan Ling, 29, Marketing executive.

While there isn’t a set market rate, here are some guidelines you can follow:

  • An even amount is preferable.
  • The auspicious number 8 is usually favoured as it symbolizes prosperity and luck.
  • It’s best to have the Pin Jin to range in the thousands, as daughters are also referred to as Qian Jing.
  • The most common amounts given range from $1,888 to $8,888.
  • There is no minimum sum, nor is there a limit as well. It is entirely up to you.
  • The bride’s family will return a part of the total Pin Jin to the groom’s family. This is also up to the discretion of the bride’s parents.

“My husband and I were the ones who paid for our banquet, and my parents took 10 tables for our wedding banquet, so even though the Pin Jin was relatively lower, they were okay with it. Both my in-laws have retired so we didn’t want to over-burden them as well.” – Belinda, 33, HR manager.

In addition, there are other considerations depending on your dialect and how traditional the bride’s parents are. While ensuring the bride is given the correct dowry items is fairly straight-forward (you can seek guidance from shops specialising in Guo Da Li items), the latter differs from family to family.

Requesting $8,888 may seem reasonable to your parents, but may seem ostentatious to your in-laws. We would all like to avoid a situation when we’d have to confront our parents/in-laws that what they are asking for is unreasonable.


Here’s what you can do when this happens:

  • Open and clear communication is key.
  • Never turn a cold shoulder to your parents.
  • Try to understand why your parents are asking for/giving this amount. For the brides, more often than not, it’s because the parents didn’t want their daughter to be undervalued.
  • Try to work out a consensus between both families before hard feelings arise. Create a give and take situation.

“Give what you can give and hopefully your in-law will be understanding! My in-laws knew that my wife and I were keeping most of our savings for our resale flat.” – Joshua, 27, Engineer.

Solution includes offering extra tables in the banquet in exchange for a lower Pin Jin, or preparing a higher amount symbolic of the bride’s value and having 90% of it returned.

At the end of it, remember that it’s for a happy occasion and a wedding should not cause permanent rifts in your families.