Young Chinese couples go retro, announcing marriages in newspapers

(Xinhua) 10:23, August 10, 2023

This photo shows marriage announcements published in Shenzhen Evening News on Aug. 1, 2023. (Xinhua)

YINCHUAN, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Sun Guotai, 29, and his wife surnamed Yang tied the knot on July 25, and on the big day, their marriage announcement appeared in the Shenzhen Evening News, a local newspaper published from their hometown Shenzhen in south China's Guangdong Province.

In a delightful twist from modern norms, young couples across China are embracing a retro trend by announcing their marriages in newspapers rather than on social media.

"We are officially married today and will love and cherish each other till death do us part," the newlywed couple's newspaper ad read.

Speaking about the unique approach, Sun said, "It is a memorable way to share our romance in the newspaper," adding that he booked the ad space two weeks in advance as a surprise for his wife.

Publishing marriage banns in newspapers was a traditional marital ritual that dates back to the 1912-1949 period.

Due to the flawed marriage registration system at that time, announcing marriages in newspapers, which holds legal significance, became a common practice for couples to inform their relatives and friends.

"Newspapers were a major source of information when we were kids," Yang said. "I was really excited to see our wedding announcement in print."

Young people believe that publishing their good news in newspapers, which require meticulous editorial review prior to publication, is more formal than posting on social media platforms such as WeChat and Sina Weibo.

"The announcement is more than just a display of affection, but a solemn commitment to spend the rest of our lives together," said Chen Xiaoyu, 28, who had also published her wedding announcement in the newspaper.

After receiving a copy of the newspaper, Chen and her husband decided to frame the page and hang it on the wall of their home. "Newspaper is time-tested," she said. "Decades later people will still be able to see our commitment."

With the surging demand among youngsters to publish such announcements, an increasing number of newspapers in China now provide marriage announcement ad services. The expenses vary based on word count and page dimensions, spanning from several hundred yuan to over 1,000 yuan (about 139.69 U.S. dollars).

According to Meng Si, who works with a third-party online platform that specializes in this service, there has been a recent surge in orders.

"The clients are mainly young people in their twenties. Some even make reservations one to two months in advance," Meng said.

Upon the launch of this service on July 6, the Shenzhen Evening News saw over 800 inquiries. So far, hundreds of people have already availed themselves of this service. At the end of July, a metropolitan newspaper in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region also launched a tailored section for readers to publish their wedding announcements.

"Amid a digital transformation in media, the marriage announcement services have once again drawn public attention to print media, and offered new perspectives for future development," said Ye Xiaobin, editor-in-chief of the Shenzhen Evening News.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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