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Brides mean business

By Xu Xiao | China Daily | Updated: 2014-04-08 07:22

Hotels, event planners, cake bakers and dress makers are eying up the wedding market, which is expected to boom as a generation of Chinese born in the 1980s and 1990s look to tie the knot.

Public data showed the country's annual spend on marriage ceremonies was 400 billion yuan ($64.3 billion), about 2.5 percent of GDP.

The figure is just the tip of the iceberg as the wedding sector is a sunrise industry, expected to grow rapidly in coming years.

Domestic wedding service site researched 20 Chinese cities in 2012 and found the average wedding spend per person ranged from 926 yuan to 4,400 yuan.

The research also found that in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou, demand for luxury hotels and venues was rising despite extortionate prices. In Beijing the price per table for a wedding banquet in a five-star hotel can be more than 10,000 yuan.

The forthcoming generation of Chinese to marry, whose parents were mostly born in the 1950s and 1960s, stick to the idea of a wedding as a once in a lifetime event that should be arranged well with little consideration of cost.

Their belief is that an extravagant wedding for their only child is the best way to "show off" to relatives and friends, analysts said.

Love is a journey

Every couple has a different idea of the perfect place to mark milestones in their relationship but more people are looking to enjoy some of these overseas.

"Chinese couples now have expectations for their weddings in a more unique and personalized way. More and more couples have adopted the idea of traveling to a unique destination to get engaged, tie the knot, for honeymoon or to celebrate anniversaries, " said Sandeep Bahl, regional general manager Asia, Air New Zealand.

Bahl said the company recently started a campaign called "Love is a Journey" that includes a series of heart-warming online videos featuring three different couples in a documentary style interview.

The couples, whose ages range from the early 30s to 60s, represent the airline's target demographic and all share a passion for travel.

Each story links back to how New Zealand is the ideal destination to celebrate their special occasion, whether it's getting engaged or married, enjoying a honeymoon or celebrating an anniversary.

"For a small carrier like us, in order to create better brand awareness and to punch above our weight, we consistently adopt a creative and innovative approach in our marketing campaigns," he said.

Love is in the air

An extravagant, romantic and unique proposal is what many girls hope for and for a group lucky ladies their dreams became reality.

China World Summit Wing, a Shangri-La group hotel based in one of Beijing's tallest skyscrapers, invited 33 couples up to the 330-meter helipad to pop the question.

The lovers were recruited through the hotel's official Weibo and Wechat before the men got down on their knees on March 31.

The newly weds celebrated by flying balloons with cards carrying their best wishes for their future marriages.

"When hustle-bustle vehicles and people are flowing below while promises of love are in the air, I believe every participant will take it as an unforgettable moment of their life," said Li Yongjia, marketing and sales director at the hotel.

Art of love

Couples looking for the perfect place to hold their nuptials can host an artistic wedding at The Ritz-Carlton Beijing, Financial Street.

The hotel can transform its 900 square meter ballroom and front hall into a scene from a fairytale. The roof, tables and ground can be decorated with flowers and butterflies, fairies, crystals and trees that create a dreamlike effect.

Couples can also choose to have photographs, which are to the theme of love, on display.

"Love is a language without boundaries. It means trust, patience, honesty, respect and compromise," said Rory Slater, executive assistant manager at the hotel.

Slater said the hotel looks to give couples a peaceful and sacred feeling for their special day.

A similar choice for a tranquil yet elegant venue is the Four Seasons Hotel Beijing, which has its atrium sculpted with 66 m long art exhibition of Jane Dyer, a popular illustrator of more than 50 children's books.

"It is a favorite place to say 'I do' beneath 400 stainless steel Chinese peacock butterflies that are traditional symbols of love and dream," said the hotel executive.

Every bride wants to look their best on their special day and many dream of wearing a designer gown.

The Park Hyatt Beijing has teamed up with fashion brands Vera Wang, Giorgio Armani and Wedgewood, as well as wedding planner Mocha to give those who want it a tailor-made surprise this month.

 Brides mean business

A newly-wed couple on Dunedin Beach in New Zealand.



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