Weddings in China

Weddings in China are very much different, that they are in Europe. I am not talking about various wedding traditions… Just the idea of having a wedding is so much different between West and East.

Imagine a big wedding in Slovakia. For instance, in a castle with a carriage and harnessed horses, a live band and lavish food…does it sound expensive? Not in Shanghai, because even such an expensive Slovak wedding costs nothing compared to an average wedding in Shanghai. There it normally costs more than 20,000 Euros. And it is not easy for a man to avoid this big amount of money. Why?

The weddings only take place in big, luxurious hotels. Almost nobody plans the wedding in a small restaurant because you have wedding usually only once in a life and the parents were saving up for this occasion all their lives. It is also, among other things, about showing off, establishing and renewing important contacts and starting the future for their children. The luxurious hotels won’t rent their venues to future newlyweds unless they book a minimum of 15 tables – each of them seating about 10 people. This comes with a stage, video presentation, expensive dinner and expensive alcohol…

It also comes with a secret. For many people, marriage is a tool. The tool used for making new friends with important guests, who after the big wedding and great entertainment usually tend to help out in a career field. The guests don’t just include family and friends. Included are also the work colleagues, bosses, and the work colleagues of their parents and their bosses too…

Most often, the wedding is a way to get money. In China, it is a custom to give money as a wedding present. It’s not just a custom but an obligation. As soon as a person is invited for the wedding, regardless of whether he attends or not, he has to give a financial donation. Therefore, you also have to invite people who invited you before to their weddings. The debts have to be repaid. If a person attends a cheap wedding and is not properly looked after, his financial gift won’t be very generous. On the contrary, if 150 guests give financial gifts of thousands of Yuan, not only do they cover the wedding expenses but also the newlyweds can start their debut to their new life.

The young generation of Chinese people think of the wedding differently; maybe we could say they think of a wedding with more of a modern mind. They wouldn’t mind having a small wedding, although such a small wedding venue is hard to find. And another bigger problem is that you have to wait for about a year to get the venue – all of them are fully booked. Therefore, in Shanghai it is common to get married in a town hall and then organize the wedding for about a year later. Sometimes even two years later.

To get married in the town hall is very fast – a person comes and if he has his papers alright, he signs a paper and gets a marriage certificate (in China they get a license). You don’t need any witnesses and you are done in fifteen minutes. That’s why so called ‘naked weddings’ are popular among young people in China. A wedding without a wedding, the lovers get married in the town hall. Because it is beautifully simple. They possibly invite family and friends for a dinner later on.

Weddings in China are very much different, that they are in Europe. I am not talking about various wedding traditions… Just the idea of having a wedding is so much different between West and East.