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Weddings are ‘boom’ business on Okinawa

Date Posted: 2006-06-10

Okinawa is becoming a mecca for couples wanting the idyllic dream wedding.

Businesses are scrambling to accommodate the would-be brides and grooms, opening the way for a new business niche. Okinawa hosted 200 couples getting married in 1999, but found itself deluged by 4,606 couples marrying here in 2005.

Most bridal parties come from mainland Japan, but some make the journey from nearby Asian countries wanting the perfect setting. Couples cite the ocean and blue skies, the atmosphere and flowers, the ease in travel to get here, and the excitement of an outdoor wedding.

The Okinawa Convention Bureau is predicting more than 5,000 couples will tie the knot here this year, and wedding planners are scrambling to accommodate the requests. The trouble is, there are only two companies in the business, the Okinawa Watube Wedding, and Bridal House Chuchu Okinawa. They say “we knew we needed special wedding planners, but Okinawa is a resort area. Planners must know not only weddings, but sightseeing and tourism information.”

The Prefecture is joining forces with the business community to fill the void, establishing a wedding planners course, training and education people through the Prefecture Industrial Promotion Bureau. A company, Mediarle, has been established in Naha. Reiko Kawai says the new school will teach wedding planners what to do to make those memorable weddings.

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