Tying the knot in China is big business, with the wedding sector seeing huge growth in the last five years to the point that it is now believed to be worth more than $130 billion.

That’s a tempting target for brands, especially as the typical Chinese wedding appears to be getting more lavish than ever, Jing Daily reported.

“The price for Chinese buyers is not at all an issue,” said Anna Martínez of The Courtyard Consulting, which specialises in the Chinese bridal sector.

“In fact, Chinese buyers almost always buy the most expensive dresses from our selection of brands to stock in their stores. On average, these dresses will cost between $10,000-$20,000 per gown.”

The result of this opulence is that many luxury brands are shifting focus from markets such as the US, where fewer people are getting hitched, and focusing more on China.

It’s not only wedding dress sales that are booming. According to Martínez, between 60 and 70% of brides her agency deals with rent dresses. The Western tradition of passing on a dress to a new generation doesn’t exist in China, and brides don’t worry that a dress isn’t brand new.

For Chinese brides, what matters is the label. But there is also growing focus on sustainability and authenticity, explained Chantal Khoueiry, founder of Brides do Good, which sells previously worn and sample designer wedding dresses and donates a portion of revenue to charity projects working globally to protect vulnerable girls from child marriage.

“Our Chinese customers are extremely designer conscious, and brides love the likes of Pronovias, Vera Wang, Elie Saab, Reem Acra, and Galia Lahav,” Khoueiry said.

“The millennial generation of brides and grooms are looking to demonstrate their cultural heritage and social status through their wedding outfits,” she added. “However, despite the designer name remaining the hook, we are seeing a conscious shift towards a more sustainable wedding dress.”

Brands seen at celebrity weddings often gain a massive following in China, although the accompanying price tags are often far beyond the means of even wealthier brides-to-be.

Chinese celebrity model, actress and singer Angelababy and actor Huang Xiaoming’s wedding in 2015 is reported to have cost $31 million, and involved a Dior dress that took six months to make.

Even so, Chinese couples are ready to splash out and, thanks to social media, another industry money-spinner is the pre-wedding photoshoot. Photo sessions held in Europe and tailored to Chinese couples can last up to three days and cost between $2,500 and $15,500.

Sourced from Jing Daily; additional content by WARC staff