The wedding stinger

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 March, 2009, 12:00am

It should be the happiest day of your life: a moving ceremony, before family and friends wish the bride, in an exquisite dress, and the groom, dressed to the nines, all the best until death do you part.

It will also be one of the costliest days of your lives.

In the lead-up to the big day, you tramp all over town looking at stationery, flowers, venues, cakes and other items for which you had never before spared a second thought.

'Oh, a wedding,' says the shop attendant. 'You'll want the wedding package. It's a special day, after all.'

In this era of bride wars, it is normal to spend US$30,000 (the average in the United States) on the special day. Bridal magazines offer US$20,000 dresses, US$1,000 cakes and US$20 per chair decorations. Even a Hong Kong church-organised pre-wedding counselling course is expensive. At HK$1,000 per session, and with 10 sessions in the course, this is a significant sum.

The bridal industry is big business and Hong Kong hosted yet another wedding-themed trade fair this month.

A survey by the Ministry of Commerce and China Wedding Expo shows an average couple spend more than 126,000 yuan (HK$143,000) on their wedding.

There are thousands of jobs riding on your big day but is a simple ceremony, in front of family and friends, with pleasant food and drinks, for a reasonable price, too much to ask?