Hong Kong couples putting off their toasts after saying ‘I do’ amid protests

The ongoing protests are ruining the plans of Hong Kong couples who want to get married.

About 12 per cent of 729 couples who had planned to get married between now and 2021 have delayed their plans because of the social unrest that is now into its fifth month, according to a survey conducted by the popular online platform ESDlife this month.

In addition, some 1 per cent of those surveyed have cancelled their wedding banquets and other ceremonies as a result of the protests.

Still, Hong Kong couples on average plan to spend HK$369,166 (S$64,100) on their wedding, including rings, banquets and honeymoon, which is 2 per cent higher compared to a similar survey last year.
ESDLife is a joint venture between tycoon Li Ka-shing’s CK Hutchison and Hewlett-Packard, which operate an online media lifestyle website to provide range of information on subjects rangings from weddings to family issues. It provides marketing and digital solution to corporate clients.

The protests started on June 9 when 1 million people rallied on the streets peacefully to oppose the now abandoned extradition bill.

These protests have turned violent since July, mostly during the weekends, affecting plans to host wedding banquets.

A staff member at Chariot Club, a popular venue at Melbourne Plaza in Central, said that although some couples have decided to delay their wedding until the protests die down, a few were sticking to the original plans but were opting to move their banquets to weekdays to avoid the weekend mayhem.

PHOTO: South China Morning Post

“There are many requests to change the wedding banquets from dinners to lunches, while some are moving the dates from weekends to weekdays to avoid the protests. There have also been a few cases where they have cancelled bookings,” the club employee said.
He added that there have been some requests to start the banquet earlier on the weekends so that guests could leave early in case there were any transport problems.

MTR, the city’s railway operator, has become a prime target of attacks by the protesters who continue to vandalise and set fire at the entrances of most stations.
The operator has suspended train services at 10pm or 11pm over the past few weeks, compared with normal operating hours of running the services after midnight.
Ivan Wong, who plans to get married on November 30 at Beas River Country Club in Sheung Shui, has no plan to change the date and banquet dinner.
“The location is far away from the protest areas, so I believe it will be safe. Also, it is a lucky date for marrying so I want to stick to the date,” Wong said.
Some 33 per cent of the respondents in the survey said they have given wedding exhibitions a miss because of the protests, while 20 per cent have seen an increase in their expenses as they have had to postpone their banquets.
They also said that restaurants hosting their banquets were demanding higher deposits to avoid cancellations.
The survey also found that 8 per cent of the respondents plan to reduce their wedding expenses.
“To save some money, many young couples are opting to only have lunch banquets instead of both lunch and dinner. Such a shift will have an impact on the business of restaurants and hotels that are popular venues for weddings,” said Casey Chow, marketing manager of ESDlife.
This article was first published in South China Morning Post


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