A city in south-western China is banning wedding banquets for people marrying for a second time, in an attempt to curb public extravagance.
The authorities in Kaili, Guizhou province, have issued rules saying that only funerals and first-time weddings can be celebrated with banquets. They have also banned multiple feasts, and the use of different locations for one marriage ceremony, the Guizhou Evening Post reports.
The bride and groom must now register their intention to hold a banquet with their local government office, to ensure neither have been married before. Council officials cannot sanction a wedding bash without first filing the details with the relevant department, and must also give an account of spending on funeral banquets within ten days, including itemised bills for wine.
The ruling Communist Party launched a nationwide campaign against corruption, bureaucracy and ostentatious displays of wealth back in 2012, and the authorities in some regions have recently begun to rein in lavish marriage practices. As is usual in China, the rules are being rolled out on a trial basis to give the impression of public consultation, but are likely to be confirmed.
The latest ban has sparked a lively debate on China's popular Weibo micro-blogging site. Many people approve of the restrictions because of the wealth gap between prosperous cities like Kaili and rural areas of Guizhou, although some feel it should only apply to officials, who are most often seen as the beneficiaries of corruption. But some users find it "baffling" that people getting married a second time round can't mark it in style, and one complains that the council will "next rule on how many times a week a couple can make love".
British couple's dream wedding ruined after dozens of guests suffered horrendous diarrhoea and vomiting bug because someone POOED in the pool
A couple are among almost 100 Brits suing a Greek hotel after their dream wedding was ruined when they fell ill with severe stomach bugs - caused by people defecating in the swimming pool.
Danielle, 30, and Mark Woollaston, 38, have launched legal action against the Marelen Hotel in Kalamaki on Zante.
The pair travelled to the Greek island for two weeks to get married and stayed at the three-star resort with 50 friends and family members in August last year.
But their wedding celebrations were ruined because of a severe gastric illness outbreak at the hotel during their stay.
The bride, groom and the majority of their guests were then diagnosed with Cryptosporidium, a parasite that causes severe symptoms, on their return to the UK.
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Danielle and Mark, who live in Sutton Coldfield, have now instructed expert personal injury lawyers to investigate the outbreak at the Marelen Hotel.
Other guests who are also taking legal action told how the swimming pool was closed for several days due to faeces in the water.
Mark said on Sunday that the couple's dream £15,000 wedding was ruined by the illness.
The company director, who lives with Danielle and their two children Sophie, seven, and Cameron, five, added: 'We both felt unwell during the holiday.
'I was suffering from diarrhoea, vomiting and horrendous stomach cramps on the actual day of the wedding.
'It spoilt the day and it is so frustrating and disappointing.
'I didn't get to eat any of my wedding meal that we had paid for due to fearing I would have to go straight to the toilet.'
Mark and personal banker Danielle were both forced to take time off work after returning from the holiday as a result of the illness they suffered.
Many of their guests were also unable to go to a wedding reception they held back in Britain because of ongoing symptoms they were suffering.
Danielle said: 'It was a once-in-a-lifetime event ruined and we will never be able to get that back.
'We spent all that money and the best day of our lives has been ruined because people can't be bothered to clean the pool.
'The first week everyone was fine but the second week we all started dropping like flies. I would say the majority of the 50 guests were ill, including the children.
'I was in bed for three days before the wedding day and only made it by dosing myself up on medication.
'Two of the groomsmen who are normally the life of the party were really ill and had to go back to their rooms early.
'The most upsetting thing is that our wedding, a celebration with our families and friends, was spoilt not once but twice because of this outbreak.
'When we returned to the UK we knew many guests would be unable to attend the second wedding reception because we ourselves were still feeling unwell, so we knew others would still be suffering.
'I am not surprised we are not the only group of holidaymakers who have fallen ill at this hotel this year.
'All we want to know now is what caused our illness and ruined our wedding and why was more not done to protect the guests of the hotel.'
A total of 93 disgruntled holidaymakers have instructed expert international personal injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the outbreak of illness.
The group legal action also includes an another wedding party who travelled to the Marelen Hotel after their guests also suffered with Cryptosporidium.
People from that party noticed the the swimming pool was closed for several days due to faeces in the water.
