Saturday, 16 March 2013

Shanghai: An Amorous City

Getting newlyweds to bring on the romance with the Bund in the background
A few weeks ago a friend told me he'd been to Dalian on a business trip and he'd been told that it was the most romantic city in the world, or at least trying to market itself as a city for lovers.

However he had serious doubts how this Chinese city could even begin to rival Paris.

But I have to say Shanghai could be a potential candidate.

The photographer gets the wedding party to pose
I arrived at lunchtime and in the early afternoon headed out to the Huangpu River on the Pudong side so I could have a better view of the Bund.

The Cantonese theme song of the TV series "Shanghai Bund" was playing in the background to create a lively atmosphere, at least to get visitors to shell out for a fancy portrait dressed in qipao and sitting on a rickshaw.

But there were also two separate wedding parties taking pictures.

The photographers are old hands at this, instructing the bride and the groom to strike certain poses and getting their friends to react. It was definitely a change from formal portraits.

One photographer got the groom to dip the bride and kiss her, another had them do a kind of congo line, hands on the other person's shoulders and lean back.

Weddings have become a booming business in China and the top hotels are definitely benefiting.

A wedding banquet set up in the hotel ballroom
This afternoon in the Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, two-thirds of the grand ballroom was set up for a massive banquet, the bride and groom rehearsing the upcoming ceremony, while a large portrait of the couple was placed outside and guests were invited to sign the guest book.

The hotel is also famous as a place for proposals since its restaurants and bars start on the 52nd floor of an office building in IFC.

Apparently the hotel has four spots where men have proposed to their girlfriends, one is at Flair, its Asian-style bar and restaurant where there is an intimate corner in the back, and another is Aura Lounge & Jazz Bar, where there is a spot by the window that is considered the most romantic place.

Imagine a wedding proposal in a room like this...
And then I heard about one suitor who booked The Chairman's Suite (70,000RMB) where they had a private dinner for two, the floor strewn with rose petals. We heard she cried when he popped the question.

So to me it seems Shanghai's the place for lovers, albeit more wealthy. But hey, if that's their idea of what love is...

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