‘Just Marry’ says the English on the hood of this Porsche wagon parked in front of the hotel where we stay. Even though Chinese weddings have been influenced by the way it is done in the West, some key differences remain. The couple registers the wedding first, and then one or more wedding banquets (xǐ-jǐu 喜酒 or ‘joyful wine’) will follow – and those are far more important than the actual wedding itself. The bride and groom also have their pictures taken days or weeks before their wedding day with glamor shots from historic sites and picturesque spots.
The Year of the Dragon is an auspicious year for marriage in China, and so the number of marriages in 2012 is expected to be up 10% or more compared with recent years.