Here comes the bride — but where is the groom?
You wouldn’t need one if you’re among a growing number of Japanese women who are signing up to become “solo” brides.
The idea is the brainchild of Cerca Travel, a travel agency in Kyoto, which organises bridal ceremonies for single women, complete with special gown, bouquet and hairstyle, a limousine service, a stay at a hotel and a commemorative photo album, according to BBC News.
“This package boosted my sense of self-esteem… the effect was equal to a more extraordinary experience, such as visiting a World Heritage castle,” Tomoe Sawano, one of the first to try out he package, as saying by Kyodo News.
About 30 women from across Japan have become solo brides since the service was launched in May.
Almost half of them were married women who either did not have a wedding ceremony or were not satisfied with that experience, according to Cerca Travel.
Yukiko Inoue, the company president, said she created the package “to encourage women to have positive feelings about themselves”.
But some people have told her it would be lonely, miserable and sad to use it, she said.
“Nationwide, more Japanese are living alone for a number of reasons, among them aging, urbanization, later marriage age and rising divorce rates,” The Japan Times reported recently.
The National Institute of Population and Social Security Research said the country’s population is expected to decline between 26 percent and 38 percent by 2060.
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