updated 10 Feb 2010, 12:23
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Wed, Feb 10, 2010
China Daily/Asia News Network
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Wedding planners under fire

Up to 70 per cent of Beijing's wedding planners engage in substandard practices and put at risk the happiest day of many couple's lives, experts say.

Shi Yu, deputy director-general of the committee for the wedding services industry (CWSY), said the industry faces a drastic overhaul when a new regulation governing its practices comes in to effect on Dec 1.

Shi said there are about 800 wedding planning companies in the city, and many were "a flower store turned into a wedding planning company".

Some don't have formal offices, employees or offer clients a contract. Shi said these companies use inferior or even hazardous materials, which pose a safety risk.

"As many as 70 per cent of those wedding services companies don't conform to the newly-released regulation on wedding planning services which will put into effect on Dec 1," Shi said.

"Wedding planning companies won't feel the pinch immediately but will eventually.

"When customers get a better understanding of the regulation, they will only choose companies that conform to the regulation.

"Those who don't will be eliminated in the end."

A China Investment Research Consultant survey found that 88 per cent of newlyweds had professional wedding photos, 49 per cent hired a wedding planning company and 78 per cent had celebration in hotel.

Couples spent an average of 30,000- 40,000 yuan ($6,141 - $8,188) on a wedding. In 2005, the average expenditure was 20,000 yuan, the survey found.

A newlywed surnamed Guo told METRO she was upset about the service provided by Jianghe wedding planning company for her big day on Oct 8.

"There were countless trivial problems in my wedding celebration. The bouquet cost 160 yuan when I can easily get a similar one for 40 yuan in a flower market."

"Furthermore, the size of exhibition board in the hotel's hall is much smaller than we negotiated, but the company charged me the original price.

"I complained to the company after the wedding, and wanted to pay 500 yuan less out of 13,000 yuan we agreed on in the contract, but they told me they would discuss it with me after the wedding photos and video were edited.

"I paid them the full price without arguing anymore. All my wedding footage is in their possession, I don't want them to be so irritated that they wouldn't edit my video carefully."

Hou Zhenchun, manager of Jianghe wedding planning said: "It is really hard to satisfy every customer's demand, but we will carry out our business in line with our contract."

In order to standardize the market, CWSY, an organization affiliated to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, drafted the regulation earlier this year.

It stipulates that a contract must be drawn up between the parties and that clients are given all original film footage, including videotapes and photos.

In addition, ignitable materials such as sprays are forbidden to use during the celebration and rented wedding gowns have to conform to sanitary standards.

In 2008, 147,516 couples were married in Beijing, according to statistics released by Beijing municipal bureau of statistics.

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