Nothing says I love you like ... a flying veil, China’s latest wedding fad

Something old, something new, something borrowed ... something airborne? A new gimmick is giving a lift to a couple’s big day

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 May, 2018, 8:47am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 May, 2018, 7:23pm

The quest for the perfect wedding knows no limits in China. Pets, cartoon characters and even troupes of singers and dancers accompany some brides and grooms on their big day.

But a new craze is adding fun, romance and theatre to the rites: the flying veil.

A system of rails, pulleys and cutters sends the veil zooming from the bridegroom across the room to the bride. If all goes to plan, the veil falls gently onto the woman at the centre of it all.

“For guests it is a novel thing to watch, but for the bride that moment feels like an important ritual and very touching,” said Stark Zhang, a wedding planner with Nanjing Wedding Daheng Internet.

“Brides who have used it have all loved it.”

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Zhang, who to date has planned more than 20 weddings featuring a flying veil, said many couples still wanted weddings with the familiar components that have remained unchanged for years. But the flying veil was a popular option for others looking for something different.

And so, while a bride stands waiting, romantic music plays. As the airborne veil makes its journey, lighting adding to the visual effect.

Once the veil has landed, the bridegroom then joins the bride for their first walk together.

The craze began late last year when a Shanghai wedding planner introduced a flying veil at a wedding and posted a video online. His innovation was soon copied across the country.

The design was very simple. Fishing twine was tied at the two front corners of the veil and then slid along a wire rail, unseen by the guests.

A remotely controlled electric motor pulled the wire and cut it off when the veil was right above the bride.

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“In the beginning there were accidents such as the veil flying past the bride, or the veil didn’t fall or only fell on one side. The veil didn’t always fly at even speed, either,” Zhang said.

“The system has been improved to the third generation.

“The design is very well established now and the control very simple without any hiccups.”

Adding the flying veil to a ceremony is not expensive, according to Amy Li, a Beijing wedding planner with Zhiai Qingcheng Wedding Ceremony.

“It is usually included in our wedding ceremony package and does not cost extra, but if someone wants that part only, the cost is probably about 1,000 yuan (US$157),” she said.

Li said she advised most couples to include a flying veil in their ceremony, because it was on-trend.

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Buying one online in China costs about 400 yuan. One seller, Zhenai Wedding Tools and Gears of Zibo, Shandong province, told the South China Morning Post that he had sold about 100 in the past month, mostly to wedding planners.

“It is a reliable and simple tool to operate, but needs practice to make the flying smooth and without accident,” he said.