Wedding bells ring loud and clear as economy booms

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 October, 2007, 12:00am

The booming economy is fuelling a surge in marriages, with more couples willing to shell out big money for their special day, a survey has found.

The survey by ESDlife projected that more than HK$10 billion would be spent on weddings this year.

Some 50,300 couples married last year, 17 per cent more than in 2005. Median spending on weddings this year rose to HK$200,000, from HK$180,500 last year.

ESDlife, a website that delivers the government's electronic services - including wedding bookings - surveyed 1,124 people who were married or engaged. The online poll was conducted in July and August.

Thirty-six per cent of respondents had spent up to HK$300,000 on their weddings this year.

The survey also found the improved economy had prompted more couples to cash in on the stock market for their wedding spending - 42 per cent used their gains from investments to pay for weddings, compared to just 7 per cent last year.

ESDlife chief executive Tony Ma explained: 'Traditionally, people like to save up for their wedding, but nowadays more people choose to invest their money.'

Desiree Lam Ki-wann, wedding channel manager at ESDlife, said rapid investment gains also allowed couples to shorten the time taken to prepare for their wedding.

The survey showed that wedding banquets were still the biggest expense, accounting for more than 50 per cent of wedding costs.

Couples were also spending more on wedding photography, with some taking two or more sets of wedding pictures.

'It shows couples are willing to spend more to capture memories of their big day,' Ms Lam said.

Olivia Chak Leong-ching is among those who are splashing out on their weddings.

Mrs Chak, who wed in Guam, plans two banquets, the first later this month in Taipei and another in Hong Kong. 'My husband is Taiwanese, that's why we're having one in Taipei,' she explained.

Mrs Chak estimated the banquets accounted for more than 50 per cent of their overall spending.

'I think we will probably spend close to HK$400,000 for all the costs. We got some help from my husband's parents and others came from our savings,' she said.

Mrs Chak said she had been tempted to invest her savings but feared she would not be able to marry if she made a bad investment.

Mrs Chak added they had taken wedding photographs twice - once in Guam and again in Taipei.

'Maybe because of my husband, otherwise I probably wouldn't have had them taken in Taiwan, and the other one is part of the wedding package in Guam.'