Connie Wan Pui-lam
The financial turmoil across the world is not going to stop local couples from getting married this year, and wedding planners are expecting more business during a “good year” in the lunar calendar.
Wedding planner Ms Sharon Au Wai-fong, the director of Sharon Au Wedding Consultants, explained that it is a “good year” because the “double month” in Lunar May symbolises nourishing love between couples, which implies a good time for marriage.
Mr Leung and his girlfriend were planning to get married in a year’s time.
As both of them are working in the banking and financial sector, which suffers the most in the financial tsunami, Mr Leung was worried of losing his job when his company was downsizing.
He also worried that pre-payment for his wedding would be lost when the catering sector is not doing any better during the financial meltdown.
“The largest spending will be the wedding banquet. I am worried if the restaurant or wedding salon would close down, even though the amount of the deposit I have paid is not too much,” he said.
Although Mr Leung started to save money long before his proposal to his girlfriend in last December, “we need to bargain with the restaurant manager to get more discounts.”
The website ESDlife conducted a survey between December last year and January, aiming at collecting couples’ opinions towards the preparation work of wedding especially during the economic downturn.
The survey showed that 88 percent of the 1,032 interviewees, who were getting married in the coming two years, would not postpone their plans.
But 65 per cent of the interviewees were concerned about losing their deposits if businesses such as restaurants closed down, and 55 per cent of the respondents said they were worried that they would not be able to afford the wedding expenses if they were laid off.
The demand for wedding banquets was expected to decrease, as couples preferred a lunch buffet or even as simple as a little refreshment, in order to cut down expenses, Ms Au said.
Saving money seems to be the ultimate goal for couples getting married this year.
Mr Yiu and Miss Lo’s wedding is scheduled in October, the couple said they did not need a wedding planner for their wedding.
Miss Lo said many of her friends were married recently, and she would seek advices from them.
And so did Mr Leung. He said wedding planner might be too expensive for low and middle income earners like him.
He added that information related to wedding is easily accessible on the internet, including comments and tips from netizens.
“We would like to do the planning by ourselves,” Mr Leung said. “The process may be tough but we can gain happiness and experience in exchange.”
However, a wedding consultant said more couples chose their service compared to last year.
“One of the reasons for the rise in demand for our wedding consultation maybe that, there are two days marking the start of spring and the leap month in the Year of the Ox,” Ms Lo Kan-fong, another wedding planner said.
Ms Lo advised couples to plan in advance to avoid unnecessary spending.
According to the Marriage Registration of the Immigration Department, there were 98 and 53 couples married at the marriage registries in the Lantern Festival, which is the Chinese Valentine’s Day, and the Valentine’s Day respectively.
Comparing with last year’s figures, the number of marriage registration in the Lantern Festival slightly increased from 93 to 98. But the number in the Valentine’s Day dropped significantly from 123 to 53.
“We would like to do the planning ourselves. The process may be tough but we can gain happiness and experience in exchange,” Mr Leung said.
Edited by Timmy Sung Shiu-chung