Over a third of the 93 people affected are children with 33 youngsters suffering from illnesses including diarrhoea, abdominal pain and tiredness.
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Don't want to be a hot mess on your wedding day or just hate the thought of adding yet another wedding to your friends and family's hectic summer schedule? Then you'll warm right up to these winter wedding advantages. From less stress over the weather to free holiday decorations (heck yeah!), here's why you'll be grateful to get married in a winter wedding.
1. Less Stress
One thing Dezhda "Dee" Gaubert, owner of No Worries Event Planning, loves about winter weddings is the lack of stress about the elements since they typically take place inside. The risk of rain and wind can make the planning period extremely stressful and potentially costly if you need to add a tent, she says. "Also, guests are frequently exposed to heat and cold in all outdoor weddings and they can be very uncomfortable. Taking Mother Nature out of the equation means less stress for you, your vendors, your guests and your family."
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2. No Humidity
Living in the south (Charleston, SC to be exact), one of Pure Luxe Bride wedding planner Francesca DiSalvo-Follmer's favorite winter wedding perks is the lack of humidity, which, if you're from the south, you know is a huge plus. Both your hair and makeup will thank you.
3. More Venue Dates & Better Rates
As wedding planner Kelli Corn of Kelli Corn Weddings & Events points out, most locations and vendors book up quickly during the summer months at a high rate, whereas those same locations and vendors are available for a lower price during the colder months. Because the winter months aren't as busy as others, they'll also be able to focus more of their attention on your big day, adds Debbie Ley, Venue Owner of The Corner District. "Fall is tough for vendors and venue owners as they're juggling so many events, brides, families, vendors and logistics. You'll have more flexibility to come in and set up early or break down late, as there's likely not another event right after yours that the venue needs to prep for right away."
4. Bonus (and Free!) Decorations
Although the time of year might not be the reason you chose a winter wedding, there are many benefits to a celebration aligned with the holidays, notes Corn. "For one, any venue you select will most likely be decorated for the holiday season adding a more celebratory feel to your special day." And, at no cost to you!
5. Cheaper Travel and Accommodations
Travel and hotel stays are at peak pricing in the summer, when school is out and families take their vacation, tells Gaubert. Thus, "winter weddings allow guests to take advantage of off-season pricing for their travel and accommodation options." This is a win-win for everyone, we think!
6. The Wedding Fatigue Won't Be Real
The spring and summer months can get so jam-packed with weddings that your family, friends and guests can start to get a serious case of wedding fatigue, says Rachel Silver, Founder of Love Stories TV. "A January, February or March wedding is likely to be the only one your guests attend that winter (unless of course you're living in South Florida or somewhere warm!), which makes it something that people will really look forward to." Another bonus? "You're likely to get your wedding film back faster in the winter because your videographer is less slammed in the summer/spring months."
See More: Cute Ways to Warm Up Guests at Your Winter Wedding
7. It's Something Out of the Ordinary
Smash And Co. wedding calligrapher Ashley Meyers Combs' favorite advantage is simply that it's something different! "From color palette to flowers and décor, there are elements of the season to inspire your theme that will stand out in a sea of peonies." If your style is romantic, she recommends trying shades of winter white and lots of greenery, and if you're going for a rustic-cozy vibe (think "Aspen Cabin"), use lots of wood and deep hues. "Embrace the season by throwing blankets over guests' chairs or keep them warm by serving a hot signature cocktail."
8. It's the Best Time for Black Tie
If you're planning a formal wedding, you can bet you'll hear much less complaining from your guests in black tie attire when it's cold outside, says Tracie Domino, founder of Tracie Domino Events. "Tuxedos weren't meant for outdoor ceremonies and cocktail hours in the heat of the summer, however, they are the perfect choice for indoor winter weddings, as are gowns covered in sequins."
9. You Won't Be a Hot Mess
Some people seriously don't deal well in the heat. It makes them irritated, cranky and can turn any gal into a total bridezilla, not to mention a sweaty mess. Wedding planner Leah Weinberg, owner of Color Pop Events points out that when it comes to weather, you can always add layers to combat the cold, but in the hotter months, well, you can't exactly take off your clothes. "If you're stressed about being hot and sweaty for your wedding photos, than a winter wedding is perfect for you!"