damafen wrote:A bit more what I learned when the dowry issue arose:
I raised the obvious concerns/objections. She dismissed them in our discussion but did, to her credit, discuss them with her family. Their position was that this was part of their tradition (within their family) and that the other son-in-laws (Taiwanese) had paid. It was not about them receiving money but demonstrating my ability to provide and care for their daughter, and about demonstrating my commitment to the relationship. It was also noted that we would receive more back than that amount. And though we never got married for other reasons, her parents did buy her a house free and clear last year when we were still trying to resolve our problems.
They are very traditional - refused to meet me for years. That said, they did agree with the multi-cultural marriage argument. They proposed the engagement-side be by Taiwanese custom and the wedding could be as western as we wanted. They wanted my parents to be at both and proposed doing the engagement ceremony/banquet one weekend and the wedding the next.
I do know a few of folks who paid the dowry. Some received more back in kind at/after marriage, some the money was 'given to the bride' by her parents rather than 'returned', and one it was his inlaw's retirement plan as they had no sons. From what I have heard, the first two seem more common these days when the issue arises - it is about you having the money, not necessarily about them keeping it.
Plenty keep it but if this was simply a ritual designed to benefit you guys as a couple then there isn't much to complain about. Sounds liek the family is preserving tradition but adapting to modern times. Nothing wrong with that and it sounds good that were willing to agree to a mix of traditions for the wedding.