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South Korea's shrinking wedding budgets

Saturday, July 04, 2015 - 02:01

South Korean couples are turning their backs on expensive lavish weddings in the face of a slowing economy and changing social trends. Paul Chapman reports.

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The average wedding in South Korea last year cost around $64, 000. Not this one. Kim Kwang-yoon and Cho Jin-oh are paying a fraction of that, renting the room for the reception for just $60 and buying a wedding dress online for $100. (SOUNDBITE)(Korean) KIM KWANG-YOON, BRIDEGROOM, SAYING: "I think South Korean wedding ceremonies are a bit lavish. We saw a bride and groom coming into conflict with each other over expenses when the're making plans for a wedding so we thought it good for our future to get married by cutting expenses in a way that both of us don't feel pressurised." The trend for cheaper weddings is indicative of a worrying underlying trend for South Korea. The huge expense is leading more people to wait until they're older before marrying. That means they're putting of having children in a country which already has one of the world's lowest birth rates. Also having the fastest-ageing population in the world isn't helping. Lee Sung-hee is a senior planner at the country's biggest matchmaking and wedding consultation firm. She says the number of couples looking for small, cheaper, weddings has tripled or quadrupled since she started in the business seven years ago. (SOUNDBITE)(Korean) LEE SUNG-HEE, SENIOR PLANNER AT DUE WED "As couples to be married get older, brides and grooms are independent and have a clearer view. As they independently prepare for a wedding ceremony they feel that some elements are unnecessary." Back at Kim and Cho's wedding, what's on show here is typical of the trend towards small, low cost ceremonies that began to gather pace in 2014, a year when marriage rates hit an all-time low. What they're saving on expenses they're spending on a two-week honeymoon in France and even then the whole bill's only coming in at $10, 000.

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South Korea's shrinking wedding budgets

Saturday, July 04, 2015 - 02:01