In defiance of tradition, Taiwan woman marries self

TAIPEI Fri Oct 22, 2010 1:48am EDT

TAIPEI (Reuters Life!) - Chen Wei-yih has posed for a set of photos in a flowing white dress, enlisted a wedding planner and rented a banquet hall for a marriage celebration with 30 friends.

But there is no groom. Chen will marry herself.

Uninspired by the men she's met but facing social pressure to get married, the 30-year-old Taipei office worker will hold the reception next month in honor of just one person.

"Age thirty is a prime period for me. My work and experience are in good shape, but I haven't found a partner, so what can I do?" Chen said.

"It's not that I'm anti-marriage. I just hope that I can express a different idea within the bounds of a tradition."

Her T$50,000 ($5,675) wedding comes after online publicity that has netted 1,800 largely sympathetic comments.

"I think there will be more and more girls like this," said "divagirl," who did not elaborate.

Taiwanese women are marrying later and less often as their economic status advances, fuelling government concerns about a drop in the birth rate and its impact on productivity.

Only 40 percent of women surveyed earlier this year by the education ministry said they imagined married people could live better than singles, local media said.

"I was just hoping that more people would love themselves," said Chen, who will go on a solo honeymoon to Australia.

Chen said her mother had insisted on a groom at first but later jumped aboard the solo marriage plan.

But as Chen cannot officially register a marriage to herself, if she finds a man later she will wed again.

"If I had a steady boyfriend, I wouldn't do this," Chen said. "it would be offensive to him, anyway."

(Reporting by Ralph Jennings; editing by Elaine Lies)