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Wedding planners add romance to Chinese wedding ceremonies
2005-11-22 01:57:10 Xinhua English

BEIJING, Nov. 22 (Xinhuanet) -- Firecrackers illuminated a Lafittecastle-type architecture on land. As rose petals showered down on the gate way, a bride in a white wedding gown entered the castle arm-in-arm with her bridegroom.

"Such a wedding was the lovers' dream, and the effect was exactly what I planned for," said Yang Bei, planner of this wedding set in the outskirt of Beijing.

Yang said that many Chinese are tired of conventional weddings at restaurants or hotels, which are often brought to a climax after dishes and wine cups from the wedding dinner clutter up dozens of tables.

Traditional wedding proceedings are more tiresome than memorable to newly-weds, said Yang. "Anyway, that kind of things left me with some regrets about my own wedding."

Yang works with the Beijing Kangning Wedding Service Co. The former accountant said she finds wedding planning much more fashionable and interesting than her former profession.

China's modern wedding service industry started in 1990s. The country's earliest group of wedding planners appeared in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province, in 2000. Not until 2003 did it become a popular profession in all major Chinese cities.

Today, a million-dollar wedding is not at all weird across China, said Shi Kangning, general manager of the Kangning Wedding Service Co.

Shi said that high-class urbanites account for 5 percent of customers for wedding service companies, but their consumption amounts to 80 percent of the market.

"On average, it takes a wedding planner two months to prepare for a wedding, and the cost is between 20,000 and 30,000 yuan (2,500 and 3,750 US dollars)," said Shi.

Generally speaking, a modern Chinese wedding is a combination of red-theme Chinese conventions and the white-theme western ceremonies. Wedding planners tailor special wedding designs according to customers' requests and based on their own ideas to create an air of romance and make each wedding assignment unique.

"We do not have a regular salary or holidays. Our income depends on commissions. But wedding planning is very rewarding. I can satisfy myself with every beautiful smile at weddings," said Yang.

Wedding planning has not yet become a profession listed in job categories by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. However, some industry insiders projected that there is a market vacancy for 100,000 wedding planners.

Kangning Wedding Service Co. founded in 2000 has 10 wedding planners who undertake an average 200 weddings a year.

The Wedding and Celebration Service Industry Committee under the Chinese Association of Social Work which was established in February 2004 regulates the booming industry.

The committee provides training and examinations and issues licenses to certify professional wedding toastmasters, wedding planners and photographers. An A-grade licensed wedding planner requires five years of job experience.

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