Beijing registry authorities will open a new on-line marriage booking service on Friday in anticipation of a boom in couples wanting to tie the knot on the opening day of the Olympic Games.
But officials are recommending they book in person at county or district civil affairs bureaus in order to avoid a virtual traffic jam.
Couples wanting to register August 8 as their wedding date can apply from June 20 to August 5. They will get their marriage certificates on August 8 with the booking form, a Beijing Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau official said on Wednesday.
They can also book on the Beijing Municipal Marriage and Adoption Registration Services Website (www.bjhysy.bjmzj.gov.cn) or the Beijing Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau website (www.bjmzj.gov.cn) from July 7 to August 5, he said.
Foreigners, overseas Chinese and citizens of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Macao Special Administrative Region and Taiwan Province, can also benefit from the service.
Chinese couples are keen to tie the knot on an auspicious date. August 8, 2008, or 8-8-08, is more than just a date: it marks both the opening of the Beijing Olympics and is considered a lucky day for marriage with all the number eights in the date.
Eight is the most auspicious number for Chinese who believe it brings fortune and happiness.
"They might be better of registering in person for their own peace of mind because of the possible Internet traffic jam after the online registration opens," said Zhai Jianyong, Municipal Marriage Registration Service Center director.