August 08, 2015 08:11
Kim is a 29-year-old crammer instructor and is getting married in October. But she has a major problem: even if all of her friends attend her wedding, she is afraid there will not be enough women to make for a pretty ceremonial photo.
The thought has kept Kim up at nights, and she finally put up an ad on a bridal website seeking female guests. A dozen women signed up just two days after the posting, all of them brides-to-be themselves.
In the end Kim invited five of them. "I could have paid people to pose as my friends, but I thought it would be a good idea to meet women who are also getting married soon so we could exchange information and just chat about what we are going through," Kim said.
"I'm going to tell the groom and his family that they're friends I met on my part-time jobs at university," she added.
Kim is not alone. A growing number of brides are inviting other women who are getting married soon to pose as friends. Websites catering to brides see more and more ads for such guests, which often draw dozens of replies instantly. Even wedding planners have taken on the task of supplying female guests.
This has created mutual aid groups consisting of five to six brides-to-be who, instead of getting paid, take turns attending each others' weddings and posing as old friends.
They gather before the ceremony to get to know each other and keep each other company during major events such as choosing the wedding dress and taking pre-wedding pictures.
The trend is growing because women are uneasy at hiring fake bridesmaids to bulk out their weddings. One 30-year-old woman who volunteered to attend another woman's wedding said, "I'm not really being dishonest and pretending to know the bride since we get to know each other before the wedding and there's no risk of getting caught red-handed."
Still, not everyone trusts their new friends. In some cases the fear of a no-show has prompted demands for a W100,000 to W300,000 deposit, which is returned after the ceremony (US$1=W1,167).
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