The parents of each family then bargain with each other as tokens of intent with more tokens and therefore a price would be set generally considered dowry in other countries for the family of the girl. The Yenta would then ask the bride to be's family for various dates for the actual wedding and also when such gifts should be handed over.
Gifts from the males would be:
Tea ~ this is MANDATORY sort of..
cakes ~ This is also semi mandatory more = better they are dragon/phoenix cakes i.e. male/female cakes.
An Itemised list is presented so the Yenta doesn't dip his or her hands into the gifts.
The bride's family then sends wedding invites out along with cakes the older you are (and wealthier) the more chance you will get an invite and a cake, TCG is not particularly young or old and is piss poor therefore never receives cakes and cakes kind of died out decades ago.
Cakes are NOT free you attend the wedding you are expected to bring a red packet with hard cold cash in them, in the past it was left up to the discretion of people to put as much or as little as they could afford. In Modern day greed centric Hong Kong they ask for huge sums of money. You may recall a previous post about extortion on Chinese new year, I consider this equal as extortion, my cousins think so too as they receive invitations that state £500 as a gift to the bride and groom. It used to be £100, bloody greedy shits.
This is probably why TCG does not have an address to which to send such invites to, no invites no pay big wedges of money which is good considering I am piss poor anyway and have little love for my extended family.
These gifts are supposed to be 'acknowledgement' or rather compensation for the efforts of the parents in raising the girl and acceptance of the gifts indicates they are willing to give the bride to the family of the man. That's GIVE the bride to the FAMILY not the groom. You're one of us now as you might call it.
Has some overtones of
"We are the Borg. Lower your shields, and surrender your ship. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service ours. Resistance is futile."
But this is just the negotiation, once it is agreed as to how much she is 'worth' the agreement is made and unless both families agree to annul it there is no escape. This is a particular bastard when agreements are made when you are a child since you've taken the payment.
Anyway the bride's family shows off the gifts as a show of social status and love for daughter.
In modern day Hong Kong and most of China this does not happen very often maybe in some rural areas but modern cities nope doth not happen, wedding cakes are replaced by paper envelope demands for money which people like me attempt to avoid.
This however does not prevent the said parents showing off to their peers and boasting of their son or daughter marrying somebody of wealth or high social status though. Which is the modern form of this sort of arrangement, as gifts between families? Doesn't happen anymore well it might do but rarely.
Such boasts are often completely filled with lies and bullshit and thus must be taken with a handful of salt, I've personally caught many bullshitters out this way the problem is parents will use said bullshit against their own children
"look how fucking useless you are compared to so and so's son."
Ha I caught my uncle doing this more than once where he lied copiously about my cousin without telling him of the actual lies, I caught him out and he went all ad hominem against me.
Tomorrow maybe today the actual preparations and rituals and how or "Chinese people we have by and large abandoned them completely"