New Age wedding style are becoming so popular in China now.
One hundred and fifty thousand couples got married in Shanghai two years ago. Many Chinese couples are willing to spend a lot .That is 50% more than 2005.
A wedding craze sweeping China is causing a boom for the country's retailers. Couples are tripping over one another to get married this year and many are stretching themselves financially in order to do so. Preparing for a wedding can take a long time. This couple spent $17,500 on their wedding and honeymoon - more than their combined annual earnings.
Luckily, they both have savings. "According to Chinese tradition weddings are large scale, extravagant affairs," the bride says. "It's only once in a lifetime. "Although we spent many years of savings to make our wedding memorable and impressive, we feel it's worth it." The groom agrees. "If our guests feel that the wedding is unforgettable then we have achieved our goal," he says.
The couple treated their 220 guests to a five-course banquet followed by games with prizes, champagne and a slice of their four-tier wedding cake. The wedding was held at the four star Intercontinental Hotel in Shanghai, which has raised its rates by 10% in response to this year's high demand. Even so, all the weekend wedding dates in 2006 are already booked out.
A combination of more couples choosing to get married in 2006, more 1980s baby-boomers reaching marrying age and the growing affluence in China's cities is causing an all time boom in the wedding industry. Wedding planning agencies are on the front line.
Wedding rings, a Western tradition, are becoming popular. There are more than 1,000 wedding planning firms in Shanghai but there's plenty of business to go around. According to Han Yong, the general manager of Shanghai Jingcai Wedding Consultancy, "This year we have received requests from 200 couples to plan their weddings compared with 80 requests by this time last year," he says. "I've had to employ three times as many staff to meet demand."
Wedding planners are not the only ones benefiting from the current boom. Paris Bride photo salon is one of several hundred wedding photography studios in downtown Shanghai. Next year is not considered a good year for marriages In modern Chinese culture, it is common practice for a couple to spend an entire day prior to the wedding itself having their picture taken. At this salon, it is currently necessary to book your photo shoot half a year in advance, with some couples even booking before they have set a wedding date, according to deputy general manager, Qiu Yujuan. "What we are doing to accommodate the current wedding boom is offering a range of new themes including our most popular, Queen Katherine - where the couple have their photos taken in period costume against an ancient royal background."
Others have themselves superimposed on false backgrounds to make it look as though they have visited faraway shores. Another trend, this time adopted from the West, is the buying of wedding rings. Both men and women get an engagement ring and the woman also gets a diamond ring to mark the marriage.