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February 19, 2011

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Price of wedded bliss goes up

MARRIAGE certificates may have dropped in price, but Shanghai couples looking to tie the knot face a big hike in wedding costs, according to a local trade body.

While the cost of a certificate is down from 9 yuan (US$1.37) to 5 yuan, the price of jewelry and wedding banquets will soar this year, the Shanghai Wedding Trade Association said yesterday.

Officials said, according to their investigations, most couples will spend on average 30,000 to 40,000 yuan on jewelry - including around 18,000 yuan on diamond rings. That total is 8,000 yuan more than last year.

"My mother-in-law said I should buy a complete set of jewelry for my wife for the wedding, including rings, necklace and earrings," said 31-year-old Ren Jing. "And of course, I cannot buy cheapies. This is undoubtedly a big expense."

Couples are prepared to pay most for wedding rings, as these are seen as the symbol of their love.

"The Spring Festival pushed up diamond prices and there may be further increases," said He Lina, deputy secretary general of the association.

"Last year, people accepted 0.5 carats of diamond, but this year they want 0.7 carats."

Wedding banquet are another big expense for couples, and prices have been rising in recent years.

The association said that due to rising commodity prices, wedding banquets would be 10 percent more expensive this year.

However, bookings for wedding banquets at hotels and restaurants remain strong, with holiday periods sold out.

Ren said his wedding banquet will include 30 tables, and each table will cost him and his wife 3,000 yuan. "And this is after a 20 percent discount," he said.

Association officials said this year's wedding expo will be held at the Shanghai Exhibition Center from February 25 to 27. Couples will be able to obtain discounts on jewelry, banquets and photography there.


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