Warm hearts amid the ice at China sub-zero wedding

Thu Jan 6, 2011 4:09am EST
 
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HARBIN, China (Reuters Life!) - Ice, snow and chilly temperatures couldn't stand in the way of eighteen couples getting married on Thursday at Harbin's Ice and Snow Festival in northeastern China.

The sub-zero wedding takes place every year after the opening of the annual Ice and Snow Festival in the city of Harbin, attracting couples from around the globe.

Despite temperatures that dipped below -16 degrees Celsius (3 degrees Fahrenheit), couples from Russia, the United States, Japan, Canada, Vietnam and four different Chinese provinces gathered in front of a massive snow sculpture to say "I do."

Family members, friends and well-wishers also braved the freezing conditions to attend.

"My wife really likes snow. And I think the purity of the snow reflects the purity of our love," said Huang Pengzhi, a native of Heilongjiang in northeastern China, who wed Wang Yipin.

"I think this type of environment is a test and a testament to our love, and I hope that our future life together can withstand the test of time."

The couples wore traditional Chinese attire and exchanged vows and rings on stage before colorful balloons were released and fireworks set off to celebrate their union.

In addition to the wedding and snow sculptures, Harbin offers visitors a slew of snow and ice-related activities, ranging from ice swimming to hot air ballooning, ice sculpture competitions, and various winter sports.

The Snow and Ice Festival will run until Feb 17th.

(Reporting and writing by Roya Stevens, editing by Elaine Lies)