American firm taps China's huge wedding-planning market

Mon Dec 5, 2011 2:32pm EST
 
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By Sabrina Mao and Terril Yue Jones

BEIJING (Reuters) - As young Chinese become wealthier, there is one area where they are increasingly looking to make a big impression on their families and friends and create lifelong memories for themselves: weddings.

And with Chinese spending some $57 billion a year on weddings and half of young people in this country saying they need help in planning their marriage ceremonies, an American company is looking to capitalize on what it sees as a huge business opportunity here: training Chinese wedding planners.

Weddings Beautiful Worldwide has just set up a joint venture in China to bring its expertise in training wedding planners to this country, where young couples can use help figuring out how to spend the equivalent of thousands of dollars and more to celebrate their nuptials.

"With the fast economic development in China, consumers are choosing more unique and personalized weddings, giving a boost to the wedding industry in China," Raul Vasquez, president of the joint venture, known as Weddings Beautiful China, said in Beijing recently.

Weddings by Ling, the Chinese partner in the venture, is a boutique wedding planning firm catering to high-end Chinese couples, expatriates and Chinese celebrities, and providing online consultation.

It brings a range of established partnerships with flower shops, car rental companies and hotels offering wedding banquets, and other vendors and service providers.

Living in a globally connected world and in a fast-growing economy, young Chinese want not only a traditional, formal Chinese wedding ceremony, but western and modern elements such as walking down the aisle with bridesmaids, ushers, a flower girl and a ring bearer, Vasquez said.

The joint venture plans to groom a new generation of wedding planners through an 18-part training course to become a "certified wedding specialist." -- a career for which there appears to be ample demand.   Continued...

 
<p>A wedding party pose for pictures with the Oriental Pearl TV Tower in the background on a hazy day in Shanghai in this May 3, 2011 file photo. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/Files</p>