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Weddings... Something Old, Something New....
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The importance of wedding ceremonies in people's lives is unlikely ever to go away with all their different styles and cultures. This year, Chinese "Year of the Dog", many thousands of couples have married in style in the country. But what are new trends in China's wedding industry? And why is the wedding business booming?

In terms of your own wedding ceremony would you rather follow old traditions or have a unique new style ceremony that'll remain fresh in everyone's memories for a very long time?

A gentleman expressing a view on his wedding may very well say, "I always dreamed my wedding ceremony would be held on the top floor of the highest building in Beijing. I want to hold my lover's hand and tell her I love her."

The bride certainly attaches importance to her makeup and wedding dress. She wants her beauty to last forever.
A thoughtful bride may observe, "I think the most important thing should be the wedding pictures because the ceremony only lasts a day or even a few hours. But the wedding pictures can be kept for ever. After 10 or 20 years I can still look back to those beautiful pictures and have my memories."

According to someone in the know about the wedding industry more than 70 percent of young couples still prefer traditional and Western-style mixed weddings.

However, personalized weddings are becoming more popular. Weddings in the sky, underwater, on a yacht... it's really up to you. And this sort of approach brings tremendous business opportunities with it.  

At the just-concluded Beijing Wedding Culture Week held at the Henderson Center many wedding design, photography and jewelry companies spared no efforts in promoting their new products and ideas. 

Ji Liang, a project manager from a Shanghai-based diamond company, says his company makes customized products to meet various demands.

Ji explained, "A traditional jeweler may recommend customers choose from ready-made designs but many--or some?--nowadays have their own distinctive ideas. They want to have unique wedding rings. If they present their designs and they're within our technological capabilities we can make them ourselves."

Liu Rongning has been in the business for many years. He says the wedding industry in China is growing at a rate of 15 percent each year. In 2005 wedding-related spending reached 250 million yuan. This year that figure is expected to break the 300 million yuan mark.

Why is the business growing so fast? Liu Rongning explains the baby boom in the 1980's is why the wedding-related enterprises are on roll. "The longest and most influential baby boom was between 1986 and 1992," says Liu. "Children born during this period of time are starting to get married."

According to Liu some foreign wedding companies have already noticed the potential market. He says he saw a Swiss wedding company in Shanghai not long ago.

Seeing wedding convoys is already a daily occurrence. Whether culture or business the personalized wedding industry is attracting more young couples and service companies.

(CRI November 1, 2006)


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