Cheap vows

Discount marriage ceremonies boom

Cheap vows

Love may be priceless, but getting married surely isn’t. In a slumping economy, many couples in China have chosen to tie the knot on a shoestring.

For example, this year over 30 couples have registered to be married at the 12th Annual Group Wedding held by Shenzhen Women’s Federation, a significant jump compared to last year’s 10, says the Shenzhen Economic Daily. Ms Liu, a staffer at the Federation, reckons that more couples have chosen to participate in a group wedding to cut costs; every couple pays only Rmb3,000 ($438), which is a third of the average wedding cost in China.

Sales have been falling at a number of wedding planning companies around China. Shenzhen Phoenix Wedding Ceremony Company has noticed a 30% reduction in business compared to last year; the most popular wedding package is also the cheapest – Rmb10,000 ($1,460).

As couples spend less on their wedding, they are also reconsidering their honeymoon budgets. Rather than travelling to exotic locations, newly weds are staying closer to home. Kanghui Travel Agency has noticed a 20% decline in revenue for honeymoon tours.

But one area that many couples can’t afford to cut is the lavish wedding banquets. In Chinese culture, no celebration would be complete without feasting on a range of dishes. Although it is a part of the wedding celebration that is becoming less significant to some of the younger generation, the banquet remains very important to most of their parents.

Ji Xuguang, a reader of the Southern Metropolis Daily agrees: “Weddings are not merely a matter between two people; parents enjoy celebrating the marriage of their children by throwing large banquets. So even in recession it is a cost you can’t cut!”

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